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Re: <nettime> Why I won't support the March for Science
carlo von lynX on Tue, 25 Apr 2017 21:50:14 +0200 (CEST)


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Re: <nettime> Why I won't support the March for Science


I'll try a deconstruction from the perspective of having
"designed" a leaderless political organization...

On 04/23/2017 06:54 PM, Florian Cramer wrote:

> 1) The central demand of the 'March for Science', "evidence-based
> policies and regulations", is toxic and dangerous.

This approach has certainly been abused strategically in
the past, like declaring economics a kind of science. It's
interesting you mention Popper because in my understanding
of Popper I would define politics as the space of possible
choices of action remaining if you remove all the proven
false options.

Therefore, scientific politics to me means that politicians
have to come up with ways to stop us changing the climate,
because denying it is an idiotic non-option.

And it means to come up with a new economic system as the
current capitalist system is built on proven wrong assump-
tions.

Whenever I make this statement, the next question is.. but
who is to decide what is proven wrong?

> The people rule, but only if their demands have been
> sanctioned, respectively filtered, by scientists?

Exactly. Here I like to reference this beautiful sociological
term "intersubjectivity" and to talk about methods to measure
such condition.

As several others have written, the science community is in a
crisis. What is considered scientific evidence is the result
of an intersubjective process of consensus among scientists,
after applying as much objectivity as is applicable, and the
crisis IMHO resides in the fragility of the process of consensus,
given the many ways to finance attacks against it.

In our organization we are discussing the use of liquid democracy
as a means for asserting reasonable percentages of consensus on
scientific or political issues.

We are formalizing intersubjectivity as a method.
I like to think this could be extended to the science
community and the politically interested public.

> 2) The concept of "evidence-based science" is currently used as a
> weapon against humanities, cultural studies and qualitative social
> science.

Which to me feels quite absurd, given that the philosophical
notions that we needed to understand to transcend the power
of gossip and fake news, comes from the precious work of
sociology. Without it, we wouldn't have democracy. Without
it, we wouldn't have a science community to start with.

> 3) Just as opposition against Trump creates false solidarity
> with neoliberals,

Er, yes, that hurts indeed. Considering that neoliberalism
is anti-scientific bullshit as can be.

> Coincidentally, Popper's
> philosophy provided the point of departure for both, scientific
> neo-positivism and political-economic neo-liberalism.

Possibly, but according to my understanding of Popper, isn't it
overdue to trash both approaches as fallacious?

On 24 April 2017 at 06:25, Prem Chandavarkar <prem.cnt {AT} gmail.com> wrote:
> One cannot deny objectivism totally.

Maybe it's fun and easy to be radical-thinking. But we live in times
when radically simplifying thinkers are elected into presidencies.
We won't win by playing on the same level. Changing some rules in
the gamebook, like using more liquid democracy, could be helpful.

> But if it seeks to extend that to all truth being only objective
> knowledge, then it is problematic. The question is how we can
> construct and sustain the middle ground.

To me this sounds like essentially asking for a way to assert
intersubjective consensus, because I am sure that the middle
ground would be the result of such a process.

On 04/24/2017 11:34 PM, Frederic Janssens wrote:
> I would define scientism as the tendency to think that what is not
> enabled or predicted by the present scientific theories and concepts
> does not and cannot exist.

Yes, and it is roughly as accurate as the Sherlock Holmes principle:
if all alternate explanations can be excluded, the most unlikely
remaining one must be the truth. Sounds legit, but I know of no human
brain that can indeed exclude all the strangenesses of reality by
which Sherlock Holmes could never exist outside of fiction. The
mistake of scientism is reflected in Angela Merkel's "alternativlos".

Science provides some cornerstones, and even those cornerstones
need intersubjective consensus to be built upon, and politics should
remain within the immense space of possible options, acknowledging
that any attempt to declare one course of action as the only
scientifically correct one is equivalent to trying to impersonate
Sherlock Holmes, which is a bit like considering oneself Harry
Potter or Superman.

By the way, I don't think Merkel suffers from sherlockism. It was
just her way to sell somebody else's interests to the general public.
I consider important to identify and deconstruct sherlockist behaviour
as it may be yet another manipulatory instrument of special interest.

On 04/25/2017 11:34 AM, Eric Kluitenberg wrote:
> This call for the transformation of the scientific ethos and
> institutions is something I full-heartedly support and could imagine
> marching for: Let's make science political! Let's bring the sciences
> into the heart if democracy! Yes please!

Yes, that is the idea.

On 04/24/2017 09:18 PM, Lunenfeld, Peter B. wrote:

> I marched on Saturday, and I supported marching on Saturday.

Thank you.

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