Re: Patriarchy: Re: What Matriarchy?

Bryant (
9 Aug 1996 11:42:01 -0600

In article <Pine.SUN.3.92.960808083158.6240B-100000@Ra.MsState.Edu>,
Marty G. Price <mprice@Ra.MsState.Edu> wrote:
>From your earlier example --- "scientists eliminated smallpox." Correct.
>Part two --- Scientists (as you term them; we won't get into specific
>specialties here), flush with success, imagined they could likewise
>eliminate malaria (not realizing that certain differences in the
>circumstances, causal agents, etc., made that a far different task). They
>failed miserably

1. They saved millions and millions of lives while the program was active
(in the early 1960s).

2. After the U.S. Congress cut funding for the project, it indeed failed,
with infection rates jumping six fold in a decade.

3. Two non-political factors which contributed to the relative "lack" of
success of the effort to eliminate malaria were (a) the fact that malaria
is a vectored disease (it's difficult to quaranteen mosquitos) and (b)
the strong directional selection toward DDT and other insecticide resistance.
As pointed out by scientists. Another scientist, who authored Silent
Spring, pointed out some of the ecological costs of using DDT and other
insecticides in the war against malaria.

4. You are, once again, using the gradualistic nature of scientific
advancement in an attempt to discredit the methodology of science. This
approach is not a logical one.

>The moral: it is *important* for scientists to know the presuppositions of
>& implications of their actions.

Indeed. This adds absolutely nothing, however, to your assertion that
scientific theories inevitably contain social bias.

>(Second point, I am becoming troubled with your use of the term
>"scientists." It is as though you imagine a sharply delineated segment of
>the population which is immersed in the esoterica of "science," with other
>humans as the "ignorant outsiders." The sciences are occupational fields,
>not a monolithic cult.)

1. I certainly never intended to convey the notion of a sharp
delineation. Plenty of scientists use logic and hypethetico-deductive
science selectively, and plenty of non-scientists use logic and a
critical demand for evidence in their every day lives.

2. I do believe that scientific approximations of reality are more useful
(e.g., in curing disease) than postmodernists' and some feminists'
"deconstruction" approach to describing reality. A virus really doesn't
give a damn what one thinks it's real motives are.

3. I am relieved to hear you admit that science is not a "cult."