You’ve no doubt heard the phrase “paradigm shift,” but probably haven’t read Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, which introduced the concept. I’m not going to claim that you need to run out and read it — I haven’t, and have no intention to — but “paradigm shift,” and its presentation, need a second look.
Most people think that “paradigm shift” just means “a new way of looking at things.” And that’s what Kuhn wants you to think… when he’s speaking to laymen. But doublespeak is the hoariest Stupid Professor Trick of them all, and so “paradigm shift” means something completely different when aimed at the anointed. To “sociologists of science” &c, it’s an ironclad epistemological claim: You literally cannot think outside of your particular “paradigm.” This thesis goes by various names — “frames,” “the Strong Programme [sic] in the Sociology of Science” — but it’s all the same thing: Knowledge itself is “socially constructed,” so you can only know what society, the media, the Patriarchy, capitalism, et cetera ad nauseam allow you to know.
Like all Postmodernism, the problem with this should be obvious. It’s the Ishmael Effect — how did Thomas Kuhn escape his “paradigm,” to be able to tell us that nobody can think outside his paradigm? Once again we find professors asserting for a fact that there’s no such thing as a fact.
And yet it’s not obvious. In fact, Kuhn would say that noticing little factual discrepancies is how the “paradigm shift” happens in the first place — observations of celestial bodies don’t line up with Ptolemaic astronomy, for instance, and so along comes the Copernican revolution. But, again, that’s just a PoMo speaking from both sides of his mouth — paradigms are incompatible, but somehow the one transforms into the other….
But now I’m wondering if he isn’t somehow right after all. See, for instance, this Cracked.com photomontage. Specifically this
In both cases, the facts are well known, and easily accessible. Re: more money, US per capita education spending is among the very highest in the world. And there’s no correlation between spending increases and performance increases, as even the ultra-liberal HuffPo acknowledges. And that’s with five seconds of googling.
With ten seconds’ worth of googling, we find that nope, not a single US state mandates teaching creationism in science class. A handful require students to “critically analyze key aspects of evolutionary theory,” and two others allow (not require) “teachers and students to discuss scientific evidence critical of evolution.” Hmmm….critically evaluating evidence and theories. Gosh, that sounds like the very definition of the scientific method!
So maybe Kuhn is right after all. Because these facts aren’t secret, they get brought up to liberals all the time. You’ve probably done it yourself. I know I have, and I bet your result was the same as mine — ad hom, then run away. At the very best, you get a grudging acknowledgement that “some” studies “may have” said that… and five minutes later, they’re back griping about insufficient funding for public schools and those hicks in Tennessee mandating creationism in biology class.
They really can’t see past their paradigm.