Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: the Seacoast of Bohemia
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|The “storybook” scientist -- the objective, disinterested, humble, universal, and skeptical seeker of truth -- simply does not exist.
Science is not disembodied interaction between non-social automata and a single independent [real] world but is closely enmeshed with prevailing cultural history and beliefs. These researchers [constructivists] discovered that scientific history is constantly being rewritten, sanitized, and fictionalized to make it appear autonomous and rational. Scientific knowledge is socially negotiated, not given by nature.
Sicentific theories are underdetermined by evidence and observation is theory-laden…”Nature” emerges only when consensus is reached among scientists.
As Mulkay has pointed out, the formal language of the scientific paper is a language of certainty, mastery and domination. It is a language that denies its social origins and its human limitations. It is a language that actively misleads non-scientists and, ultimately, misleads the scientists themselves about their own role in the creation of facts and theories. In their examination of scientific communication, the constructivists found that paper writing is basically a rewriting of recent history to give the discovered object its ontological priority and to deny the cultural nature of the enterprise.
Papers are meant to sell a product, which is wrapped up with “the passionate pursuit of research grants and professional success.”
…not only do scientists’ accounts vary between the lab, over beers at a bar, in letters, lab notes, conferences, and within a single recorded interview, but between successive published versions of the same data!
|Your favourite author wouldn't happen to be Dr Petr Skrabanek would it?|
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