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The Tyranny of Science – Feyerabend

Paul Feyerabend’s latest book has finally been published in English. The Tyranny of Science, Polity Press (2011) although it was written in 1993. The Tyranny of Science

“In this wide–ranging and accessible book Feyerabend challenges some modern myths about science, including the myth that ‘science is successful’. He argues that some very basic assumptions about science are simply false and that substantial parts of scientific ideology were created on the basis of superficial generalizations that led to absurd misconceptions about the nature of human life. Far from solving the pressing problems of our age, such as war and poverty, scientific theorizing glorifies ephemeral generalities, at the cost of confronting the real particulars that make life meaningful. Objectivity and generality are based on abstraction, and as such, they come at a high price. For abstraction drives a wedge between our thoughts and our experience, resulting in the degeneration of both. Theoreticians, as opposed to practitioners, tend to impose a tyranny on the concepts they use, abstracting away from the subjective experience that makes life meaningful. Feyerabend concludes by arguing that practical experience is a better guide to reality than any theory, by itself, ever could be, and he stresses that there is no tyranny that cannot be resisted, even if it is exerted with the best possible intentions.

Provocative and iconoclastic, The Tyranny of Science is one of Feyerabend’s last books and one of his best. It will be widely read by everyone interested in the role that science has played, and continues to play, in the shaping of the modern world.”

Feyerabend’s approach causes problems for methodoligcal naturalism as well as for ID. His approach in ‘Against Method…’ is really a challenge to the insistence that science must follow the rules of methodological naturalism because for him in science there are no firmly established rules. He believed non-scientific world views can be as valid as scientific ones, and should have a place in the school classroom. But Feyerabend’s approach can lead to relativism and an unhealthy pluralism that will undermine science. There is though a place for pluralism in science if ground in truth and a belief in order. Ironically Michael Ruse’s rules for methodological naturalism that involve truth and order are better grounded in an intelligent design paradigm, but not in atheism which can ground nothing properly.

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5 Responses to The Tyranny of Science – Feyerabend

  1. Thanks for alert to this book, Steno. Another one to add to the list!

  2. This is a amazing little video, about a book, which, in its own way, is related to the topic;

    Dr. Janis Amatuzio author of FOREVER OURS
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KtnywJHLrLY

  3. Far from solving the pressing problems of our age, such as war and poverty …

    but then no other institutions have solved these either. Is Science supposed to have ‘solved the pressing problems of our age’ ?

    I think Science does what it does pretty well (we rely on it every day). If we get sick we call on Science. Do you have a suggestion for a better way ?

  4. This is a very interesting article, outlining the struggle between worldviews over understanding the very beginning of the universe.

    The Inflation Debate: Scientific American
    http://www.scientificamerican......ion-summer

  5. Steno ~ But Feyerabend’s approach can lead to relativism and an unhealthy pluralism that will undermine science.

    Couldn’t be more wrong. Can’t blame you too much for it, since this folly was created by Aristotle, and is still often repeated mindlessly by many theologians.

    If you follow Plato, who got this mostly correct, the two ancient relativisms are as follows.

    Protagoras’s relativity of private appearances, which says that what’s hot for me might be just right for you.

    Heraclitus’s scientific relativity of objects and events. It says that the red apple used to be green and will become rotten over time. Also that the red apple is yellow in the back, when it is seen in a different respect.

    Both of these are irrefutable! Then how do you figure that scientific pluralism that looks at different aspects of the world through (relatively) varying theories and methodologies is unhealthy or undermining? HELLO!!!

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