Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Sciences are humanities, too.

But the popular image of science is often different from the way it really works. Consciously or unconsciously, scientists are propagandists. To the outside world, they present science as a series of great discoveries, as smooth upwards progress towards truth. But inside science, fierce debates and controversies rage constantly. The public is shielded from these in several ways. First, scientific language is often technical and difficult for the non-scientists to penetrate. Secondly, science textbooks used everywhere from elementary school to university tend to conceal disagreement. This helps students by simplifying material, but it also serves to reinforce the image of science as "objective truth" above all questioning, and thereby reinforces the enormous social and political authority of science.

Disagreement about the interpretation of scientific theories is normal. No major theory of science is free of debate about its truth, meaning and implications.

J.B. Kennedy, Space, Time and Einstein, p. 20.

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