Not all battles are fought on a field of grass, distant forests, or hot deserts. Some battles, like the science wars, are fought in the halls of academia. Postmodernists have waged war on scientists by making claims that theories cannot be proven valid through the scientific method. Rather, they claim that what exists, and what is, has come to be through human conception rather than physical conditions.It’s difficult to evaluate scientific controversy, especially when science itself is being attacked as fallacious. However, humans need a manner in which they can contemplate and evaluate ideas.
Shermer instructs students on how to go about such evaluation by introducing problems in scientific thinking known as fallacies. Two such fallacies are used to examine the science wars.The first fallacy, “theory influences observations” (pg. 46) is recognition of how perception and expectations can influence scientific observation. If one were to take this fallacy into account when examining the postmodernist viewpoint, that person might come to conclude that the postmodernists are right. It is true that perception and expectations can taint objectivity. However, it is also true that the scientific method exists in order to help scientists move past the dangers of subjectivity.
The second fallacy, scientific language does not make a science (pg. 49), explains that just because scientific language is used to present an idea does not make that idea the result of science analysis. In other words, science is a method of measuring and defining an idea in order to prove its validity. Science has a language with vocabulary such as “measure”, “energy”, and “space”.
Using language common to the sciences does not make a claim scientific.ReferencesShermer, M. (insert year of publication here). Why People Believe Weird Things. (insert place ofpublication here: publisher.