On Academia and Science

I am growing more and more disillusioned with academia and science. When I was a kid I was in awe of it–all the stuff that the Magic School Bus and Bill Nye the Science Guy told me it could do made me want to be a scientist (a zoologist to be specific). And I kept that dream well into high school. But university has changed all that. Don’t get me wrong–I still greatly respect leading scientists such as Stephen Hawking–the stuff they can discover, and have discovered; the undeniable intelligence they possess is worthy of respect and recognition. But as I’ve grown older, as I’ve entered and studied at university, I’ve grown dubious of the potential of a system that is based on a seeming denial of human nature. The scientific method (which both academics and scientists use) seems to prize objectivity above all. Both are supposed to trust in the evidence above all, and construct arguments based only on the available evidence. Verification comes from the majority agreeing with their conclusions. And this I find disconcerting for two reasons. The first, and lesser reason, is that one must always be dubious of a system that relies on the approval of the majority. But I concede that sometimes a system that relies on the approval of the majority is the lesser of two evils given human nature and thus I’m willing to give the scientific method that license. The second, greater and more pressing reason, is whether human beings can really be trusted to look at the evidence objectively, to keep an open mind about the possible conclusions. And this, I fear, is all too rare in modern science. I think that scientists and academics both have largely lost this ability–or perhaps this ability is what distinguishes a great scientist or academic from an ordinary one. After all, the ideas Galileo, Issac Newton, Albert Einstein, and Stephen Hawking have entered into scientific discourse were supported by the evidence–but more than that they required the ability to be open to all possible conclusions, to think through all the possibilities even the strange and seemingly impossible. This, I think, is what we need more of in the modern era if we are to truly progress beyond the petty struggles between humankind on the large and small scale going on currently. I can only pray that this comes before it is too late.

Published by Devin Hogg

My name is Devin Hogg. I was born and raised in Carnarvon, Ontario, Canada. I moved to Guelph, Ontario, Canada in 2009 for university and lived here ever since. In my free time, I enjoy reading, watching TV and movies, going on long walks, swimming, and practicing Chen style Tai Chi. I love to write poetry and blog regularly about topics such as mental health, sci-fi/fantasy series, faith, sexuality, and politics.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: