Sunday, January 22, 2012

Evolution quotes #25

"no one likes to be told that the notions upon which he may have built and
promoted his career have turned out to be wrong. And scientists, contrary to the
myth that they themselves publicly promulgate, are emotional human beings who
carry a generous dose of subjectivity with them into the supposedly 'objective
search for The Truth.' In fact, a completely unbiased, unprejudiced exploration
of nature is a methodological impossibility, as biologist and philosopher of
science Sir Peter Medawar is fond of pointing out…

the way in which
scientists typically report their findings, in formal papers submitted to
learned journals, is, he says, 'notorious for misrepresenting the process of
thought that led to whatever discoveries they describe.'[1] Preconceptions are
rarely acknowledged, because this, after all, would be 'unscientific.' And yet
preconceptions are and individual scientist's guide to how to view the world
with a degree of order that allows structured questions to be asked…

Donald "Johanson readily agrees that paleoanthropology is no different
from other sciences in this respect. 'The fossil finders themselves have often
brought with them their own personal prejudices and beliefs…We see discoveries
as bolstering our specific interpretation of what the family tree should look
like.'[2] Leakey's view is similar. 'In our family we were working with the
human sciences, and I was never shown examples of objectivity in the true sense
of what science is supposed to be like.'"[3]

[1] Sir Peter Medawar, "Induction and Intuition in Scientific Though," reprinted in Pluto's Republic, Oxford University Press, 1984, p. 78
[2] "Four Million Years of Humanity," lecture at the American Museum of Natural History, New York, 9 April 1984
[3] Roger Lewin (noted science journalist), Bones of Contention (New York, NY: A Touchstone Book published by Simon & Schuster Inc., 1987), p. 19 citing an interview with the author, Nairobi, 21 January 1985

Related resources:

Sickle cell anemia

The pigs took it all

Getting past propaganda

Stone age flour

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.