Sunday, March 6, 2016

Liberal Bias, etc.

 This piece by Michael Shermer was posted on Facebook by a friend, and made me think.

I think one problem is that, for the entire history of humankind, the default approach to thought, expression and behavior has been fundamentally conservative. Not only our language - all language - but our sense of self is grounded in "value", which is normative and, therefore, conservative. The liberal enterprise is, in a sense, a struggle against this orientation, and has not been able to find an appropriate alternative mode for expression and self-orientation. It's like being stuck in a body of the wrong gender. The poor postmodernists have tried to struggle with this dilemma, and the results are before us. The tragic thing, though, is that, in fact, this same mindset that seems to be so fundamentally at odds with human nature is much more conducive to innovation, scientific investigation and creativity. It is not coincidental that a liberal outlook and scientific progress have occurred concurrently over recent centuries. And the fact that the vast majority of scientists are liberal isn't something that anyone can reverse. It is the result of a self-selection process amplified of necessity by positive feedback through many channels.

I think the jury is still out on whether this experiment - which has been ongoing in a small way for thousands of years or more, but has only picked up steam in the last few hundred - can, in fact, lead to the necessary transition in the mode of "being human", or if the imperatives that got us through millions of years of evolution will reassert themselves and the liberal efflorescence will be seen just as a brief period of madness where some humans thought they could overcome "the natural order" If that comes to pass, I'm sure the scientists will be killed before the lawyers....


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. What is your explanation of Soviet era (and Tzarist era) science? Do you consider these as anomalies or examples where constraints in some domains do not affect inquiry in other domains?

    Also, I believe you are claiming observation of constant conjunction (at best) not experiments.