Thursday, 6 May 2010

Postmodernism: A Unified Theory of All the Trouble in the World

Like the "fatal error" message that pops up unexpectedly on a computer, the phrase itself is menacing: "post-normal science." I ran across the phrase as I was reading Climate Change and the Death of Science. The author's explanation did nothing to allay my anxiety.

Once there was modern science, which was hard work; now we have postmodern science, where the quest for real, absolute truth is outdated, and "science" is a wax nose that can be twisted in any direction to underpin the latest lying narrative in the pursuit of power. Except they didn't call it ‘postmodern' science because then we might smell a rat. They called it PNS (post-normal science) and hoped we wouldn't notice.

This death sentence for science left me with the same enervating feeling I get at the precise moment I realize my hard drive is crashing. How could science, too, fall into the grasp of postmodernism's insanity? The author continues:

What has become of science? We thought that science was about the pursuit of truth. Then we became perplexed at how quickly scientists have prostituted themselves in the service of political agendas ... scientists refusing to share their data, fiddling their results, and resorting to ad hominem attacks on those who have exposed their work to be fraudulent.

Science has succumbed to the same virus that beset literature, art, economics, and the rest of the social sciences: postmodernism. Postmodernism is a progressive virus that negates reason, objectivity, and truth -- replacing them with relativism, subjectivism, and pragmatism. Having colonized every other branch of academics decades ago, postmodernism has now come for science. Read more No comments will be posted without a full name and location, see the policy.

1 comment:

David said...

It is not clear from the article what is going on but this may help
I think the term is unhelpful but it does not represent the death of normal science. Global warming is a prediction based on normal science. It appears to have 3 elements: a statistical basis, a model of how the burning of carbon contributes to this and an analysis of the effects of global warming will affect the environment. Even if this is overstated current policies to build better cars and better homes are sensible.