Friday, 31 August 2012

Peer review makes modern science relativist, but not subjective

*

It is an interesting puzzle to follow through how 'modern science' (in contrast with the almost extinct real science) manages to pull off the trick of being relativist - fundamentally manipulable by politics, the media and business - and yet to the people working in it (who pretend to be scientists) the whole thing seems objective.

The actual content of modern science is therefore no more truthful, no more linked to reality, than the world of marketing (of which it is indeed an offshoot).

*

Modern science is not even trying to seek or speak the truth; its participants are docile careerist drudges - yet to the people involved, the fact that they cannot directly express their own personal wishes and opinions creates an illusion that therefore the outputs of science are objectively valid.

The mechanism by which this is achieved is peer review - this places a committee between the individual and his decision. Pretty much all decisions in science are now underwritten by a committee of 'experts'.

The 'expertise' of these experts is itself underwritten by committees of experts - and expertise is created by adherence to expert-validated educational, training and experiential certification.

Peer review is a closed-loop in which personal integrity and the desire to understand the world has no place - indeed these are excluded, since they conflict with the bottom line of committee decision-making.

*

Thus science has gone from being a web of individuals to a web of committees; while individuals may have integrity, committees cannot have integrity; while individuals may be honest and motivated by the wish to understand reality - committees are not.

But committees do create an illusion of objectivity; consensus feels-like discovery, until science no longer makes discoveries but announces the attainment of consensus.

It is very difficult indeed to understand reality in a useful way (science); it is much, much less difficult, but still surprisingly difficult, to manufacture and hold consensus.

But the constraints on consensus are essentially psychological, in other words subjective and therefore relativist.

*

The distance between individual subjectivity and the output of committees is the distance which convinces the modern scientist that what he is doing is not 'merely' subjective - however, in fact, it is relativistic and open-ended in its relation to reality.

Indeed, it denies reality by underpinning the concept with peer review.

*

Cut-off from himself by peer review, hence alienated; cut-off from reality by peer review, hence futile; cut-off from God by nihilistic denial of reality (relativism); the modern scientist is left with nothing more than the daily distractions of careerism and hedonism.


*