Silver-level articleAntiscience

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Philosophy of science

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There is something even more vital to science than intelligent methods; namely, the sincere desire to discover the truth, whatever it may be.[1]
—Charles Sanders Peirce, pro-science
It's scientifically impossible for the bumblebee to fly; but the bumblebee, being unaware of these scientific facts, flies anyways.[2]
Mike Huckabee, anti-science

The term "antiscience" refers to persons or organizations that promote their ideology over scientifically-verified evidence,[3] usually either by denying said evidence and/or creating their own.

If a position or theory is pro-science (aka "science"), as opposed to antiscience, it will follow the scientific method, be potentially refutable, peer-reviewable, reproducible, and open to change if the position comes in conflict with observed fact. An antiscience position will violate one or more of these thresholds, in addition to likely being incoherent. In other words -- is it science?

Antiscience positions are promoted especially when political ideology and/or religious dogma conflict with actual science. While it is highly likely that antiscience positions are the result of ideological positions, it is important to note that holding a particular ideological position does not automatically make an individual guilty of being antiscience, or vice versa.

Common antiscience targets include evolution,[4] global warming,[5], GMOs, and various forms of medicine,[6] although other sciences that conflict with the antiscience ideology are often targeted as well.

While it is frequently associated with conservative political positions, vaccine denialism, alternative medicine (particularly of the Eastern or herbal-based variety), the entire organic food movement, chemophobia, and opposition to a lot of genetic research is associated with the left.


[edit] Examples

[edit] Examples of antiscience tactics

Get your facts first, and then you can distort them at your leisure.[7]
Mark Twain

Antiscience proponents often attack science through:

[edit] Examples of antiscience proponents

If somewhere in the Bible, I were to find a passage that said two plus two equaled five, I wouldn’t question what I’m reading in the Bible. I would believe it, accept it as true, and then try my best to work it out and understand it.[11][12]
—Pastor Peter LaRuffa

Antiscience proponents usually attack science because of their religious or political view(s). Some of the major ones are listed below:

[edit] Other uses of the term

This modern usage of the term should not be confused with the antiscience movement in the 1960s and 1970s, which, similar to but less violent than the Luddites, was mostly concerned with the potential dehumanization that uncontrolled scientific and technological advancement could cause.[15] While this skepticism of unchecked change meets the dictionary definition of classic conservatism, it falls far short of the anti-intellectual thrust of modern political conservatism.

[edit] What it is not

For the reasons stated above pseudosciences such as intelligent design, and concepts such as the global warming conspiracy theory are examples of "antiscience."

The phrase does not mean:

  • "Having a scientifically testable and potentially falsifiable hypothesis which is opposed to the paradigm currently dominant in the scientific community," because in this case, Einstein, Darwin, Pasteur, Galileo, and Copernicus would also meet the definition of having been "antiscience".
  • "Wrong," in which case every scientist that has held a hypothesis, based on evidence of their time period, that is ultimately proven false would meet the definition of having been "antiscience". It is simply the nature of scientific theories to be overturned or updated once new evidence is found, often with technologies not present previously. On the other hand, even pseudoscientific or non-scientific claims can accidentally go right.

[edit] Impact

See the main article on this topic: Impact of science

Science is pretty damn great. Antiscience attitudes and policies actively hurt science's ability to do great things. This obstruction can and has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people, who otherwise could have been saved.

[edit] See Also

[edit] External links

[edit] Footnotes

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