Science And The End Of Inquiry
Ideologues always believe they have all the answers
Time Well Spent is a reader supported publication, if you enjoy any of the content found here, consider becoming a paying subscriber. This publication is my sole job, and your support allows continued research and overall effort on my part. Thank you in advance to everyone who chooses to join the community today.
Science has reached the point of pronouncing the final completion of its wisdom, an end to the dark age of inquiry and the rise of the era of enlightenment, with the termination of all human-related questions in social justice.
The scientist has no need to investigate into any matter where human beings and their differences are concerned, she has a priori knowledge received from on high. Observation of phenomena, theories of their provenance, testing hypotheses, posing conclusions, this is the process of an inferior epistemology.
This is the implied message in Nature’s new piece on the importance of avoiding any possible stigmatization of minority communities through research into their differences. All minority demographics lie beyond the scope of our questions, and the matter is permanently settled. Here are a few excerpts from the prestigious scientific journal:
Although academic freedom is fundamental, it is not unbounded. The same ethical considerations should underlie science about humans as apply to research with human participants.
Well-established ethics frameworks govern the conduct of studies with human participants. Research ethics bodies use these frameworks to examine prospectively whether research projects involving human participants align with ethical principles.
However, these frameworks apply to research involving the participation of humans and do not generally consider the potential benefits and harms of research about humans who do not participate directly in the research. Such research is typically exempt from ethics review.
Yet, people can be harmed indirectly. For example, research may — inadvertently — stigmatize individuals or human groups. It may be discriminatory, racist, sexist, ableist or homophobic. It may provide justification for undermining the human rights of specific groups, simply because of their social characteristics.
One of the lower rules of empiricism, that you can’t derive an ought from an is, has been dispensed with. There’s no longer any chance to intently separate our discoveries from our responses to them, to decide to treat people the same even when we find new ways in which they’re different. The assumption is that all discoveries necessarily have moral underpinnings, a very religious idea. David Hume would not be happy, but what can he say in face of the new, perfect wisdom?
All knowledge sits beneath the new knowledge, all goals are subordinate to the new, glorious goals, the article goes on to say plainly:
Advancing knowledge and understanding is a fundamental public good. In some cases, however, potential harms to the populations studied may outweigh the benefit of publication.
Researchers should be free to pursue lines of inquiry and the communication of knowledge and ideas without fear of repression or censorship. At the same time, they have the ethical obligation to uphold intellectual integrity and avoid preventable harms that may arise in the course of research or its communication.
There’s the ought-is problem again! And a small snippet of Nature’s proposed research submission and publication guidelines:
Keep reading with a 7-day free trial
Subscribe to NeoNarrative to keep reading this post and get 7 days of free access to the full post archives.