Friday, September 28, 2012

Deresiewicz on "Scientism"

Deresiewicz laments the notion that "science is the only valid form of knowledge".
[editors] want numbers; studies, sociology. Aristotle, Montaigne, and Emerson are not valid authorities on the topic, say, of friendship, but a study of 50 college students is enough to convince an editor of anything.
There definitely is something that rings true in his argument.

However, I find the example of equating experience and data as equally valid means to arrive at the conclusion "city life is stressful" somewhat problematic.

For example, many people feel that violent crime has increased, while "scientific" data seem to show otherwise (see this TED talk by Steve Pinker on his book on the topic).

When experience and data diverge, data - trust the data!

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