I don’t think it is practically possible to separate science from scientists.
Jack Preston King
61

“I don’t think it is practically possible to separate science from scientists. If no one is doing science, there is no such thing as science. It’s a thing that is done. A method, as you say. And when someone does it, that someone is a scientist. It’s a distinction without difference.”

I would really like to tackle this in a longer post, and I’ll let you know if I do. But the thing I find fascinating is how differently you use these words. To explain the difference I see here, I would say, anyone can use the method, without having to be a scientist.

A recipe is like an expression of the scientific method. Every single time you cook according to a recipe, you are combining ingredients in specific ways to drive a predictable chemical reaction.

But baking a cake doesn’t make me a scientist. So in a sense you are right, in that there is no such thing as science without people doing science, but simply using the scientific method also doesn’t make someone a scientist.

Expecting scientific principles that worked for other humans to work for you is a really really primitive thing.

“Without those who fund science, there really is no science. It’s just an idea, a thing that must be done to exist, and nobody’s doing it if it’s not paid for. Individual scientists may be pure of heart, but if they want to actually WORK in science, they’ll have to study what corporations want studied. Picture the pure-hearted scientist proposing a study for a $5 a bottle herbal supplement the scientific method suggests to our hero could do the same job as that $700 a pill cure for Hepatitis C out there. Everyone could afford it. Hep C would be wiped from the earth. All he needs is ten million bucks to prove it works. Will he get funded? Fat chance…”

This further shows the gulf in our two views of science. Because as far as I’m concerned, all those natural processes are still there, for anyone who chooses to look for them. And the way you conceive of science as “something done in a lab for money” is completely divorced from my conception of science. If that herbal supplement works, it ought to work for anyone, and the assumption here that he needs ten million dollars to destroy Hep C drives a kind of helplessness and passivity. The idea that a cure is lurking out there if only someone else was looking for it. And right now I am watching studies launched to investigate medical marijuana, studies that are constructed based off the way patients already used marijuana. They were already using the drug and now the industry is catching up. The labwork followed the discovery.

I’m not trying to argue that you’re wrong, only that this seems like a very different way of thinking about science than what I am used to.

Show your support

Clapping shows how much you appreciated Eve Moran’s story.