You seem like a nice enough person, but also you appear to either have never encountered even the most basic counterpoints to your opinion, or are wholey ignorant about them to support your narrative.
First and foremost, since you are making the assertions (that myths exists and what these myths are), it is up to you to carry the burden of proof.
Let’s go back to your original article since I do not want to be insulted by you as a strawman.
Naïve Realism — The Myth That Science is simply “True”
Our first myth in question is that scientific truths are simply real truths about the world. In other words, we tend to treat scientific theories as though they are real. If we were to say that population growth is exponential we don’t just mean that it is exponential in theory, we mean that it’s true in practice. We are saying that this theory represents a “natural law” of exponential growth, something which really happens in nature. We mean so objectively, whether or not a particular person or group believes it or knows about it it’s still true.
First; who holds that myth? And where is your evidence for that? Like mentioned before, scientific theories are yet-to-be-disproved theories with strong predictive power and supporting evidence, but they surely are always considered an approximation to truth.
Second, exponential growth is a mathmatical description of a certain behavior, not a natural law. And you probably did not mean natural law, but laws of science. You are clearly struggling with accurate vocabulary here.
The laws of science, also called scientific laws or scientific principles, are statements that describe or predict a range of natural phenomena
If a population of bacteria grows exponentially given certain culture conditions, and they do this always and repeatedly in these conditions (as described by the laws of science), then the laws of science also predict that this will happen irrespectively of the observer and whatever political, social, emotional leanings he has. It will also happen if there is no observer at all. Therefore, exponential growth of bacteria is not subjective or socially constructed, but objective.
How do we know it also happens when there is no observer at all? Easy, start with a certain number of bacteria, take your calculator and consider a fixed doubling rate of 50 min, and come back at the end of the day, harvest and count your bacteria, and be sure to find precisely the number you calculated in the morning.
Kuhn (and many following thinkers like Paul Feyarabend) described a very different picture in which scientific theories, like any other theories, are better described as having been socially constructed rather than being objective statements of reality. When the ancient Greek scientist Ptolemy described the orbit of the planets around the Earth rather than around the Sun he did so because the geocentric and anthropocentric views of the ancient Greeks. When he described planetary orbits as uniform and circular motions (rather than elipses or other alternatives) he did so because of the influence of Aristotle and Platonism on ancient Greek thought.
Stated like this, this part is at best just an appeal to the authority of philosophers like Kuhn or Feierabend. And as far as I am aware of their work, you are misrepresenting them when you take their elaborate and nuanced thoughts and try to break them down to support your idea about ‘myths’ in science.
Needless to say, both of these Scientific theories have since been disproven; Ptolemy and Aristotle were mistaken about the movement of the heavens. Alarmingly, this was by no means the only time in history that scientific theories have been refuted and replaced. Doctors once thought that blood seeped from one side of the heart to the other, Biologists once thought that sperm cells contained little humans, astronomers once thought that the moon was a perfect spherical mirror. Given this we are left to wonder how many theories are socially justified in science today but which, in the future, may be revealed to be false.
Again, you seem to have a weird understanding of the scientific method. Even worse, you lump together theories from pre-scientific greek philosophers, middle-age doctors (who are not scientists and probably never heard about the scientific method, if it even existed at their time) and some others. Let me repeat this to you: The scientific method is as much about creating theories as it is about disproving them. When scientific theories get accepted (usually only if it gives valuable predictions and has a mountain of evidence that are non-contradictory to said theory), it does not mean that it is the truth, it just means that it has not been disproven yet, or replaced/integrated in a better theory. I thought you had at least some understanding of Karl Popper, since you quote him in your article.
This brings me to:
Today, science is often given supreme authority over other competing knowledge systems like religion and the humanities in no small part because it is perceived as been the most “true”.
Exactly, a scientific theory is per necessity always the most true theory that explains all available evidence best and delivers the most accurate predictions. If a religious or social theory could encompass all the available evidence (without contradiction) and predict future events more accurately than a scientific theory, then this theory would be the new scientific theory on the subject matter. (until a better one comes along).
This has resulted in an undervaluation of religious, cultural, artistic and social truths (or “human” truths) relative to the truths espoused in the sciences.
That is, again, just your ignorant opinion. Factually, established scientific theories are proven to be better and would even deserve more value than currently given by society and religion. After all, people are still teaching Creationism and that the earth is only 6000 years old in many parts of the US. How dare you suggest that these “truths” are deserving of an equal standing with scientific theories about Earth formation? The weight of the evidence has clearly disproven the contradictory account of earth’s creation in the Bible, and people are still preaching it as literal truth.
Now, I am kind of annoyed already that I wasted so much time writing a rebuttal of a clearly not thought out opinion piece. Since I have already refuted with several lines of argumentation your assertions about “myth 1”, I’ll be brief with the rest.
The second myth may be just as dangerous as the first. Many groups and individuals treat science, either directly or indirectly, as though it can be clearly deffined.
Where is your evidence that these groups exist? Most people I know, especially people in science that do science, are keenly aware that the borders of science are fluid. As a matter of fact, every scientific paper I’ve read in my life ends with the sentence: Further studies might be needed to better understand the implications of whatever was discovered/described, to remain us that for every little nugget of knowledge that we gain, there is a mountain of things we do not know.
This myth can have significant consequences because, depending on how science is defined, we may give credibility where it is not due and take it away from where it may belong.
Your understanding of science is really limited. There is no cabal of scientists sitting in their Ivory towers and decree “that shall be science now”. Science is about evidence, as long as your theories do not go against evidence (this includes well establised scientific laws), science will withhold judgement. If your theories have some predictive utility, science might even endorse it. However, if science has already disproven a certain tennet of your theory, it will be false forever. (That’s why homeopathy is not scientific and will never be). Simple as that.
Finally, the distinction between the scientific community and the general public is not as straight forward as it may seem. Although science is often treated more as a concern for experts than for the public it is clear that everyone needs to have a say in the course of science, not just scientists and investors.
I actually agree with this one. The scientific process is the most daring and hopeful collective human endeavor to improve the world, humanity and maybe even life through accumulating knowledge and understanding about the universe we inhabit. Every human has a right to that aquired knowledge and the obligations and choices that come with it.
In summary, science has myths too.
Science is not mankind’s “supreme” system of knowledge and to naïvely view it that way we risk devaluing cultural and social truths.
Science is not perfectly defined, it is messy and culturally embedded, it doesn’t just sit in an isolated vacuum. Its something we should all have a say in.
Finally, science is not purely objective, it does not view raw facts and data without bias and presuposition.
Science isn’t perfect. It’s messier than you probably think.
The supremacy of the scientific method (to other knowledge systems) is not myth but fact.
I think it is a myth of your own making that people believe science is strongly defined, almost everybody knows that the body of knowledge we call science is ever expanding and that certain areas have no scientific consensus yet.
There are many areas of science that are perfectly objective.
But science is not perfect (and nobody claims so), because it is done by bias humans who can make mistakes. What makes science so valuable is its constant drive to find errors, weed out the blunders, challenge its own theories and adapting to new evidence. That is why it is called a process.
The biggest utility we get from science is perfect knowledge about which of our ideas are proven wrong, so that we hopefully never have to repeat again the same mistakes.
Now with all of that being elaborated on, let’s have a look at your article’s impact.
In summary, it looks like either you tried to strawman science, or you are ignorant about its very tennets that make it qualitatively different from other systems of knowledge.
In either case, my worry about your opinion piece is and was that you are equating science and scientific knowledge and the scientific process with things like religious dogma or some other cultural, artisinal or societal crap when it comes to knowledge. As if the latter had any leg to stand on and are just as deserving of being taken serious when talking about the universe.
The world would be much better if people dropped their pet ideologies once science disproved them, instead of clinching to their false premises under the delusion that their scientific ignorant opinion is just as valuable as scientific fact.
All your initial article did was creating a flawed narrative to muddy the waters or sow confusion about the validity of science and what position in society it ought to have.
I do not believe you have an anti-science agenda, but consider what the point of article was supposed to be, and how it will be perceived. I would be surprised if these two things match.