Saturday, February 06, 2010

Say it ain't so, PZ

That railing rascal of rationality PZ Myers has a post in which he gives his endorsement of some real woo. The woo in question is from writer Kim Stanley Robinson speaking at Duke:
science is a Utopian project; it began as a Utopian project and it has remained so ever since, an attempt to make a better world. And this is not always the view taken of science because its origins and its life have been so completely wrapped up with capitalism itself. They began together. You could consider them to be some kind of conjoined twins, Siamese twins that hate each other, Hindu gods that are permanently at odds, or even just a DNA strand wrapped around each other forever: some kind of completely imbricated and implicated co-leadership of the world, cultural dominance--so that science is not capitalism's research and development division, or enabler, but a counterforce within it. And so despite the fact that as Galileo says that science was born with a gun to its head, and has always been under orders to facilitate the rise and expansion of capital, the two of them in their increasing power together are what you might call semi-autonomous, and science has been the Utopian thrust to alleviate suffering and make a better world.
There is so much new-age aroma and sophomoric politics emanating from this meaningless word-soup that I imagine PZ reading it while rearranging his energy crystals in a pleasing pattern resembling Che Guevara's beard.

Science, it seems rather obvious, arose from human curiosity--an itch that had to be scratch. And itch-scratching is selfish, not utopian.

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