Monthly Archives: August 2015

When science goes wrong

I love science perhaps above and beyond all else yet I refuse to take a blind acceptance approach to science. When science gets something right then that is among the most important things we have, yet so often science gets things wrong. Here is a fantastic example. This is taken from an article by Emilie Bovet (from the book Philosophical Issues in Psychiatry III: the nature and source of historical change). She is discussing epigenetic research on violent behaviour and how some researchers combine evolutionary models and animals models (i.e. understanding how what evolutionary factors shaped psychology of modern animals) and sometimes draw parallels with humans. She points out just how far some researchers have taken this when she said “an internationally famous researcher in behavioral genetics claimed [at a conference] that beards in human males were related to the lion’s mane, which could explain a lot of similarities in way they both act” (Bovet 2015). She uses this as a good example of how specific methodologies (emphasis on evolution and animals) drives theoretical hypothesis and she provides some much more relevant alternative methodological approaches which would result in much better theoretical hypothesis. Anyway, I quote Bovet simply because she gives a clear example of when blind acceptance of scientific researchers is clearly unwarranted!