Why can’t the scientific establishment get its act together? Because it’s W.E.I.R.D.
It’s time we admitted something: the scientific establishment has cultural biases and these biases are hurting science. And there’s science to demonstrate it. If you want to hear it from someone inside the scientific establishment, then you should check out Jon Haidt’s Heterodox Academy. Haidt’s point is that the extreme liberal bias of science has stripped science of its intellectual diversity and moved it from a place where lots of people Think Different to a place where anyone who thinks different is excluded. That’s bad for innovation because it turns out that intellectual innovation works just like biological innovation. It rests on sex. Idea sex. And when the intellectual gene pool is narrow, you get idea incest. Jon Haidt would never put it in such blunt terms but he’s saying this is the scientific establishment.
That’s because science has baked in the cultural biases of the people who overwhelmingly dominate science. And that culture is the W.E.I.R.D. culture. What universities are doing isn’t science. It’s W.E.I.R.D. Science.
The whole point of science is to correct your cultural biases and overcome your blindspots to see more clearly. You can’t see your blindspots. You need other people to correct them. You can’t do that if everyone has the same blindspots and one of the biggest blindspots is the Western bias towards atomism. W.E.I.R.D. Scientists have broken down the world into lots and lots of tiny pieces. When does it add up to some sort of clear picture that the rest of us can use to make better choices? Well, that’s exactly the problem that Mixed Mental Arts is designed to solve and we need your help. There are 60 million scientific papers. It’s too large a task for the tiny number of professional scientists to solve. It needs the Wisdom of Crowds. Non-experts beating experts? Yep. After all, didn’t A LOT of non-experts beat the experts in the encyclopedia game? They sure did. Wikipedia > Encyclopedia Britannica. And now it’s time for non-experts to help smart go pop.
In the process, the crowd will end up doing something staggering. They will end up helping to piece together all that science into a coherent worldview. They will make kintsugi. In the great holistic tradition of Japanese art, they will take the broken pieces of science and piece them together into a new and beautiful whole where the cracks are filled in with gold.
2016 saw a rebellion against the experts that is only going to build. While much of that rebellion is misdirected, we shouldn’t pretend that the science establishment doesn’t have MAJOR problems. The people with PhDs practice W.E.I.R.D. Science and they’re so busy trying to stand out that they can’t get their act together. Rather than acknowledging these problems and dealing with them, a lot of those W.E.I.R.D. Scientists are instead choosing to simply act like Cartman in South Park.
News flash, doc! That’s not going to work. Respect is given when respect is earned. And people like Dawkins and Harris have used science’s power to disrespect the intelligence of most of humanity. Harris doesn’t like me saying these things and has tried to frame me as craaaaaaaaaazy and said that I don’t understand the “relevant biology.” But, really, who doesn’t understand how humans work here? The guy who tries to act so high and mighty or the guy who is trying to make science relatable and democratize these ideas. Sam doesn’t think I should have a Twitter account. Sorry, brah.
The information jungle is happening and it’s time that science stopped being W.E.I.R.D. and started being a party animal.
Stop whining, W.E.I.R.D.os! The intellectual marketplace just got a lot more competitive. If your ideas are so great, then you should be able to move them. If you want to join an open source community that is committed to moving the most powerful ideas available then Mixed Mental Arts is all about exactly that. If you want to be part of that solution, we’d love to have you involved.
Originally published at mixedmentalarts.co on May 16, 2017.