The Socially Constructed Nature of Science

by Luke Muehlhauser on August 24, 2010 in Quotes

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

G'DIsraeli August 24, 2010 at 10:32 pm

This is the usual defense against certain versions of sociology. Yet, it points at nothing of the truth of scientific discoveries only it’s usefulness. You could be Rorty and accept this.

Never mind that lol…did you know of the social construction of HELL? out of a mouth of an bishop? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SF6I5VSZVqc&feature=player_embedded

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lukeprog August 24, 2010 at 10:42 pm

Spong has been saying that for many years, yup.

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Reginald Selkirk August 25, 2010 at 5:47 am

Before WWII, some Nazi-leaning German scientists attempted to dismiss relativity by labelling it as Jewish physics

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Bill Maher August 25, 2010 at 6:46 am

Whenever I see Derrida’s literary critique of the theory of general relativity, I just start laughing.

I am in Chomsky’s camp when it comes to postmodernism.
http://www.cscs.umich.edu/~crshalizi/chomsky-on-postmodernism.html

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Patrick August 25, 2010 at 6:56 am

The thing that frustrates me the most about studying the socially constructed nature of science is that it didn’t HAVE to be stupid.

For example, after Aristotle decided that heavy objects fall faster than lighter objects, it took over a thousand years before someone actually went out and dropped some junk off a building to see how fast it fell, and found out that Aristotle was wrong.

That’s an interesting fact! Why did it take so long? It seems so obvious, but why wasn’t it? Mechanical science can account for how the objects fell, but it can’t account for why one theory was accepted for over a thousand years before someone did what in retrospect seems a really obvious experiment.

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Alonzo Fyfe August 25, 2010 at 9:06 am

I will confess that, on matters of “truth”, when somebody presents some alternative theory, my question is, “Okay, can I use that to make more successful and verifiable predictions of what will happen when I do X?”

If the answer is “No,” then I say, “Your theory doesn’t matter. It’s a waste of time and energy to either accept it or refute it. You can go away now.”

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Bradm August 25, 2010 at 8:27 pm

Hmmmm… Is Blackburn trying to argue that because Western science gives us things like mobile phones that it cannot be socially constructed? If so, I’d like to see that argument because off the top of my head I don’t really see how something being socially constructed is incompatible with it also being useful. And if that isn’t what he is arguing, what is getting at here?

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G'DIsraeli August 25, 2010 at 10:25 pm

@ Bradm
The fact that it’s socially constructed, like this blog, is near trivial.
He is simply pointing out that science works the best, appreciate it. That’s all.

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Bradm August 26, 2010 at 4:23 am

Well if that’s all he saying, I’m going to suggest that Luke mis-titled this blog post.

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mojo.rhythm August 27, 2010 at 8:00 pm

I am from the camp that says “show me a cultural relativist or postmodernist at 30,000 feet and I’ll show you a hypocrite”.

Truth hecklers are a mild annoyance to be sure.

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