from the green-skinned-dancing-metaphors dept.
Alva Noë has an interesting piece on NPR about how some scientists, and cultural defenders of science, like to think of themselves as free of prejudice and superstition, as moved by reason alone and a clear-eyed commitment to fact and the scientific method. "I'm pro-science, but I'm against what I'll call "Spock-ism," after the character from the TV show Star Trek," writes Noë. "I reject the idea that science is logical, purely rational, that it is detached and value-free, and that it is, for all these reasons, morally superior."
According to Noë, a Professor of Philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley, Spockians give science a bad name because if you think of science as being in the business of figuring out how atoms spinning noiselessly in the void give rise to the illusion that there are such things as love, humor, sunsets and knuckleballs, then it isn't surprising that people might come to think that the inner life of a scientist would be barren. "The big challenge for atheism is not God; it is that of providing an alternative to Spock-ism. We need an account of our place in the world that leaves room for value. What we need, then, is a Kirkian understanding of science and its place in our lives. The world, for Captain Kirk and his ontological followers, is a field of play, and science is a form of action."