Martin McGrath on the dogma of the scientific method

Martin McGrath keeps claiming he doesn’t really want people to read his blog. If that’s the case he should really stop writing interesting pieces on it that I find the need to tell people about.

It’s a kind-of-essay about the close-mindedness that the scientific method can produce in its most fanatical adherents, about how change is rarely comprehendable before it happens, and how the science fictional impulse (as both reader and writer) is based on the thrill of seeing new worlds of understanding open up:

I doubt that “cold fusion” is really fusion – though I’d be interested to know what is causing some of the phenomena observed by some groups like the US Navy findings on radioactive traces – but what the argument really demonstrates is despite the pedestal some people put the practice of science on, it really is just a profession like any other, with fads and power structures and turf-battles all ringed around with bureaucracy and propped up with career ladders.

None of this is to deny the benefits of science. I’m a geek. I love science and I’m having none of that back to nature malarkey either – I like living in a world with Wiis and the Internet and missions to Pluto and a vast array of antibiotics – this is undeniably the most extraordinary era to be alive in throughout human history.

But, believing that, one can still point out that the mechanisms and institutions of science are the product of mortal man, and mortal man is incapable of perfection.

Go and read the whole thing, it’s worth it. Clever guy, and lucid too. Even when drunk.

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