Public Opinion of Science

Objectivity requires evidence, experiment, and results. The facts must be preserved at all costs. Scientists aiming to be objective, however, are still starting out from a subjective value system. Bowler and Morus said, “The critics argue that the very foundations of scientific ‘knowledge’ are contaminated by values.”[1]If values overshadow fact, or the scientist’s ability to see the fact for what it is, then objectivity cannot be achieved – the matter has been infected with subjective consideration. Bowler and Morus refer to science as looking at the world through tinted glasses that are guided by the hand that pays for research.[2]During experiments, scientists may perform unpleasant tests in efforts to assert results – a strain is placed on ethical considerations, but science wants to push further to discover truth. The average person cannot understand science, or the processes that the scientist undergoes to achieve results and a mistrustful relationship is result.

In example, Bowler and Morus note that William Whewell, a creationist who relied on divine intervention to explain the mysteries of the world, forbid Darwin’s Origin of Species at Trinity in Cambridge because divine miracle was replaced with natural evolution.[3]Whewell chose his religious belief over the empirical truth of science, and he refused to see biological evidence of a natural human being. Due to his religious value, Whewell was not able to shift his understanding to allow for natural evolution of species. Whewell preferred to see himself as specifically created by God, and he illustrated the great conflict between science and religion – a war Bowler and Morus note as an inevitable win for science.[4] The public reaction to this conflict was surely intense, as the battle still rages today. Although, depending on one’s views, there is not really too much of a “battle” – whichever side one choses is definitive.

Richard Dawkins debated the origin of life with a creationist in 2014. Displaying amazing patience, Dawkins admitted that humanity has a natural tendency to believe – but the motivation does not lie in satisfying an invisible deity. The ability to have belief is a human motivator to encourage order and society.[5] For people to be able to live peacefully among one another, order and authority is used to drive mutual goals.

Bibliography

“Dawkins vs Creationist. Full Debate.” Noam Chomsky. Youtube.com, 15 Jan 2014. Web. Online video. 14 Dec 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6qnOIhLZTpg

Bowler, Peter J. and Iwan Rhys Morus. Making Modern Science: A Historical Survey. Chicago, Illinois: The University of Chicago Press, 2005.

Picture c/o:  http://www.sil.si.edu/digitalcollections/hst/scientific-identity/thumbnails/TNSIL14-W003-05.jpg

[1] Bowler and Morus, Making Modern Science, p. 3.

[2] Bowler and Morus, Making Modern Science, p. 3.

[3] Bowler and Morus, Making Modern Science, p. 5.

[4] Bowler and Morus, Making Modern Science, p. 5.

[5] Noam Chomsky, Richard Dawkins vs. Creationist, 2014.

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