Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Science and Society

Alan Sokal is famous as the scientist who perpetuated the so-called Sokal Hoax on the Post-Modernist academic journal Social Text. At the time he was combating an overstated but real trend amongst certain section of the academic left to dismiss science as 'just another world view'.

Times, as they do, have changed, and now a much bigger threat to scientific endeavour comes from the right: the Republican War on Science. Accordingly Sokal has an oped in the LA Times with Chris Mooney, the author of the book the Republican War on Science, defending scientific thought from its latest threat.

They also discuss the po-mo's though and I thought this little quote demonstrated succinctly the difference between sensible thinking on science and society and nonsense:

In truth, there was nothing wrong with inventing science studies; the error was to leap from the valid observation that science arises in a social context to the extreme conclusion that it is nothing more than politics in disguise.

Thanks: Tim Lambert

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