Philosophical Multicore

Sometimes controversial, sometimes fallacious, sometimes thought-provoking, and always fun.

Scientific Objectivity

Posted by Michael Dickens on October 16, 2009

If science is truly objective, then is it possible for science to support a Nationalist perspective?

This was a discussion question in my history textbook. It’s interesting, and so I will be responding to it here.

Scientific objectivity does not mean that science cannot take a position. Actually, science takes positions all the time. Science is pro-gravity, pro-evolution, pro-Standard Model, pro-global warming, con-numerology, con-homeopathy. These are all objective scientific positions. An objective assessment is an unbiased assessment based on facts and logical conclusions. So if the facts lead to a certain conclusion, then that conclusion is objective. Therefore, if facts and observations support the Nationalist perspective, then the Nationalist perspective is objectively correct.

What is the Nationalist perspective? Nationalism is a sense of national consciousness exalting one nation above all others and placing primary emphasis on promotion of its culture and interests as opposed to those of other nations or supranational groups. This perspective does not seem to have objective support. After all, national divisions are arbitrary.

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2 Responses to “Scientific Objectivity”

  1. phynnboi said

    It’s a trick question, whether or not it was intended as such. The question isn’t whether one can scientifically support nationalism, but whether there’s data to support anything else! Has there ever been a time of non-trivial length in the whole of human history where we’ve seen ourselves as one people? where we’ve cooperated selflessly and globally? where we’ve not immediately sought to form cliques, tribes, or nations which we “know” are “better than” other cliques, tribes, or nations? I doubt it’s in our biology to do otherwise. Maybe if we were all clones of each other, like a colony of ants. Although even then, I have my doubts. I’m not sure anyone gets along with themselves 100% of the time. Have you never fought with yourself over some bad habit? Have you never deceived yourself to get more pleasure? “Just five more minutes of WoW, then I’ll go to bed.” Uh huh. 😉

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