Re: Patriarchy: Re: What Matriarchy?

Bryant (
12 Aug 1996 15:20:15 -0600

In article <4unnk9$>, Susan <> wrote:
> (Bryant) wrote:
>>In article <4ud459$>, Susan <> wrote:
>scientific worldview), the point which was made earlier is that the
>questions themselves are still posed in a cultural framework.

I certainly have no problem with that notion. My only rant was that the
cultural framework does not inevitably bias the content of the theory.

I think that one difficulty in discussions like this is that scientists
tend to view "science" as a method for learning about various measurable
things, and many social scientists and humanities folks and others view
"science" as a body of theories. Neither view is downright wrong, but they
lead to different conclusions about the role of science in society.

(Incidentally, few scientists indeed talk in terms of "proven" or not
proven. There are varying degrees of confidence in a hypothesis or
theory, depending in large part on how many different directions it's
been attacked from and 'survived.' You surrender the surity of religious
Truth at the lab door.

>that's the tricky thing about worldviews-- they always seem
>perfectly reasonable and unassailable to those who accept them. But to
>those who do not participate in them, it is not so obvious.

But most scientists recognize their assumptions (many disciplines, in
fact, require them to explicitely delineate novel assumptions in their
papers). That's why I offered a few of my assumptions and my
standards of evidence to Gale earlier, and felt so frustraited that he
refused to reciprocate. (Without a standard of evidence, my
science-trained brain tells me, how can we evaluate which perspective is
more useful?)

Scientific training (at least in the life sciences) involves learning to
recognize and be warey of your biases, cultural and personal.
And to know which questions cannot be addressed scientifically (e.g.,
moral questions).

>To say that science is obviously right because its conclusions are right
>makes as little sense as saying that myth is right because it answers
>important questions about why the work is the way it is.

Myth can offer insight into emotional experience and cultural outlook, of
course. But are myths as powerfully predictive as theories?

All I claimed was that *if* you accept that predictive value is
an indicator of how well a system of ideas approximates reality,
scienctific ideas better approximate reality than, for example, a literal
interpretation of Genesis.

>got a headache yet?)

:) Nope. 'Appreciate the patient clarifications, actually.

[Bryant said that anybody with an intro biology text knows about R.
Franklin's being excluded from the Nobel prize awarded to Francis & Crick.]
>Well, I can only reiterate that I have seen some (and one day I'll walk
>over to the bookstore and get the titles of the ones I was looking at)
>which do not raise it at all.

It may be that the profs in my dept. saw to it that texts used for
intro biology cover issues of sexism in academia. I dunno. We do, in my
opinion, have a better than average department. :)

>Franklin. Scientifically speaking, until someone does that (anyone want
>an interesting master's topic? your's for free!), we are both basing our
>opinions on anecdotal evidence-- the bane of experimental sciences!

:) Speculation can give rise to testable hypotheses, as you show. 'Also
clears cobwebs when done out loud, sometimes. Besides, life sciences are
less clearly "experimental" than chemistry or physics. The dominant
scientific paradigm around these parts (biology depts) is the
hypothetico-deductive method.