Friday, June 22, 2012

There are two easy to address areas where I think you misunderstand me.
One is, I am not at all confused about the separation between the application of science and science itself.  That claim to separation is explicitly what I am addressing and questioning. I think that the very severing of application or ethics from science, and the idea of a pure science, is the very guise under which science gains it's authority. The idea of "science for science" sake is, I think, very related to the idea of "art for art's sake" -- a universal zone that transcends the realm of social power.  I believe that this very idea of purity and transcendence of science acts to veil the relationship of science to the power structure, and allows the power structure to legitimate itself through science and expertise.

I'm wondering if there could be a distinction made between scientific activity that is about a relationship of love for "creation" (like Rachel Carson, or Jeremy Jackson), a kind of egalitarian, participatory or non-hierarchical science; these are essentially dissidents expressing a sense of responsibility and involvement, emotion, subjectivity, value, respect, humility, etc. Spiritual values, if you will. Then there is scientific activity that is aimed at gaining new powers. Like genetics. 

In my view, those who investigate new means of power, even at the pure level before it is applied, are part of the process of providing more power to those who already hold power, military, commercial,and social;  and who will use whatever power is available to them for political purposes. Using science as being objective/technical/apolitical, the power structure then can make political decisions but claim that they are scientific and technical decisions.  So I don't think pure science is autonomous. The applied science of today is the pure science of yesterday. The ethical problems raised by the exercise of new powers could be seen as having been there all along, unacknowledged, as the groundwork for new power-concentrating technologies was being laid.  

I think artists and scientists are actually alot alike, in their supposed autonomy.

The other thing I wanted to note is that I do have strong emotions about psychiatric drugs, but I too had my life saved in a hospital by the medical system when I almost died of spinal meningitis.

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