Friday, December 04, 2009

Postmodern Science

Daniel Henninger, writing for the Wall Street Journal yesterday on the climate change kerfuffle:

I don't think most scientists appreciate what has hit them. This isn't only about the credibility of global warming. For years, global warming and its advocates have been the public face of hard science. Most people could not name three other subjects they would associate with the work of serious scientists. This was it. The public was told repeatedly that something called "the scientific community" had affirmed the science beneath this inquiry. A Nobel Prize was bestowed (on a politician).

Global warming enlisted the collective reputation of science. Because "science" said so, all the world was about to undertake a vast reordering of human behavior at almost unimaginable financial cost. Not every day does the work of scientists lead to galactic events simply called Kyoto or Copenhagen. At least not since the Manhattan Project.

What is happening at East Anglia is an epochal event. As the hard sciences—physics, biology, chemistry, electrical engineering—came to dominate intellectual life in the last century, some academics in the humanities devised the theory of postmodernism, which liberated them from their colleagues in the sciences. Postmodernism, a self-consciously "unprovable" theory, replaced formal structures with subjectivity. With the revelations of East Anglia, this slippery and variable intellectual world has crossed into the hard sciences.

Simply brilliant! I love the comparison between the fuzzy subjectivity of postmodernism in the humanities and the predetermined outcome based science that is driving our political and economic policies.

We are required to take on faith that what scientists know what they are talking about and we should just accept it as gospel truth. Any other position finds us labeled kooks and ignorant rubes.

The science industry has been exposed to be in many ways a philosophical and political art form as much as a scientific one. I am not a Luddite nor am I discounting the incredible advances that science has made. What I am saying is that science has moved far beyond merely research and discovery and entered into a world where it seeks to enact ideologically driven social-political-economic changes based on a decidedly non-scientific agenda. As we see demonstrated over and over again, this leads not to “better” science but worse as the scientific community seeks to prove a predetermined agenda, no matter the cost or the facts.

As we are inundated with bad science, we are buffeted on all sides by a variety of information that we are told is true and discover is false. Think of the health warnings, food A is bad for you today, tomorrow it is essential. Scares over movie popcorn butter or “trans fats” or this or that come out daily. We are told that we are descended from monkeys and if you dare point out the gaping holes in that theory you find yourself excommunicated from the scientific community. The same with global warming. As Daniel Henninger eloquently wrote, we have been told that we need to completely undo the basic foundations of our society at untold cost simply because “scientific consensus” says so. As the curtains are drawn back and we see how flimsy the evidence and how sloppily it was handled, we should see once again that believers in Jesus Christ should place their reliance on the Word of God and not in the vain philosophies of men. I am all for finding cures to disease, I am not at all interested in the opinions of ivory tower eggheads in lab coats declaring God to be a liar.

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