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Can we Separate Science from Ideology – Yes



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"Can we Separate Science from Ideology - Yes"
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When I finished my graduate studies at the Boston campus of the University of Massachusetts, I was given by the department the book of essays by Dr. victor Weisskopf "The Privilege of Being a Physicist" because graduate studies- and especially the initiation into professional research associated with them- are the formative years of a physicist and I had made quite clear that this was my chosen career path. At the time, I was too occupied with other things to actually read the book which only now, many years later, I have genuinely sat down to read. One of the articles in that book expresses the archetypal argument for the existence of a "scientific world view", the notion that science itself represents an ideology. The fact that I am writing for the opposed side of this debate reflects how strongly I disagree with that notion and I am undertaking to explain exactly why.

Science represents a method of understanding in very pragmatic terms the world about us. Therefore, the temptation to equate this with an ideology in and of itself is perfectly understandable at first glance; only upon closer examination does the untenability of this view become apparent. Science does not and cannot speak in any absolute terms about what the world about us or the phenomena within it are. Rather, science is a method of detecting and describing patterns within the natural world. Thus, for example, Dr. Archibald Wheeler stresses the geometric nature of general relativity wile Dr. Steven Weinberg has written that he regards the geometric interpretation of general relativity as counter-productive. The science is not in what these two great physicists disagree about, but in the physical predictions and the methods for making physical predictions that they develop in common. The rest, including personal opinions about how best to develop the science, are secondary to the science- not part of it.

In a broader sense, science is the first mass human endeavor truly to super cede the cultures of the people involved. Among my colleagues, I have known not people of all religions and atheists or agnostics, as well as conservatives and liberals. EVERY philosophy found is society is also found in the scientific community. Science is not itself a philosophy but something that humans fit into their individual philosophies.

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