One of the things one occasionally has to deal with are people’s prejudices and misperceptions, bordering on hatred, of anything that seems to threaten the scientific method.
Now personally I’m all in favor of the scientific method in its place, but for many people an interest in say Rorty, Latour, Foucault etc. bespeaks an anti-scientific mind on a par with the outer reaches of weirdness. Or, of Lyndon LaRouch, who is apparently making a comeback on campuses and who attracted the ire of this science-based blog for his interest in physics.
LaRouche is quoted as writing:
Once we recognize that scientific knowledge is obtained, not by contemplating the universe, but by studying how we may generate those thoughts which enable us to efficiently act to change the universe, then the principles of cognition underlying the discovery of lawful physical principles, are the epistemological basis for defining the underlying determination of validatable physical laws.
Now that might not make a whole lot of sense but it seems hamless enough.
Not so! To the rescue rides this commentator:
I hate to break it to you, but your local departments of english literature/women’s studies etc etc etc are almost certainly propagating equally nonsensical propaganda to your students, and doing far more harm than these guys. Officially sanctioned crackpottery is far worse than this kind of random lunacy.
The ramparts are under attack. Hold the line!
Despite a few attempts to keep things civil, a poster named “caveman” replies:
Don’t be disingenuous. You know perfectly well that a straw-man caricature of post-modernism is exactly the same thing as post-modernism.
It’s not inevitable that these discussions degenerate into caricature, and debate is good, it’s just surprising to see these old warmed over relic opinions from the culture wars.
Filed under: Science