Tom Ruffles from the Society for Psychical Research has published a review of Why Science is Wrong… About Almost everything. First off, glad Tom reviewed it… look forward to the dialog it might generate. One point from the review I wanted to respond to has to do with the book’s title. There was no comment section after the review so I have done it here.
Tom and others (like my friend and forward-writer Dr. Rupert Sheldrake) have misinterpreted the book’s title (Why Science is Wrong… About Almost Everything). Yes, it’s provocative, but it’s also intended to draw attention to the absurdity of the generally accepted counter proposition… i.e. science is right… about almost everything. This counter proposition is absurd for a couple of reasons.
1. Science is a method not a position statement, so it can’t be right or wrong in the way the title suggests… yet, the title riles folks who feel a need to defend science. My hope was to highlight the disconnect between how we relate/orient ourselves to science and what we can/should expect from science.
2. “Science” means very different things to those practicing science. Sit a social scientist down with a astrophysicists and ask them to hammer out a definition of science… yikes! On the other hand, this is a battles that rages on with all those seeking to be “more scientific than those guys in that other department.” This makes science-right/science-wrong, messy/impossible/absurd.
So, the title is meant to provoke, but in a different way than Tom and Rupert have suggested.
But, let’s say one was willing to put all that aside and take on the job of deciding whether science is right or wrong. We’d first have to establish some kind of weighted scoring system. One one side of the scale we could put all the things science is right about. On the other we might put all the things science-as-we-know-it is wrong about. Let me start:
Science is wrong about who you are… about the nature of that little voice inside your head that you recognize as being YOU. It’s wrong about it’s origins. It’s wrong about its end/death. It’s wrong about what’s necessary and sufficient to create it, measure it, or understand it in any meaningful way.
That’s what’s on my side of the scale… and I think it outweighs anything you could possibly put on the other side.