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Thursday
May222014

What is to be done? Let's start with why ... a fragment

From still another thing I'm working on that is distracting me from my main job--writing blog entries:

You asked me to describe what I want to do.  I think I’m more likely to convey that if I start with an account of why.

Two things concern me.  The first is the failure of professions that exist to enlarge, disseminate, and exploit the insights of valid empirical inquiry to use those methods to improve their own proficiency in enlarging, disseminating, and exploiting scientific knowledge.  Call this the “meta-empiricism spectacle” (MS).

Call the second problem “Popper’s revenge” (PR). Cultural pluralism makes liberal democratic societies uniquely congenial to the advancement of scientific inquiry; at the same time, however, it multiplies the occasions for polarizing forms of status conflict between the cultural groups within which diverse citizens necessarily come to know what’s known.  This dynamic puts at risk citizens’ enjoyment of both the promise of tolerance and the enormity of knowledge that are the hallmarks of liberal democratic societies.

MS and PR interact.  As a result of their failure to apply empirical methods to themselves, the professions that traffic in empirical knowledge—from conservation advocacy groups to government regulatory agencies, from science journalists to public health professionals, from educators to judges—fail to negotiate the forms of illiberal status competition that impede public recognition of what’s known to science.

I want to help address these problems....

But in any case, you now have a sense of why; so here is what I want to do.

I am intent on stimulating and being a party to the creation of as many projects as possible aimed at creating “evidence-based practices” within the professions most responsible for assuring reliable recognition of what science knows by the culturally diverse individuals and groups whose welfare such knowledge can enhance....

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