July 21st 2007


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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY: The fifth battle domain - cyberspace

EDITORIAL: Democracy triumphs in East Timor

NATIONAL SECURITY: Terrorist risk is fast approaching critical

CANBERRA OBSERVED: Security nightmare for Australian authorities

HOUSING: Home ownership: the unattainable dream?

NATIONAL CENSUS: Making sense of the Census

MEDICAL SCIENCE: Cloning - dead as the Dodo?

VICTORIA: Medical suicide campaign gets underway

STRAWS IN THE WIND: The gangs of Melbourne / Global yawning / Still looking for Dreyfus / Victimhood / A ship without a rudder

TAIWAN: Divisive politics alienate Taiwanese

OPINION: Left-wing bid to discredit our Anzac tradition

POPULAR CULTURE: Video games overtaking movies and music

AS THE WORLD TURNS: Why do we dress children like miniature adults?

Science and the academic left (letter)

The Net and I (letter)

Swedish film defended (letter)

Terrorist doctor-killers? (letter)

CINEMA: Triumphing against all the odds - Amazing Grace

BOOKS: WHEN ISLAM AND DEMOCRACY MEET, by Jocelyne Cesari

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Science and the academic left (letter)


by P.D. Burke

News Weekly, July 21, 2007

Sir,

Further to Mr Chris Hilder's letter, "Undermining scientific truth" (News Weekly, June 23, 2007), let me quote distinguished US scientists, Paul R. Gross and Norman Levitt (self-described as of the political left), who note in their book, Higher Superstition: The Academic Left and its Quarrels with Science (John Hopkins University Press, 1997): "To the analyst of cultural constructivist bent, matters of scientific truth are 'always and everywhere matters of social authority'." (p.47).

But they go on to observe that the philosopher Paul Feyerabend, "one of the thinkers directly responsible for initiating the chain of ideas [leading to this view] now expresses deep reservations about the outcome of this line of thought". (p.49).

In a paper, "Atoms of Consciousness" (Common Knowledge, Vol.1, No.1, 1992), Feyerabend asks: "How can an enterprise [science] depend on culture in so many ways, and yet produce such solid results? Most answers to this question are either incomplete or incoherent."

P.D. Burke,
Gilberton, SA




























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