By Lee C. McIntyre
Throughout the darkish a long time, the development of Western civilization almost stopped. the data won by way of the students of the classical age was once misplaced; for approximately six hundred years, lifestyles was once ruled by way of superstitions and fears fueled by means of lack of knowledge. during this outspoken and forthright ebook, Lee McIntyre argues that this day we're in a new darkish Age--that we're as unaware of the explanations of human habit as humans centuries in the past have been of the factors of such ordinary phenomena as disorder, famine, and eclipses. we're no additional alongside in our realizing of what reasons struggle, crime, and poverty--and the best way to finish them--than our ancestors. we want, McIntyre says, one other medical revolution; we want the braveness to use a extra rigorous method to human habit, to head the place the empirical proof leads us--even if it threatens our loved non secular or political opinions approximately human autonomy, race, category, and gender.Resistance to wisdom has constantly arisen opposed to medical enhance. brand new academics--economists, psychologists, philosophers, and others in the social sciences--stand within the means of a technological know-how of human habit simply as clerics tried to dam the Copernican revolution within the 1600s. a systematic method of social technological know-how may try out hypotheses opposed to the proof instead of locate and use proof in simple terms to verify a selected conception, as is frequently the perform in trendy social sciences. Drawing classes from Galileo's clash with the Catholic church and present debates over the educating of "creation science," McIntyre argues that what we'd like such a lot to set up a technological know-how of human habit is the medical attitude--the willingness to listen to what the proof tells us no matter if it clashes with spiritual or political pieties--and the unravel to use our findings to the production of a higher society.
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Extra info for Dark Ages: The Case for a Science of Human Behavior (A Bradford Book)
That is, the very same factors listed above—complexity, openness, lack of controlled experiments, and subjectivity—that allegedly militate against a science of human behavior, if they were decisive would also show that we probably could not have a science of nature either. For in natural science as in social science, we suffer from many of the same problems. Thus, what is revealed is the fact that by and large, the criticisms of the prospects for a science of human behavior are based on a naive and overly idealized view of the barriers facing the study of nature.
Although it may seem intuitively plausible to us that the number of possible influences governing our behavior is potentially infinite, what evidence do we have that this is really true? How do we know that the number of influences is not just incredibly large, in which case the real objection is one about complexity? But even assuming that the number of potential influences over human action is infinite, what leads us to believe that scientific inquiry is therefore impossible? While it is true that the classical conception of science is Newtonian—where we study a closed system with a finite, and rather small, number of possible variables—contemporary science has provided numerous examples whereby science has made progress in studying open systems.
It is that science simplifies the subject matter under investigation by revealing the basic causal connections that are at work. Indeed, one problem with the argument from complexity is that it encourages us to underestimate the stunning complexity faced by natural scientific inquiry every day. Moreover, it correspondingly tempts us to overlook the very foundation for the success of science. The hallmark of science is its flexibility in developing new theories and descriptions of familiar phenomena so that we may understand the causal factors that are at work behind them.