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A Criticism of the Supremacy of Science.

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Introduction

A Criticism of the Supremacy of Science ` There are several different criticisms that have been commonly levelled at science and scientists as a whole. During the course of this essay I shall attempt to identify these criticisms and identify the reasoning behind each of them. The first of these criticisms is that science has been given similar status to a religion. It was commonly thought in the early days of science that science would eventually develop a theory for everything, thereby replacing religion through removing the ambiguous and the incomprehensible parts of life with which religion dealt. In many ways science has replaced religion in the 21st century, as it has become the object of faith and even devotion. A blind faith has been placed in the unquestionable correctness of science and scientific research. It was Emile Durkheim who first advanced the theory that given enough time, science would replace all traditional religions to be replaced by a formal, unquestionable religion based upon science. It is the arrogance of many scientists that leads us to believe that scientific theories are facts, and can be treated as 'truth' replacing religion by explaining the facts behind the creation and existence of the world. ...read more.

Middle

However, this strong criticism of science can be taken even further. Karl Popper put forward the theory that scientific 'facts' of the present day are simply probabilities, and only hold this status until such time as new evidence emerges allowing the theory to be dropped or adapted. Thomas Kuhn took this criticism of scientists even further, he believed that scientists, for the vast majority of the time, went to great lengths to fit their experiments to already existing theories, or when new information was taken into account, and it was simply accommodated by existing theories rather than new theories being created. Kuhn went further in his criticism; he claimed that when new theories were advanced, it was normally due to a competition between two scientists. Eventually, one theory would emerge victorious, however, this emergence, claimed Kuhn, had little to do with the correctness or otherwise of the theory and more to do with the political connections and status of the scientists involved in the battle. Feyerabend takes his criticism of the methodology of science to the extreme and claims that the scientific experiments are not based on observation of facts, but interpretation of what was seen. ...read more.

Conclusion

In fact, scientific supremacy has been taken so far through arrogance that the truth of science, as well as being rarely questioned, has gained the status of religion in our modern society, although science can never explain the human tendency to a belief in a 'God' or a supernatural being, nor can it prove to the contrary. In this, however, I believe we see even more apparently the human desire for something to believe in, and despite its many flaws, for some people, science provides the alternative to a religion. Furthermore, in the attempt to maintain the belief that all scientific theories should be taken as gospel, scientists simply attempt to fit new information into old theories, or when a theory must be disregarded, it is described as 'unscientific'. Scientific theories are also subject to human observation and therefore preconceived ideas, notions and creative thoughts. In this respect therefore, the observations can be made to fit the preconceived ideas. The supremacy of western science over other scientific cultures is also questionable as there are different ways to conduct science. In short, western science has arrogantly given the impression that there is only one true scientific method, that used by western scientists. This arrogance has led western peoples to believe unquestioningly in what scientists say, and those who read it unquestioningly apparently regard all scientific theory as absolutely correct. ...read more.

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