When I was in college, we mechanical engineers had little but disdain for practitioners of the various social sciences, who seemed more focused on advancing political ideologies than conducting quality science. Apparently, denizens of these softer sciences have become convinced that the lack of objectivity or objective research that plagues their fields is par for the course in the hard sciences as well. MaxedOutMamma describes this post-modernist view of science:
If some reader is not familiar with the full-bodied modern explications of post-modernism, the story of the Dartmouth professor who decided to sue her students will serve as an introduction. Here is her version of the problem with her students. Here is an article
she wrote about working as a post-doc researcher at Dartmouth Medical
School, which may give a hint as to why her students were so, ah,
unwilling to assent to her view of the world:
graduate school, I was inculcated in the tenets of a field known as
science studies, which teaches that scientific knowledge has suspect
access to truth and that science is motivated by politics and human
interest. This is known as social constructivism and is the
reigning mantra in science studies, which considers historical and
sociological understandings of science. From the vantage point of
social constructivism, scientific facts are not discovered but rather
created within a social framework. In other words, scientific facts do not correspond to a natural reality but conform to a social construct.
As a practicing scientist, I feel these views need to be qualified in
the context of literary inquiry. My mentor, Chris Lowrey, is an
extraordinary physician- scientist whose vision of science is pragmatic
and positivist. My experience in his
lab has shown me that the practice of science is at least partly
motivated by the scientific method, though with some qualifications.
Through my experience in the laboratory, I have found that postmodernism
offers a constructive critique of science in ways that social
constructivism cannot, due to postmodernism’s emphasis on openly
addressing the presupposed moral aims of science. In other
words, I find that while an individual ethic of motivation exists, and
indeed guides the conduct of laboratory routine, I have also observed
that a moral framework—one in which
the social implications of science and technology are addressed—is
clearly absent in scientific settings. Yet I believe such a framework is necessary. Postmodernism
maintains that it is within the rhetorical apparatus of science—how
scientists talk about their work—that these moral aims of science may
those of you who cling to scientific method, this is pretty bizarre
stuff. But she, and many others, are dead serious about it. If a
research finding could harm a class of persons, the theory is that
scientists should change the way they talk about that finding. Since scientific method is a way of building a body of knowledge based on skeptical testing, replication, and publication, this is a problem.
The tight framework of scientific method mandates figuring out what would disprove the theory being tested and then looking for the disproof.
The thought process that spawned the scientific revolution was
inherently skeptical, which is why disciples of scientific method say
that no theory can be definitively and absolutely proved, but only
disproved (falsified). Hypotheses are elevated to the status of
theories largely as a result of continued failures to disprove the
theory and continued conformity of experimentation and observation with
the theory, and such efforts should be conducted by diverse parties.
Needless to say postmodernist schools of thought and scientific method are almost polar opposites.
Reading this, I start to come to the conclusion that climate scientists are attempting to make Climate the first post-modernist physical science. It certainly would explain why climate is so far short of being a "big-boy science" like physics, where replicating results is more important than casual review of publications by a cherry-picked group of peers. It also explains this quote from National Center for Atmospheric Research (NOAA) climate researcher and global warming action promoter, Steven Schneider:
have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements,
and make little mention of any doubts we have. Each of us has to decide
what the right balance is between being effective and being honest.
We have 25 or so years invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it. There is IPR to consider.