Saturday, February 03, 2007

Progressive Science

A large number of posts on this blog complain about something that dubbed "progressive science." I realized I needed a post to define the term.

Science is a proven method where people try to understand and solve problems through objective analysis of nature and other physical phenomena. Good science improves our understanding of the universe and tends to lead to progress.

Good science is boring and tedious work. Some of the best scientific inquiry leads to dead ends. For example, a great deal of good science went into to exploring the hypothesis that the earth is only a few thousand years old. This was a dead end. However the good science led to a more compelling theory that the earth is several billion years old.

There is a large number of politically minded folks who love to be associated with progress. This group of progressive scientists consists of two types of clowns: The first is relatively harmless group of science promoters that seek to get their name associated with scientific progress. For example, the Internet is progressive. A person might claim that they invented the internet. Climate change is something we have to deal with, therefore they are the voice of climate change. Science populists serve a good role of increasing awareness of science. They can get a little over the top at time. Sometimes scientific populists lead people in the right direction, sometimes in the wrong.

The second more diabolical group of progressive scientist is a group that adheres to a progressive cause, then tries to back fill their ideology with “science.” Hegel and Marx are prime examples of this. Both gained legitimacy for their ideologies by claiming them to be scientific.

This second group of progressive scientists has a tendency to muck with the foundations of reason to support their dubious causes. These are the people who would intentionally falsify data, or ignore data counter to their claim.

There are reactionary scientists who react to the progressive scientists. By adopting the same method as the progressive scientists, reactionaries often become part of the problem.

My definition of a progressive scientist is essentially someone who is willing to pervert science for a cause. In most cases their causes are dubious. The primary cause of most progressive scientists is the progression toward socialism. You will find people using the same techniques as the progressive scientists in other causes. For example there is a cadre of radical Islamic progressive scientists trying to prove that the Holocaust never happened.

The reason that progressive science upsets me is not simply that I reject the various causes of the progressive scientists. I dislike these clowns because they tend to undermine science and the process of reason.

Unfortunately, when a large number of people chose to follow the path of progressive science, it becomes extremely difficult to sort out good science from bad.

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