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If science is merely a methodology, then in the current era it has become the preferred method of minutiae and mediocrity.
Think about it. We now live among literally millions and millions of scientists, the large majority of whom practice, in the well-intended words of Ben Goldacre, good science (Goldacre 2008). They dutifully form their hypotheses, they dutifully conduct their experiments, and they dutifully record all their critical data. And when the harvesting time of publication comes around (and when the services of enough well-connected co-authors have been dutifully gathered), these good scientists patiently submit their findings to peer review and wait longingly for reply. In the thousands and thousands of unread journals now clogging our crowded shelves we might find the outpourings of these good scientistsí many tireless efforts—detailed insights into fatherless mice, dark halo density profiles, dysfunctional amygdalas, and the priming effects of macrophages. If good science is a blessing, then our cup truly runneth over.
But where, might I ask, is the brilliant science? Where might I find that scientist equivalent to a Newton, a Darwin, an Einstein—each of whom appeared to be far less concerned with following the prescribed recipes of good science than with turning good science upon its head? With millions and millions of good scientists now rubbing their shoulders against us, why is the brilliant science not more abundantly ripe for the picking, and why do we assume this dearth of brilliant science is in no way connected to the massive proliferation of good science?
I will say it again: if science is merely a methodology, then in the current era it has become the preferred method of minutiae and mediocrity.
Copyright © 2011 by Alan Griswold
All rights reserved.