Talk:Scientific objectivity

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If you're interested, we could consider mainspacing this under the name "Scientific Objectivity" or something.--PalMD-Si Quaeris Peninsulam Amoenam Circumspice! 21:33, 9 August 2007 (CDT)

That's cool with me. I hesitated to do that before because I thought I'd wander into murky philosophical "what is reality?"-type issues. If anyone else (yourself perhaps???/?/?? hint, hint) wants to take a crack at it, they're free to mine anything from here; otherwise I can try to do it in the future.Bayes Factor 09:43, 13 August 2007 (CDT)
Yes, it looks like a very good 90% finished start under the title Doc suggested. As long as you are comfortable dropping the single-authorship, I would say to go ahead and move it. Then ask any sysop to delete the breadcrumbs left behind after the move. And, in future, I would recommend being comfortable building your drafts in the mainspace - you can always mark them as "works in progress", and of course other people will help write them. humanbe in 20:20, 20 August 2007 (CDT)
I'll try to get rid of the first-person perspective and then move it shortly.--Bayes Factor 21:50, 20 August 2007 (CDT)
Some first person is ok - we do it all the time. Sometimes we link the "I" to our user page. Sometimes we just leave it all, you know, intimate. We I like to pretend that we are I am all sockpuppets of Ashfly anyway. humanbe in 22:28, 20 August 2007 (CDT)


An unfortunate case of politics determining science. The fact that it shrivelled and died the second the political support vanished might disqualify it, though.

I think that although politics and religion are always trying to interfere with science and its results (gee, look at the current US administration, and other fundamentalist regimes), that does not mean that the method or objectivity are not still the point of science. Just that sometimes the rack, the stake and the pillory get in the way of the work. And of course, there are often (political, religious, commercial) strings attached to funding that at the very least, alter the scope of current enquiry. humanbe in 12:12, 21 August 2007 (CDT)

A Few Problems with the Article[edit]

I'm not sure that this article is correct. Science always aims for objectivity, but I think it's undeniable that personal and cultural bias will slip into the process. What do you think? Paradox 14:30, 27 November 2008 (EST)

Well, its objective is objectivity.--Bobbing up 14:33, 27 November 2008 (EST)
True. But even a major field of study can be inflected with cultural bias. Look at anthropology in the ninteenth and early twentieth century. I think this article should be a little more clear on that point, but I'm not going to make any edits yet. Paradox 15:07, 27 November 2008 (EST)
Someone who knows more than I about Michel Callon and Actor-Network Theory and other STS issues could really help this thing. PFoster 15:16, 27 November 2008 (EST)
OK, science is carried out by human beings not machines. They will have their agendas, prejudices, preconceptions or whatever other things they have that make them human. But the process is designed to minimise these things. Is it going to be perfect? No, I can't think of any process that is. Does it strive to be? Yes. Does it generally self-correct in the end? I'd say that it does.--Bobbing up 15:35, 27 November 2008 (EST)
Ok, that makes sense. Thanks for addressing my concerns. Paradox 23:16, 28 November 2008 (EST)


Frankly, much of this is terribly written and some of it I'm not even sure what it means. ("Science is limited by nature"?) I'm dumping it here if anyone wants to salvage anything from it. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 02:20, 28 July 2012 (UTC)


=== Science is limited by nature ===

Science is, at its core, the study of the natural world. Honest scientists cannot report any more than they actually observe. Attacking such scientists as "biased" is tantamount to saying that nature and reality themselves carry a bias.

=== Nature is consistent ===

One fundamental assumption of science is that laws of nature are the same everywhere in the universe, and don't change drastically over short time scales. Injecting bias into scientific findings is therefore a dicey proposition, since many findings can be verified simply by doing an experiment again. Frauds are eventually exposed for what they are, and as evidence for a theory accumulates, the chances that it is a fraud cleverly spun in a politically convenient way are reduced.

=== Consensus across political lines ===

If science had a political tilt, then we would expect the scientists of one political system to arrive at different conclusions than those of another. Did Soviet science arrive at drastically different conclusions than Western science during the Cold War? Though some lines of inquiry were barred by one side or the other for political or security reasons, when the same questions were asked the answer seems to have been the same. This concept is related to the above point; carbon atoms in Moscow behave the same way as carbon atoms in New York, so it's hard to imagine that the basic conclusions about carbon atoms would differ between the two locales.

== Other kinds of bias in science ==

Not all features of science are immune to bias. Individual scientists are human beings, and they strive to become respected in their fields, win prizes, get funding, and may have other incentives. As such, they can be tempted, even unconsciously, to obtain or interpret conclusions that they "expect" to see. That kind of bias, while certainly a concern, diminishes as more and more evidence accumulates for a particular theory. Furthermore, scientific peer review provides a layer of protection against that and other biases.<ref>The first reported detection of gravitational waves in 1969 was not accepted by the scientific consensus.[1]</ref> Moreover, it applies to individuals or groups of fallible beings, and does not apply to the scientific discipline.

==Notes== <references/>