Thursday, October 25, 2007
If You Think Science is Bullshit, I Will Rip You To Shreds: Installment 1 (with more to come no doubt)
This morning I was linked to a graphic design blog, where this graphic design blogger was noting the overlap between science and graphic design, and the importance of recognizing that science does overlap into the humanities. A good call to arms.
Now, the thing that got me all self-righteous and heated up was a comment someone left on this posting. The comment is a perfect example of someone who gets the functioning and importance of science all wrong. Let's go bit by bit, to extract every ounce of misunderstanding from this nincompoop.
(WARNING: MEAN-SPIRITED WRITING ALERT)
"Why do designers need to apply their skills to this arena? What signals out science for preferential treatment? Why not politics, psychoanlysis, art? When did science become the mandate of all that is true and worthy?"
Why don't designers apply their skills to art? Really? Why don't designers (and here I believe the writer is using the word designers to mean in particular graphic designers), and apply their skills in visual communication toward a medium that is primarily visual communication? Why don't scientists apply their skills to science while we're at it. Brilliant observation.
"When did science become the mandate of all that is true and worthy?"
Um . . . because Science (capital S Science), as a mode of thinking, is the only system of knowing reality that works, BY DEFINITION. Maybe we could try having a world with politics but without science. Great idea. Maybe this chode works for the Bush administration.
Onward (and please note, the spelling mistakes here the author's):
"The DNA code of which you noted is an intersting discovery, but we should be wary of laying down our critical faculties in awe of such revelations. All knowledge is created within the sphere of social values and thus requires constant assesment of its intent and purpose. Immediately we can see that this information has dramatically shifted the perception we have of ourselves, our expectations and limitations. Our value is increasingly judged on this inherited set of bio-chemical data. In a scene reminiscent of the most horrific book burnings, our socio-historical narratives fade ever faster in the glorification of numerical order. We have been reduced to code. The ramifications on our social realm have yet to fully play out, but already we can see the discussion turn towards categorising, segregation, and elimination."
I agree that all knowledge is GAINED (not created) within a sphere of social values and therefore can fall into the ideologies of the society. But good Science, the only Science that deserves the title is the Science that stands the test of time.
"Our value is increasingly judged on this inherited set of bio-chemical data."
Wow. See now I'm starting to think this writer is just some junior high liberal. We're all numbers, man. It's like, we're just chemicals and there's no such thing as love. Strawberry fields. Nothing is real.
"We have been reduced to code."
I'll reduce you.
I have a real conflict with actually wanting to argue with this person. On one hand I feel some of these postulations are so ill-formed that they don't deserve comment, but on the other these are real thoughts and feelings. So, why is discovering DNA reducing us to code? It explains how life works, but where in there does that reduce us? You would maybe rather us not discover DNA and continue to think we are made of bile, blood, mucus, earth, wind, and fire?
"Indeed a much more profound insight on the decoding of the human genome is the fact that the information itself has been incarcerated in intellectual isolation. This information that builds our physicality has been stolen from us all and turned into a profit potential for a few. We have been infiltrated, examined, calculated and summarised in the good name of science and understanding only to be hoodwinked by the concerns of another. In short our beings have been propertised."
No one wants to buy your DNA. Sorry junior high liberal. Again though, yes, the decoding of the genome is a scary idea, in that can someone copyright your DNA? If anything malicious is done it's not Science doing it. It's people.
"How can designers work against such imposed immaturity? By taking part in the arena which determines all others, namely the political. Not the bounded ham acting of party politics, but the politics of relations between justice and truth-both private and public, local and global. We should therefore ask how and why science, creativity, and thinking in general, are being driven in such directions. What is the motivation? Who is it that is benefiting? Who amongst us is being forgotten, who has been lost? Who decides this is a price worth paying? Why do we accept so much and question so little? Why do we wish to find comfort rather than resistance? When did we lose our sense of the social, the common, and the shared, to become the docile, domestic, easy to manage statistical objects so beloved of commerce?"
Shut up. Go read Marx, listen to your Bob Marley and smoke a bowl.
"Why do we accept so much and question so little?"
What are those guys called in the white lab coats who question things for a living? Like, they spend all day long questioning things . . . and like, trying to find answers, and even once they've found answers they keep questioning those too? Fuck. I wish I could remember.
"These are some of the crucial concerns for us today, all of which demand the retrieval of our politicised identities, over and above the concerns of any scientific ones."
What is a scientific identity? Does he mean REALITY? As in, the proven fact that we are animals made of DNA and proteins?