A few days ago I read a handful of articles about 'Scientism' and the role that science should play in our society. The idea being that science is the only way to discover Truth, and that it should be the foundation of any policy decisions made concerning the governing of humanity. Or as good old Wikipedia says: "It has been defined as the view that the characteristic inductive methods of the natural sciences are the only source of genuine factual knowledge and, in particular, that they alone can yield true knowledge about man and society" This leads me to what I would consider my two main critiques of science and finally to an often overlooked danger of scientific thinking.
1) In the scientific method, experiments are performed and results are observed. But every observation has to be at a remove from the thing be observed. We can only observe through our five senses. What we observe is taken through our senses and interpreted by our mind. No two individuals can observe the same thing in the same way. A lot of scientific observation is through intermediary technologies. If I look through a microscope I now have two layers of observation between myself and the thing I am observing. The technologies we use are limited by what we have created, which in turn is limited by what we are looking for and what we imagine can exist. The further the remove from observer to observed, the further from the Truth we are. Because of this, science can only get at an approximation of the Truth, and only at the Truths we are looking for.
2) Science is language, language is metaphor, metaphor is not reality. Or, a map is not the land being shown. Or, the name of a thing is not the thing. Science is thus limited by the fact that it can only be a representation of reality. Increasingly precise language, like increasingly precise tools of observation, can bring one closer to Truth, but never to the Truth. I'm not trying to knock science, but I think a lot of people, especially in the modern age, believe that science can find Truth. This can be very dangerous indeed, and is where science starts to head down that slippery slope towards religion. Instead, it is important to know where science comes up short and to remain skeptical of people proclaiming their scientifically derived Truth.
And then the great danger of science! I would suggest that anyone going into a scientific field of study read the book Cat's Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut Jr. There are things that should not be studied and should not be invented. Nuclear weaponry, GMO foods, derivatives, to name a few. Just because we can, does not mean we should.
Once again, I invite any comments, critiques, or maniacal ranting.
The apparatus of our enslavement is the tool of our liberation.
May all beings be happy.