Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Science Gets Sacked

*Because it involves sex, education and because such things can happen here*

It's an old article (2003) and it's worth noting that things have deteriorated and degenerated in the meantime. Not to mention it demonstrates the basic law of this universe, every action has an effect.

To argue that Science is nothing more than the social perception and 'reality' of Scientist is not just to miss the point, stick your head in the sand and divert attention from the rule to the exception but it has very real effects as well.

Gary Trudeau of Doonesbury fame has encapsulated the Right's use of the post-modernist critique of science to push their conservative agenda in the following strip. "Situational science" is about "respecting both sides of a scientific 'argument' and not just the one supported by the facts." This is exactly the canard proponents are doing by pushing the stance of "teaching the controversy". It's as fallacious as teaching the controversy over the link between HIV/AIDS, the existence of the Holocaust, whether germs cause disease, whether the world is flat, whether Earth is centre of the Universe etc. Sometimes there simply is a wrong position to take.

The thing about post-modernism (before it went crazy) is that if one just limits it to social positions/morality/ethics/ethos, then it is perfectly rational to say they all have normative validity. HOWEVER, this is not to say that all such positions should be respected equally e.g. Kali Cults v Hinduism. One manner in which we can differentiate it is on an objective benchmark of say harm to 3rd parties or rule-utilitarianism.

This does not go for Science which is ultimately about rigourous repeated testing, falsifiable theories and a restriction to methodological naturalism. As a self-contained system, one can objectively say what is Science and what is Not Science. And the best example of that has to be how every single attack on the inefficacy of condoms, comprehensive sexual education, 'macro'-evolution (pray tell the definative genetic marker that prevents 'micro'-evolution from becoming 'macro'), global warming (increasingly) has at its heart an theocratic/theistic ideological basis and ONLY that.

This is not Science affirming a particular position but misusing Science to 'prove' a position. And regardless of one's intention, this is wilful ignorance at best and lying at worst.

And it has began hitting home.

It's not just about religious groups pushing their notion of a 'secular' sexual education by misusing Science but that they can get away with it. It's about theocracy by stealth and there will be a backlash.

This is not religion at its best but religion moving back to the middle ages. By preaching not sense, ration and the abilility of humanity but instead preach about the baser instincts of man, fear and hate. But worse still, the only way their programs and policies work is in a dystopia where every person is susceptiable to such fear or can't think. Or alternatively, in a utopia where every person will necessary listen to reason and ration (and we know how that is going).

And the end result is this, don't ever get sick of a sexual disease even if it's not your fault. When you have kids effectively ignoring ans sidelining those already having AIDS on the basis of abstinence only, you better hope they learn better.




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