March for Post-Modern Science

The March for Science apparently comes with its own particular version of the philosophy of science.  This can be clearly seen when Jerry Coyne’s views of science are contrasted with other March supporters (and the March itself).

First, Coyne tells us that science works according to a universal toolkit that is used the same by everyone:

If we are to march, we should march in unity for truth, and against those who reject empirical truth. What unites all science—and makes it unique—is that it is a universal toolkit, used in the same way by members of all groups, regardless of gender, ethnicity, or religion. That is what holds us together.

But that’s not how the March for Science (MfS) views science.  First, the MfS thinks ethnic and gender diversity is necessary for good science:

Science works best when scientists come from diverse perspectives, and we must work to encourage and support a new generation of scientists that increasingly includes historically underrepresented groups.

If the scientific toolkit is universal, and is used the same by everyone, why is it that “Science works best when scientists come from diverse perspectives?”  Don’t get distracted by the moral question of science needing to be diverse.  The question is whether such ethnic and gender diversity is needed to make science work at its best.  If that is the case, Coyne’s universal toolkit perspective is fundamentally flawed.

In fact, the contrast becomes even more clear in another statement from the MfS:

Science is first and foremost a human process — it is conducted, applied, and supported by a diverse body of people. Scientific inquiry is not an abstract process that happens independent of culture and community.

This comes across as a denial of Coyne’s view.  Coyne tells us science has a universal toolkit that is “used in the same way by members of all groups, regardless of gender, ethnicity, or religion.”  Yet the MfS tells us that “scientific inquiry is not an abstract process that happens independent of culture and community.”  Science is a “human process,” not the deployment of some “universal toolkit.”  Science happens within the context of “culture and community,” not outside of it.

If you need something that is even more obvious yet, consider what biologist Emily Willingham wrote in her essay, “The March For Science In Washington Is Political Whether You Like It Or Not.”

She warms up as follows:

Scientists and those who love science have spent many hours since the March for Science in Washington was born, hand-wringing about whether or not the march is “political.” Most of those who are making requests–and in some cases, demands–that it “not be political” fall into one of two categories: white scientists, mostly men, and conservative scientists, also mostly men.

The former seem to want science to be what they’ve always assumed it was, based on their own fantasy-land perception of it: something pure, above it all, existing in rarefied air that biochemistry tells us would preclude the viability of most living, breathing organisms. The latter are generally concerned that their political stances won’t be represented in a “March in Washington” that consists largely of people who try hard to follow where real facts lead instead of being distracted by “alternative facts.”

Too bad for them. Despite the careful wording of “March in Washington” instead of “March on Washington,” this march has all of the hallmarks of being political, must be political regardless of what the most privileged in the community want and is absolutely in response to political events that have occurred in the last few weeks.

Okay, it should be clear her views have a close affinity with the MfS organizers.

So let’s have it; her philosophy of science:

The questions we ask, the evidence trails we pursue and the observations we make all filter through the person and the personal. When a scientist shows up to do her work, she doesn’t leave her sex, her gender, her ethnicity, her physical features, her disabilities, her past or her perspective at home. All questions that we ask and answer, the tools and methods we use to answer them and the conclusions we emphasize filter through the person doing the asking…and the answering.

Notice how well this lines up with the MfS statements.

And note how it clearly contradicts Coyne’s views.

Coyne:

What unites all science—and makes it unique—is that it is a universal toolkit, used in the same way by members of all groups, regardless of gender, ethnicity, or religion.

Wellingham:

When a scientist shows up to do her work, she doesn’t leave her sex, her gender, her ethnicity, her physical features, her disabilities, her past or her perspective at home. All questions that we ask and answer, the tools and methods we use to answer them and the conclusions we emphasize filter through the person doing the asking…and the answering.

This is all a VERY significant disagreement and we need to explore the implications.  It would seem that the March for Science is not only a Trojan Horse for extreme left politics, but also for post-modernism itself.

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30 Responses to March for Post-Modern Science

  1. unclesporkums says:

    They’re counting heads for whomever will support their vengeful Soviet ideology

  2. Regual Llegna says:

    Post-moderm science have the same amount of quality that post-moderm art (like people buying a 2 tons simple rock for 2 millions dollars).

    The gnus will lose the fight or wil be absorbed by the political leftism, agains, and again…, because they depend too of their share of “victimhood” and for the politicas they (the gnus atheists) and the common atheists are a very tiny minority to represent socio-political power.

    What is worse is that they condemd themself more to by the political slaves of the leftists ideologies, in contrass with, like an example, The Vatican with the feudal lords, in their cae was common that none of the two groups have absolute power over the other. But with the gnus atheists, if they are not leftists socialists/social justice advocates, they lose their “victimhood” and are only part of the “oppresor/s” or, like that par of amoral ethicists of Canada put the babies in their push for “post-birth abortion” (A.K.A. infanticide), the gnus atheist become “morally irrelevant”.

    the two idiots that call themself experts ethicists and what they say about babies:
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/news/9113394/Killing-babies-no-different-from-abortion-experts-say.html
    WHAT ARE THE CHANCES THAT THOSE TWO HAVE A ATHEISM-SCIENTISM VIEWS ABOUT LIFE (of others people, not their own life)?!

  3. unclesporkums says:

    Not only that, they’ve also been using the aborted babies corpses to fuel hospitals in the UK.

  4. unclesporkums says:

    *as fuel for heat.

  5. mechanar says:

    soooo these people think that when the facts dont agree with them there is something wron with science…. thats some scary 1984 style newthink right there.

  6. Dhay says:

    > Despite the careful wording of “March in Washington” instead of “March on Washington,” this march has all of the hallmarks of being political …

    A quick glance back to the previous thread will show that the original wording was that wording which Emily Willingham judges political, namely “March on Washington”.

    It always was political, it’s just less overt about it now; but that doesn’t fool Willingham.

  7. pennywit says:

    I think Emily Willingham has some valid points, actually. If I’m reading her article correctly, she’s concerned that

    a) The incoming Trump administration will suppress scientific research that potentially disagrees with its preconceptions or could adversely affect stakeholders’ business interests, and she believes this will have negative public-policy consequences;

    b) If a scientific conclusion runs counter to the current political consensus, then stating that scientific conclusion would constitute a political act and could lead to repercussions; and,

    c) Political repercussions could fall disproportionately on scientists who are women or minorities because they are not in positions as politically strong as those held by more senior white male scientists.

  8. Occams Razor says:

    @pennywit: a) and b): How is that different from the Obama administration? Take a look at any scientist questioning AWG. Curious why you’re calling out Trump’s. This is what happens when any government supports science in order to set policy. Tow the line or you get no funding. Nowadays it’s also tow the line or we shame you.
    c) This is just fear mongering.

  9. Regual Llegna says:

    Counter-points (are questions):
    “a) The incoming Trump administration will suppress scientific research that potentially disagrees with its preconceptions or could adversely affect stakeholders’ business interests, and she believes this will have negative public-policy consequences;”

    Exactly what scientific researchs? in what way could adversely affect stakeholders’ business interests? Are those busniess in USA soil, because if not then is not Trump problem and not part of his promises of jobs?

    “b) If a scientific conclusion runs counter to the current political consensus, then stating that scientific conclusion would constitute a political act and could lead to repercussions; and,”

    “Scientific conclusion” (like global warming? and the 97% myth, gender studies? and their more than infitite genders, or political correcness? and their 100% appeal to pity to the goverments, anti-religion/christianity? and their continous alarmism agains theocracies that are not islamic), it is not a bad thing for science that anything realated to science become a partisan political issue? do you want that politics and not scientists are the ones that theach to the masses what “SCIENCE tm” is? Again what “scienctic conclusion”, words that imply that SCIENCE tm should have a special priority in the area of politics and their use of the money of the people (for socialists: other people money)?

    “c) Political repercussions could fall disproportionately on scientists who are women or minorities because they are not in positions as politically strong as those held by more senior white male scientists.”

    First: it is most women, that are the mayority of the humanity, in “the western world” that simply don’t want to work in scientific areas. Why do you attach the scientists that are women and form part of the minorities groups to be part of a “strong” political force? why “white male scientists” are, aparently, the mayority of the scientific community? what happen to the merits of the scientists when they are attached to politics?

    From wkipedia:
    “Emily Jane Willingham (born 1968) is an American skeptical blogger and scientist known for her research into the red-eared slider turtle. She frequently blogs about autism, as well as genetically modified food controversies.
    She is the joint recipient with David Robert Grimes of the 2014 John Maddox Prize, awarded by science charity Sense About Science, for standing up for science in the face of personal attacks.
    Willingham, along with co-author Tara Haelle have recently published The Informed Parent: a science-based resource for your child’s first four years, which examines several child raising controversies.”
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emily_Willingham

    Since the people that push this “March” are avocating for some control of the goverment (politics), and prove that they are selfish by default in their views of what SCIENCE tm is, them:

    What Emily Jane Willingham, and the others like her, lose because the politics of the President of the USA, Donald Trump (no political “March for SCIENCE tm” in the Barack Hussein Obama administration), or what is the political advantage they want to archive?

    – What i see:
    Since the political left party was and continue to become more weak, i believe that these people want to fill the void left. So they will promote themself as the SCIENCE tm Prophets, exactly like the gnus atheists (but the gnus are one very white male tiny, elite type, minority), and then pomote themself as the new FACE OF POLITICS and advocate social justice to gather minorities and people that fill guilt that their lives are better than others, usually in others countries, the democrat tactic. And will end advocating more of the same Political Correcness as is this PC was the law or the morqality of the western goverments and will implode more fast that the current left.

    Or they will end advocating to push Sharia Law as the law of life of westerns if the mayority of the population or the moyority of their minorities gropus (that will go down then) become muslims, something that they don’t have a problem with their politics of inmigration AND WITH THE FACT THIS PEOPLE AND THEIR “MARCH FOR SCIENCE tm” HAVE A “NON-RELIGIOUS, NON-CHRISTIAN, DIVERSITY OF RACE-GENDER PRE-REQUISTE FOR THE SCIENTIST THAT GO TO THE MARCH” INVITE MUSLIMS, APARENTLY MUSLIMS ARE NOT A RELIGIOUS GROUP, BUT FOR THESE “SCIENCE tm” MUSLIMS ARE A RACE (“scientific” muslims=??????????????Wft! insanity: in their gnus atheists world view).

    I still bet that they will by a muslim call to prayer in this march, like in the “women march”?

  10. pennywit says:

    Tow the line or you get no funding.

    What does hauling rope have to do with anything?

  11. pennywit says:

    @pennywit: a) and b): How is that different from the Obama administration? Take a look at any scientist questioning AWG. Curious why you’re calling out Trump’s. This is what happens when any government supports science in order to set policy. Tow the line or you get no funding. Nowadays it’s also tow the line or we shame you.

    Keep in mind I’m not part of the scientific community. I’m not the one “calling out” the Trump administration. The marching scientists are. Mostly, I’m summarizing and restating their points.

    But let’s see if I can flesh things out a little here.

    Among scientific-leaning types of my acquaintance, there is a particular fear that the Trump administration and Republican Congress will throttle the publication of data that the entire scientific community relies on. I think this Guardian article reflects, possibly even validates, the scientists’ fears.

    I can see why scientists would be concerned about this. As for why they didn’t protest Obama … I’m not the one to ask. I suggest that you engage one of the marching scientists. They’re all over social media, and it can’t be too hard for you to find one. If you approach this person respectfully, perhaps you can have a productive dialogue.

    I’m afraid I’m not quite sure how to address your linguistically challenged colleague, Regual.

  12. Jeffrey S. says:

    pennywit,

    No you are not reading Emily’s article correctly.

    Here is the deal — she is a scientist who happens to have liberal political views. That’s fine, she’s allowed her views just like every other citizen, but why she confuses the questions around science (and how science is performed) with her politics is beyond me. Take this statement for example:

    “A number of Trump nominees, and most alarmingly Betsy DeVos, pose a threat to scientific understanding and practice in this country. This concern affects every member of our body politic from cradle to grave. Consider the Affordable Care Act. Politicians make claims about it that are demonstrably false.”

    Huh? What the heck is she talking about? What does this have to do with science? Without even clicking on her link I could point her to ten different things the Obama Administration said about the ACA that turned out to be false (“if you like your plan you can keep your plan.”) None of this has anything to do with “science” as traditionally understood — this is all about economics, public policy and tough political decisions. Maybe the ACA was worth the trade-offs and compromises that led to its adoption — I happen to I think it is a bad law and bad public policy — but regardless of your position these are arguments that have nothing to do with scientific understanding and practice.

    Emily is crazy.

  13. pennywit says:

    Please pardon the triple-commenting, but I’m chewing over your thoughts on the science march and my own. To me (and not restating anybody else), it seems there are three or four different things going on:

    1) Basic interest-group politics. A group of scientists believe that the Trump administration will cut funding and/or impinge on scientists’ traditional liberties/perquisites, and they want to protest this. In this sense, the scientists’ march/protest is no different than a coal miners’ strike, or defense contractors sending lobbyists to Capitol Hill.

    2) A sense that science and scientists are under political assault. Adam Frank, who plans to march, writes:

    We have often discussed how, after World War II, politicians of all parties understood that science was vital to the national good. Science provided input on policy decisions — and that was as far as it should go. If you, as a politician, didn’t like that input, you could talk values or economics or any of the many other non-science things that went into policy-making. What you did not do, however, was call the science a hoax. You didn’t do that because it would, eventually, undermine the whole scientific enterprise that the nation needs so badly.

    Not anymore.

    3) Social justice/equality within the scientific community. There’s a fairly sordid history, going back a couple centuries, of the scientific community discriminating against women and minorities, and of white male scientists not recognizing women or minorities as equals. Even today, as I understand it, sexism and sexual harassment can be a problem within the industry.

    4) A general attempt to unify scientists behind a liberal political agenda. That agenda, includes generally fighting the various “-isms” that come up in political discourse.

    5) A more general perception that Trump’s 2016 electoral victory represents an anti-intellectual rebellion.

    I think some of these causes are genuine and come from a good place, some not so much. Point 1, I am neutral on. If you cut funding somewhere or change the rules, somebody is always going to squawk. Point 2 … I’m a little sympathetic toward. I’ve seen reports that scientists working for the government fear new restrictions on their ability to publish their work, and scientists up and down the line find themselves treated as an interest group, rather than as folks who seek truth.

    Point 3 — I think is very valid, but is something to be resolved within the scientific community. If you find finds your colleagues treating you poorly because of your race, religion, sex, or any other factor, then I can’t call demanding basic respect a far-left cause.

    Point 4 is a complete mistake. Scientists as a whole may skew liberal, but I think it’s a mistake to say “We are liberal, we believe this liberal stuff, because science!” It’s an invalid argument from authority, it’s condescending, and (quite frankly) I find it no better than 19th-century “science” that was used to support racist attitudes, or mid 20th century “science” that assayed cruel treatments for the “disorder” of homosexuality.

    Point 5 … I think the 2016 election certainly represented a rebellion against elites, but I think it’s a stretch to call it a rebellion against science or scientists. To me, it looks more like a rebellion over economic and political issues.

  14. Vy says:

    So is this “scientists’ march supposed to represent science or is it a bunch of Big Science Obama lovers who are terrified arguments from consensus for touchy subjects might lose their worth?

  15. pennywit says:

    If you wish to answer the question, Vy, I suggest you read some of what the scientists themselves have written.

  16. Vy says:

    Vy, I suggest you read some of what the scientists themselves have written.

    Is their “mission statement” and the comments on their blog any less indicative of how terrified they are?

  17. pennywit says:

    I think you can gain more insight by reading some of their op-eds and other commentary.

  18. Vy says:

    Perhaps I got it wrong but aren’t their op-eds or general position what you summarized here and here? Because if that’s the case then yeah, rereading them after I posted my initial comment doesn’t change my position.

  19. Jeffrey S. says:

    pennywit,

    I appreciate the longer reply. I like your summary. Using your framework, here is my response:

    1) I agree with you — if you want more funding for X, then get in line, because somebody probably wants funding for A, B and C ahead of you;

    2) I might have been sympathetic to this view until I started studying what happened with the various climate change scandals. To be frank, if scientists were so sure of their results, they shouldn’t have to “hide the decline” or more recently the scandal at NOAA suggests that scientists are not immune to lying to get what they want. The only ones undermining science, at least lately, seems to be bad scientists themselves.

    3) Really? What evidence do you have for this “fairly sordid history?” Yes, certain minorities, especially blacks in the U.S. faced all sorts of barriers to traditional scientific careers back in the 19th Century and early 20th Century — but over the last 50 years? I doubt it. And I would need to see some evidence for massive discrimination against women before I could evaluate such a strong claim.

    4) & 5) We agree!

    Glad to reach at least some common ground with someone who at first blush appeared to be a blogging ‘enemy’ — thanks for the pleasant debate.

  20. TFBW says:

    pennywit quoted Adam Frank as saying:

    Science provided input on policy decisions — and that was as far as it should go. If you, as a politician, didn’t like that input, you could talk values or economics or any of the many other non-science things that went into policy-making. What you did not do, however, was call the science a hoax.

    I note that there’s been a cultural shift since then, such that if you don’t defer to the views of scientists above all other considerations, you are in danger of being labelled a “science denier”. That particular slur is a relatively recent phenomenon, and it undermines the politician’s ability to talk about the non-science things that go into policy-making. It seems that the most rhetorically effective counter to this slur is to cast aspersions on the science itself. In other words, the situation which Frank laments is the result of a rhetorical war of escalation, and it’s not likely to be scaled back while “science denialism” is a term which has any purchase.

  21. Regual Llegna says:

    TFBW says:
    “I note that there’s been a cultural shift since then, such that if you don’t defer to the views of scientists above all other considerations, you are in danger of being labelled a “science denier”. That particular slur is a relatively recent phenomenon, and it undermines the politician’s ability to talk about the non-science things that go into policy-making. It seems that the most rhetorically effective counter to this slur is to cast aspersions on the science itself. In other words, the situation which Frank laments is the result of a rhetorical war of escalation, and it’s not likely to be scaled back while “science denialism” is a term which has any purchase.”

    And the end result will be a post-modernist view of science in the same way there is a post-modernist view of art, that will be simply bad. Or that they will lose credivility if the current administration made public all the science-that-is-in-fact-politics contracts for funding (that they are the whores of the political figures and are very partisan) that they made in the last administration unrelated to the science that they profess.

  22. Regual Llegna says:

    That is that the current admiinistration can in fact prove that those scientist that go into politics have no integrity, ethics or/and morals.

    A phobia of the truth, wich will explain the “we invite… non-religious, non-christian, muslims…. scientist “for diversity””, their selective diversity that have no merits.

  23. FZM says:

    Point 4 is a complete mistake. Scientists as a whole may skew liberal, but I think it’s a mistake to say “We are liberal, we believe this liberal stuff, because science!” It’s an invalid argument from authority, it’s condescending, and (quite frankly) I find it no better than 19th-century “science” that was used to support racist attitudes, or mid 20th century “science” that assayed cruel treatments for the “disorder” of homosexuality.

    I think the problem can get more complex, when the idea of what science is, what counts as scientific evidence and so on becomes blurred and arguably politically influenced. Maybe to some extent it is inevitable (depending on the field) but I tend to see the examples you gave as manifestations of this rather than straightforward arguments from authority.

    Racial science is a good example of this on the right of the political spectrum, but there is plenty of it from the left as well (Marxism as science and a source of scientific political doctrines etc.).

    If the March for Science was intended to promote ideas like: scientific findings or discoveries mandate gender equality, ‘social inclusivity’ (as defined by certain political groups) or that research in Physics or Chemistry that didn’t include a sufficient representation of minority groups among the researchers would thereby necessarily be flawed and impaired science, it could be seen as an example of shaping the definition of science so that it included (or centred around even) left wing political ideas.

  24. Michael says:

    If the March for Science was intended to promote ideas like: scientific findings or discoveries mandate gender equality, ‘social inclusivity’ (as defined by certain political groups) or that research in Physics or Chemistry that didn’t include a sufficient representation of minority groups among the researchers would thereby necessarily be flawed and impaired science, it could be seen as an example of shaping the definition of science so that it included (or centred around even) left wing political ideas.

    The MfS orgranizers did in fact tweet:

    colonization, racism, immigration, native rights, sexism, ableism, queer-, trans-, intersex-phobia, & econ justice are scientific issues.

    Since then, they have sneakily deleted that.

  25. pennywit says:

    colonization, racism, immigration, native rights, sexism, ableism, queer-, trans-, intersex-phobia, & econ justice are scientific issues.

    That sentence has a number of meanings, depending on how you parse it. I think you can argue that racism, etc., and their effects are things that rightfully should be studied as part of the social sciences. But that sentence could also be read as promoting a political agenda.

  26. Regual Llegna says:

    “colonization, racism, immigration, native rights, sexism, ableism, queer-, trans-, intersex-phobia, & econ justice are scientific issues.”

    They mean for the political left:

    colonization = white guilt

    racism = for the left is prejudice+power (no matter the non-white president)

    native rights = white guilt (nobody can change the past or live in total pity for others)

    sexism = mysandry

    ableism = exept if the target is white is ableism (GNUS ATHEISTS are a good example of ableists because: religious people are “mentally ill” then deserve mockery, shame or social reeducation “indoctrination” because their belief)

    queer-,trans- = gender studies (A.K.A. feels avobe fact, with exeeptions if you are religious minus muslim or are not leftist)

    intersex-phobia = Is this a phobia, “white are evil” narrative like the “religion is the surce of evil” (minus islam) narrative make people to not want to be asociated in any way to peoples that are white, christian or straight male. You will never see then have a talk about intersex-phobia in the non-white communities like the muslim community, the balck community (the ones that live in ghettos and blame everything bad on whites, and are openly racist against white people), etc.

    econ justice = economic jsutice = this obiously means SOCIALISM
    How do you make economic justice if some part of the poplulation literaly don’t work and the ones that work do it in totally different andd unrrelated works, “why politics have want administrative power over others people money”? they are corrut and don’t deserve trust because of that.

  27. pennywit says:

    3) Really? What evidence do you have for this “fairly sordid history?” Yes, certain minorities, especially blacks in the U.S. faced all sorts of barriers to traditional scientific careers back in the 19th Century and early 20th Century — but over the last 50 years? I doubt it. And I would need to see some evidence for massive discrimination against women before I could evaluate such a strong claim.

    I’ve gone over the Googles a bit on this. There is a pretty sordid history of institutional bias in the sciences through the mid 20th century. Side note: Some accounts of 19th century gynecology are really, truly frightening.

    Once we get to the mid 20th century and later, there is evidence of sexism within the science community. This study, for example, indicates that science faculty in a resume review indicates sexism in evaluation of candidates for a lab manager position. And here’s a survey of attitudes that female scientists have faced from their colleagues.

    This is not ancient history. It is recent.

  28. FZM says:

    That sentence has a number of meanings, depending on how you parse it. I think you can argue that racism, etc., and their effects are things that rightfully should be studied as part of the social sciences. But that sentence could also be read as promoting a political agenda.

    Some US professors of social science subjects are worried about political conformity (to the left in this case) having a negative influence on the objectivity of research in the social sciences and have an interesting website:

    http://heterodoxacademy.org/problems/

    I think in general in the social sciences the introduction of political/ideological agendas into research is easier or more likely than in the ‘exact’ or natural sciences (Physics, Chemistry, Biology).

  29. pennywit says:

    I actually met a Marxist social scientist once who was fanatical about trying to make sure his Marxism didn’t interfere with his research findings. Of course, he became a Marxist in part because of his observations — and what seemed like the best solutions to him — in the first place. Sort of a chicken and egg problem there.

  30. Dhay says:

    > What unites all science—and makes it unique—is that it is a universal toolkit, used in the same way by members of all groups, regardless of gender, ethnicity, or religion. That is what holds us together.

    Odd, Jerry Coyne here misses out plumbers. He (and Sam Harris also) usually pointedly includes plumbers among those using the “universal toolkit, used in the same way by members of all groups”.

    Of course, including plumbers — in practice a synechdoche for anybody and everybody who uses reason, a category inclusive of even Neolithic hunter-gathers — including everyone as a scientist rather makes one wonder why Coyne should add that “–and makes [science] unique–” to refer to a “universal toolkit” used by all people everywhere at all times in their ordinary everyday lives; the use of such a universally used toolkit by scientists, too, making “all science” mundane, not unique.

    Alternatively, perhaps that “–and makes [science] unique–” excludes plumbers, and he’s admitted changing tack on whether or not plumbers are scientists — now he’s decided they’re not, though I expect a change back later. I do wish he’d get his mind and story straight and become consistent.

    *

    There’s an interesting article on science, anti-science and scientism by philosopher of science Susan Haack: one snippet in that long, long article jumped out at me in passing:

    Before very long, however, the fashion for anti-scientific exaggerations was waning somewhat, and a newly confident scientism was on the rise. To be clear: this new wave of scientism didn’t sweep over us overnight; it crept up on us—though it crept up with remarkable rapidity. It’s tempting to speak of the “new” scientism; but what we’re really seeing is probably better described as a revival, a recrudescence, of attitudes that are far from new—attitudes that were already familiar to James, and that were at the heart of logical positivism, of Karl Popper’s insistence on the crucial importance of the “problem of demarcation,” the need for a criterion to distinguish genuine science from pretenders, and of W. V. Quine’s ambitious but ambiguous program to “naturalize” epistemology.

    At the same time, as we’ll soon see, the current wave of scientism is neither simply a return to older forms, nor simply an overreaction to the anti-scientific extravagances of those postmodern cynics; other intellectual upheavals—notably, the boom in evolutionary biology and, especially, in neuroscience, along with the rise of a newly evangelical atheism—have shaped the style, and influenced the tone, of the forms of scientism in vogue today.
    [My emboldening.]

    https://roundedglobe.com/html/038f7053-e376-4fc3-87c5-096de820966d/en/Scientism%20and%20its%20Discontents/

    Haack doesn’t provide names for the people leading ‘the current wave of scientism’, but from her description of them I think we can readily identify them as including the Three Horsemen of the Scientismist Apocalypse.

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