Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Qualitative methods and the footsoldiers of science

A very sophomoric attitude to science is to take it as the source of ultimate truth, a modern God of sorts. It is all too often exemplified by research footsoldiers in natural sciences as well as by frequent readers of science blogs. A result of that is an egregious, irrational and deeply misguided belief that the complexity, messiness and overdetermination of reality can be reduced to and explained by two arbitrary variables. For example, for the purposes of  this particular piece on  GM crops, yield and profit - while ignoring everything else - public health, environment, food quality, larger-scale economical implications, etc. - as mere "external factors". 

Also, limiting the time scope for meta-analysis - understandably necessary to make it handy - ignores any long-term effects even within the chosen yield-profit scope. That's how we end up with grossly biased and reductionist conclusions dangled around by BSc graduates and their associates as "scientific facts". It is very unfortunate that the same "facts" are then used for policy development and administrative decision-making. All because some dimwits were not taught Qualitative Methods and can't see the forest behind the trees.

#TheBanalityOfEvil #TheRuleOfExperts #GoodForTheEconomyShitForThePeople

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