Re: Culture of Science?

Joel and Lynn Gazis-Sax (
Wed, 14 Aug 1996 13:28:54 -0800

This is my last cross-posting to alt.pagan. If you wish to follow this
and other threads stemming from the Patriarchy business, come over to

Bunny and/or Roy wrote:
> Joel and Lynn Gazis-Sax ( wrote:
> : Nice observation, Bill. I think a study of the Culture of Science could
> : be very interesting and lead us to some new understandings of what it
> : means to be human. Perhaps one reason why scientists find the so-called
> : "Territorial Imperative" so compelling is that it resembles their
> : culture very closely.
> : From where did this culture spring? Here are a few of my hypotheses:
> : * Class. Do Scientists come overwhelming from the Upper Middle and Upper
> : Classes? Again, this could explain many of the mythological baggage which
> : many scientists bear about the natures of their own intellects. Rather than
> : considering the superior value of the education and family upbringing they
> : had, they look hopefully to their own genes.
> : * Protestantism. (Yep, I'll blame this bugaboo just for the sake of
> : theoretical completeness!) I don't give Protestantism the credit for
> : the Scientific Method, only for the the emotional baggage and superiority
> : complex that afflicts a fair number of scientists, at least the vocal
> : ones. Genetic explanations of intelligence sound a lot like good
> : old Calvinist predestination if you think about it.
> Your comments remind me of Max Weber's hypotheses about the growing
> rationalism of Protestant-influenced western society. Weber was a
> late 19th century sociologist who was (and in some ways still is)
> enormously influential in the development of modern ideas about social
> science and scientific methodology. He believed that the Reformation
> was essential to the development of modern democratic society, because
> of what he saw as the greater rationality of the Protestant ethic. He
> saw capitalism and the physicalistic approach to science as logical
> extensions of Protestant thought.

I'm a little leary of Weber, myself, Bunny. It was, in fact, Weber's
theorum which I had in mind. You should note that the way his idea
works is that at some distant point, Protestantism emerged among
/some/ of the inhabitants of Europe. At first, you could detect the
ideological boundaries quite clearly. But over time many of the
ideas such as the value of hard work "seeped out" into the greater
society. Today, therefore, you cannot tell Protestants from Catholics
on the basis of the ethic.

How true is this? I am not sure. That is why I set it up as a hypotheses
and did not claim it as fact. Again, let me ask: what else could we

> Roy
> --
> "Papa Hegel he say that all we learn from history is that we learn nothing
> from history. *I* know people who can't even learn from what happened this
> morning. Hegel must have been taking the long view."
> (John Brunner, "Stand on Zanzibar")

___ ___
/\ _|_ /\ Joel and Lynn GAzis-SAx
/ /\_|_/\ \
/ / /\|/\ \ \
\ \ \/|\/ / / "If we try to flee from our human condition into
\ \/_|_\/ / the computer, we only meet ourselves there."
\/__|__\/ William Barrett