yeah, im speaking more of the “scientific method” and I completely recognize(d) that the statement of mine shouldnt be taken absolutely in every single aspect of the broad spectrum of science.
my comment is largely influenced by some of the things I first read by Carl Sagan (A Demon Haunted World) and Richard Dawkins (either The God Delusion or Unweaving the Rainbow; maybe both) and just things I have noticed in “general” about science.
the catalyst that got me to make the comment was a couple of passages from Edward O. Wilson’s, The Creation; An Appeal to Save Life on Earth:
“Every person deserves the option to travel easily in and out of the complex and primal world that gives us birth. We need freedom to roam across land owned by no one but protected by all.”
“The power of science comes not from scientists but from its method. The power, and the beauty too, of the scientific method is its simplicity. It can be understood by anyone, and practiced with a modest amount of training. Its stature arises from its cumulative nature. It is the product of hundreds of thousands of specialists united by the one binding commonality of the scientific method…. Science has become the most democratic of all human endeavors.”
“The information from citizen scientists is needed, now more than ever, and it has permanent value. The data will not be treated as redundant or merely confirmatory to knowledge already aquired. There are just too many organisms and too few professional scientists to study them for anything approaching saturation.”
You know I REALLY respect your opinion, but I think your comment about Anarchism and de-centralized authority was too much conjecture. And, you admitted that by saying youre not an authority. One of the hard things about Anarchism was an acceptable definition. In the introduction to Daniel Guerin’s book, Anarchism; From Theory to Practice, Noam Chomsky begins by saying:
“A French writer, sympathetic to anarchism, wrote in the 1890s that ‘anarchism has a broad back, like paper it endures anything’—including, he noted those whose acts are such that ‘a mortal enemy of anarchism could not have done better.’ There have been many styles of thought and action that have been referred to as ‘anarchist.’”
My intentions for this thread was not to discuss Anarchism, so I wont go into a largely detailed post on it (I suggest reading up on the classics by folks like Kropotkin, Bakunin, Proudhon, Goldman, Berkman, Malatesta, Bookchin, Chomsky, Guerin, etc), and I concede that an Anarchist society has not yet existed in a modern industrialized society to the point where it can address these issues. However, I do think it is something that can be easily dealt with and managed cooperatively.
To me, Anarchism is not necessarily about dissolving the state or ANY form of centralized government in its entirety. The most important feature - IMHO - is the ability of the general public to participate in the management of their own affairs on a local, regional, national and global level (what I would say is the ultimate concept of democracy) either directly or through some form of controlled and mandated representative(s); and in the forums of political, social and economic. To do so would definitely infringe on the powers of states and centralized authority, but I wouldnt say it means doing away with it completely.
Anyway, I would also stress that democracy is not about voting (people voted under Saddam Hussein but I wouldnt say Iraq was a democracy), so the comment about not voting on results is pretty much meaningless and/or moot. What im referring to is the method, functionality and structure of Science. There is no particular leader, party, ideology or dogma within Science. What is accepted today could change tomorrow, and in an admirably legitimate process. This experiment with the search for empirical truths that explain the natural world - and its myriad of branches - is something that soceity as a whole can learn from and benefit by applying to itself. I think Science would benefit more greatly by more democratized societies than the other way around.
NecAsperaTerrent brought up the great point of stem cell research. Perhaps recognizing the democratic features of how Science operates could in the future lead to resolving how these issues are addressed; democratizing not just the method, but the issues and topics Science investigates, researches, explores, etc.
What are the benefits and costs to such a concept?
What other issues can be addressed; how better to tweak the functions of Science to be more effective while ensuring accountability to the public?