Science, Dullness and Truth: A Rejoinder
Volchan, Sérgio B.
Medical Hypotheses 2010 March; 74(3): 406-412
In a recent series of polemical editorials in this journal, a scathing and much needed criticism is made of many aspects of current scientific mores, detecting some worrying dysfunctions which threaten the integrity of the whole scientific enterprise. Although the tone is a bit hyperbolic, many important issues are addressed, such as honesty in research, the centrality of truth in science, the role of creativity, just to cite a few. Though agreeing with the overall diagnosis, the discussion still suffers from a lack of a clear and systemic view of science, from which a more precise analysis could be carried out. The presentation is also predicated on a too strong adherence to some popular notions of scientific progress and a somewhat romantic notion of genius. In this paper we address these shortcomings with the aim of contributing to a better understanding of this timely discussion. Though conceding that major structural, historical and cultural shifts might have caused irreversible changes on the way science now evolves, we make some suggestions to counter this trend. These include, among others, the need for an honest and careful dealing with the media and public, to prize and abide by the ethos of science and its underlying values, to cultivate an exact philosophy and to insist that disinterested curiosity and the desire to understand the world are the vital motivations of science.
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