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How has science been informed by culture (including racist beliefs) and, in turn, how has science fueled..?
How has science been informed by culture (including racist beliefs) and, in turn, how has science fueled racism?
- OPMLv 79 years agoFavorite Answer
Science has its own culture and each branch of science has its own culture. The nice thing about science is that it is international. It does not belong to nations or races. Culture informs science in its unspoken assumptions. If you were an English scientist in 1801 the Christian God and indeed the Anglican Christian God (although allowances might be made for Presbyterians and Methodists) defined the underlying assumptions of the world.
The brilliance of science is that it tests the consequences of those beliefs upon models. If you presume God created x species at the beginning, with y remaining species, where y<x then you have a very testable model. A single act of creation implies that y should get gradually smaller with positive probability until only humans and maybe one plant were left with no bacteria. We would be left because God said so.
Science absorbs the background assumptions of the culture until such time it can throw them off through empirical testing.
The reverse is true as well. Culture absorbs science, but without the precision of thought nor the rigor of mathematical models. This is where a fundamental science principal enters in. Samuelson proved in 1948 that public goods must be under provisioned in a market place. Since knowledge is a public good (as would be truth) since you can neither use it up nor prevent others from using it (ignoring criminal acts) it must be under provisioned. As such, in the marketplace of ideas, lies sell.
The late Carl Sagan commented in his book, "The Demon Haunted World," about how little people knew about science and yet they not only believed they knew a lot about science what they professed to know is known to be false.
Racism is culture specific. I have applied for jobs in several nations. It was then I realized how culture specific race is as an idea. I, as an American, had always considered my race "white" or "Caucasian." I did not realize other countries broke "white" out into many different races. I had also thought of "Black" as a race, but realized that "Black" like "White" has many possible partitions. I had to work out what kind of "white," I was. It was more difficult than you would imagine because I lacked the cultural framework to know what the definitions meant. I could read, but I had never tied them together that way before.
Beliefs are by their very nature, uninformed by knowledge. I know gravity exists. I do not believe in gravity any more than I believe in evolution. Where you have racism you must lack knowledge and so therefore lack science as well. What you have are the memories of the parts of science that you have heard that fit what you needed to hear and ignore as ignorant the parts that oppose your beliefs.
Beliefs are powerful! There is no evidence they are connected to reality and no requirement that they are ever connected to reality.
- DiogenesLv 79 years ago
I have no idea what you mean by science being 'informed' by culture. I think it's the other way round, with science informing civilization about the true nature of reality. As a former scientist, I can certainly attest that scientific professionals are generally not racists and racism is absolutely not tolerated in any working laboratory I've ever heard of. (At least, not since the Nazis...)
- 9 years ago
One of the more beautiful things about science is its plasticity. New or better data produce new and better results. This said, however, science is of course a project in a particular cultural context. "Pure" science divorced from a cultural context does not exist.
- ChrisHMLv 59 years ago
According to Hitler, he thought the jews were lesser developed than his race and he wanted to exterminate them, He believed in evolution and the survival of the fittest.
Popular belief is that we live on a third world planet stuck off in the corner of the galaxy, We have no special purpose, This has led to people trying to get all they can get at the expense of other people.
The truth to both of these problems is that God put us here and he loves us. There is a purpose to life.
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- Anonymous9 years ago
I don't think it has. In fact, I think it has tried to smoothe it over several times. There's no difference in a persons value based on skin color, just the amount of skin pigmentation.
Religion fueled racism because people started with the impresion that the paler the skin, the purer the person, and that God hated people of other races because their skin was usually darker.
- neil sLv 79 years ago
No form of bigotry is backed by any science, nor has it ever been. Some scientists may have been bigots, but they have never successfully demonstrated their case with science.
- ?Lv 79 years ago
It's more that modern science, especially genetics and evolutionary theory, show that racism is silly.
- ?Lv 59 years ago
It was the religious people who made racism and sexism