Saturday, July 21, 2012

Beguiling, yet chimerical.............................

"Scientists often strive for special status by claiming a unique form of 'objectivity' inherent in a supposedly universal procedure called the scientific method.  We attain this objectivity by clearing the mind of all preconceptions and then simply seeing, in a pure and unfettered way, what nature presents. This image may be beguiling, but the claim is chimerical, and ultimately haughty and divisive.  For the myth of pure perception raises scientists to a pinnacle above all other struggling intellectuals, who must remain mired in constraints of culture and psyche.
     "But followers of the myth are ultimately hurt and limited, for the immense complexity of the world cannot be grasped or ordered without concepts. 'All observation must be for or against some view if it is to be of any service.'  Objectivity is not an unobtainable emptying of mind, but a willingness to abandon a set of preferences - for or against some view, as Darwin said - when the world seems to work in a contrary way."
-Stephen Jay Gould, Dinosaur in a Haystack

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