Criticisms of Science

Science in the restricted contemporary sense, refers to a system of acquiring knowledge based on the scientific method, and to the organized body of knowledge gained through such research. This article is a collection of critiques aimed at this body of knowledge, how research is done, what role it plays in the media and politics, and its philosophical precepts.
Philosophical critiques
Historian Jacques Barzun termed science "a faith as fanatical as any in history" and warned against the use of scientific thought to suppress considerations of meaning as integral to human existence.
Philosopher of science Paul K Feyerabend advanced the idea of epistemological anarchism, which holds that there are no useful and exception-free methodological rules governing the progress of science or the growth of knowledge, and that the idea that science can or should operate according to universal and fixed rules is unrealistic, pernicious and detrimental to science itself.. Feyerabend advocates treating science as an ideology alongside others such as religion, magic and mythology, and considers the dominance of science in society authoritarian and unjustified..
Professor Stanley Aronowitz scrutinizes science for operating with the presumption that the only acceptable criticisms of science are those conducted within the methodological framework that science has set up for itself. That science insists that only those who have been inducted into its community, through means of training and credentials, are qualified to make these criticisms. Aronowitz also alleges that while scientists consider it absurd that Fundamentalist Christianity uses biblical references to bolster their claim that the bible is true, scientists pull the same tactic by using the tools of science to settle disputes concerning its own validity.
Philosopher Alan Watts criticized science for operating under a materialist model of the world that he posited is simply a modified version of the Abrahamic worldview, that "the universe is constructed and maintained by a Lawmaker" (commonly identified as God or the Logos). Watts asserts that during the rise of secularism through the 18th to 20th century when scientific philosophers got rid of the notion of a lawmaker they kept the notion of law, and that the idea that the world is a material machine run by law is a presumption just as unscientific as religious doctrines that affirm it is a material machine made and run by a lawmaker.
Several academics have offered critiques concerning ethics in science. In Science and Ethics, for example, the philosopher Bernard Rollin examines the relevance of ethics to science, and argues in favor of making education in ethics part and parcel of scientific training.
Many recent thinkers, such as Carolyn Merchant, Theodor Adorno and E. F. Schumacher considered that the 17th century scientific revolution shifted science from a focus on understanding nature, or wisdom, to a focus on manipulating nature, i.e. power, and that science's emphasis on manipulating nature leads it inevitably to manipulate people, as well. Science's focus on quantitative measures has led to critiques that it is unable to recognize important qualitative aspects of the world. He suggested that, to the degree that divination is an epistemologically specific means of gaining insight into a given question, science itself can be considered a form of divination that is framed from a Western view of the nature (and thus possible applications) of knowledge.
Psychologist Carl Jung believed that though science attempted to understand all of nature, the experimental method imposed artificial and conditional questions that evoke equally artificial answers. Jung encouraged, instead of these 'artificial' methods, empirically testing the world in a holistic manner.
Philosopher and polymath Robert Anton Wilson stresses that the instruments used in scientific investigation produce meaningful answers relevant only to the instrument, and that there is no objective vantage point from which science could verify its findings since all findings are relative to begin with.
The field of Ecophenomenology disregards Science and technology on ontological grounds, and calls for an openness to the "essential elements of human experience with the world". It wants "to enter... into the sensorial present", and to "recover the moral sense of our humanity" by "recover first the moral sense of nature".. It is also a "challenge the astonishing assumption that only utility to industrialized society can justify the existence of anything on the planet",, and an invocation to adopt "a kind of deliberate naivety through which it is possible to encounter a world unencumbered with presuppositions." Ecophenomenologists argue that the current environmental crisis is equally physical and metaphysical, and that a fundamental re-conceptualization of human relationships with the natural earth is necessary to help undo the damage done by a culture that takes part in utilitarian exploitation of the natural world. Its because of this that ecophenomenologists attempt to probe beneath western understandings of philosophy, temporality, and teleology, as well as economic, social, and scientific evaluations of nature.
Media perspectives
The mass media face a number of pressures that can prevent them from accurately depicting competing scientific claims in terms of their credibility within the scientific community as a whole. Determining how much weight to give different sides in a scientific debate requires considerable expertise regarding the matter. Few journalists have real scientific knowledge, and even beat reporters who know a great deal about certain scientific issues may know little about other ones they are suddenly asked to cover.
Many issues damage the relationship of science to the media and the use of science and scientific arguments by politicians. As a very broad generalisation, many politicians seek certainties and facts whilst scientists typically offer probabilities and caveats. However, politicians' ability to be heard in the mass media frequently distorts the scientific understanding by the public. Examples in Britain include the controversy over the MMR inoculation, and the 1988 forced resignation of a Government Minister, Edwina Currie for revealing the high probability that battery eggs were contaminated with Salmonella.
Some scientists and philosophers suggest that scientific theories are effected by the dominant political and economic models of the time, even though the the scientific community may claim to be exempt from social influences and historical conditions. For example, Biologist Peter Kropotkin thought that the Darwinian theory of evolution overstressed a painful "we must struggle to survive" way of life, which he said was influenced by Capitalism and the struggling lifestyles people lived within it. . Karl Marx also thought that science was largely driven by and used as capital
Robert Anton Wilson, Professor Aronowitz, and Paul Feyerabend all thought that the Military-Industrial Complex, large Corporations, and the Grants that came from them had an immense influence over the research and even results of Scientific experiments. Aronowitz even went as far as to say "It does not matter that the scientific community ritualistically denies its alliance with economic/industrial and military power. The evidence is overwhelming that such is the case. Thus, every major power has a national science policy; the United States Military appropriates billions each year for "Basic" as well as "Applied" research"
< Prev   Next >