Science is in trouble. Symptoms include quarrels and instability with covid, and persistent hysteria about climate change. Science also has internal problems-Replicability, For example, the ability to repeat a test and get the same result. A scientist True A result that is 100% repeatable. Yet, over the past decade and a half, 60 percent or more of the social and biomedical sciences have proven to be irreplaceable.
There are other internal problems. One hundred and fifty years ago there were only a few scientific specialties and dozens of scientific journals. Expansion was resisted. Now the dam is broken. The social sciences alone have more than 100 sub-specialties. They have their own journals and review standards and they have created their own jargon. Together, these two things limit criticism, which is the lifeblood of science. Sociologists, for the most part, preach to their own personal singers. There are also religious and philosophical debates about Darwin’s evolution: evolutionary biology does not provide a moral system, but some secular humanists think it does.
Other issues reflect the problems of the wider society. Incidents can make people react emotionally. Sometimes this is appropriate: finding a fire in the basement of your building should cause alarms and alert you to flee and alert your neighbors. This is an emergency. But what about this, a letter to the editor of a college newspaper?
I don’t think racism is entirely responsible for the plight of minorities. Groups of any color are better when their men marry women who have given birth to their children and are around to raise them, when they avoid drugs, avoid problems and prefer pay checks for a handout and when they realize that “white acting” Study and say, nothing bad …
What should we do in response to this comment?
Scottish Enlightenment star David Hume made a simple distinction that is vital to science, Information And Faith, In Is And Should. .About science facts; Should Something else. Both of these examples contain information, or actual claims. In the first case, the facts are beyond doubt. There is a fire, and urgent action is required. But in the second case, there is no emergency and the events are not self-evident. Science demands to verify claims. Is the family system a problem for the success of poor black people? Does this community have an unproductive attitude towards work and education? What is the effect of all this? Some steps are justified only if the claims are true.
Yet the immediate response to these comments was not an investigation but a condemnation and reflective outcry of “racism”. And it’s not just about the high-profile categories of race and gender, it’s about anything related to climate change and “health and safety”. Some topics should not be studied, or analyzed with only one previous conclusion in mind. In the constant struggle between events and emotions, emotions often win. This trend threatens the integrity of science, especially the social sciences.
Many public-policy questions are raised by physicist Alvin Weinberg, in an almost forgotten article. Trans-science, By which he meant questions which, for scientific but practical or moral reasons, could not yet be definitively answered by the methods of science, at least not now. Examples are the small, long-lasting effects of low-density pollutants, the causes of climate change, and the role of genes in human behavior. When decision-making science is impossible, other factors predominate. Weak science lets irrational dogs slip. Many sociologists have difficulty distinguishing Information From Faith, Reality from the way they want things to be. Critical research itself has become taboo, which means policymakers are making decisions based on ideologically driven political pressures rather than scientific truth.
Adding to the underlying difficulties of the social sciences, race, in particular, has become a subject where indifferent research on the causes of racial inequality has become almost impossible. “Scientific” conclusions increasingly reflect ideological preconceptions rather than necessarily cautious assumptions from insufficient data. The emergence of the dominant notion of systemic racism is the result. Systematic racism is measurable, so indescribable. With its rise has been a suffocation of research that can shed real light on racial and gender inequality. This repression bears an uncomfortable resemblance to the tragedy of Soviet licentiousness.
The history of science was once a field for real scientists who understood the science they were writing about. Now it has been dominated by Harvard and elsewhere, good writers whose scientific perceptions are limited. Their focus is political rather than scientific and consequently their books are similar to docudrama “based on real events”. Instead of twists and turns of actual discovery, accurate descriptions of tragedy and joy.
My recent books, Science in the irrational age (Regnery, 2022) An attempt to understand these problems 7