By Lee C. McIntyre
Throughout the darkish a while, the development of Western civilization almost stopped. the data received by means of the students of the classical age used to be misplaced; for approximately six hundred years, lifestyles was once ruled by way of superstitions and fears fueled through lack of knowledge. during this outspoken and forthright booklet, Lee McIntyre argues that this present day we're in a new darkish Age--that we're as unaware of the reasons of human habit as humans centuries in the past have been of the reasons of such normal phenomena as ailment, famine, and eclipses. we're no extra alongside in our realizing of what factors conflict, crime, and poverty--and how you can finish them--than our ancestors. we'd like, McIntyre says, one other clinical revolution; we want the braveness to use a extra rigorous technique to human habit, to head the place the empirical proof leads us--even if it threatens our adored non secular or political opinions approximately human autonomy, race, category, and gender.Resistance to wisdom has regularly arisen opposed to medical improve. brand new academics--economists, psychologists, philosophers, and others in the social sciences--stand within the approach of a technological know-how of human habit simply as clerics tried to dam the Copernican revolution within the 1600s. a systematic method of social technological know-how might try hypotheses opposed to the facts instead of locate and use facts basically to verify a specific conception, as is usually the perform in state-of-the-art social sciences. Drawing classes from Galileo's clash with the Catholic church and present debates over the educating of "creation science," McIntyre argues that what we want such a lot to set up a technology of human habit is the clinical attitude--the willingness to listen to what the facts tells us no matter if it clashes with non secular or political pieties--and the unravel to use our findings to the construction of a higher society.
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Extra info for Dark Ages: The Case for a Science of Human Behavior (Bradford Books)
40 Chapter 2 Indeed, third, note that the spurious barriers cited above could not be decisive in preventing all genuine social science, because there is some very good social science that faces these barriers every day. The empirically focused inquiry of evolutionary psychology—which is based on the idea that the theory of evolution by natural selection can explain not only human physiology but also human behavior—is a good example of the effort to apply scientific standards to the explanation of human action, even under the constraint of complexity.
It begs the question against the very project of social science to say that we know whether we have free will. Thus is social scientific inquiry vindicated no matter whether we have free will, for either way, we cannot be sure, and we must decide which path to pursue in our understanding of ourselves in the meantime. We have now seen that all of the major objections to the possibility of a genuine science of human behavior fail. The claim that there is a fundamental difference between the sub- A Science of Human Behavior 39 ject of study in social science and the study of nature, thus necessitating a different method of investigation, is mistaken.
To a large extent, social inquiry is historical. But historical events cannot be repeated to see how they might come out if some one factor had been different. We cannot rerun an election to see how it might have come out without a third candidate. Moreover, even in studying individual human behavior, we face a historical element, for in social science, we are dealing with a subject matter that learns from each experimental trial. Thus, we cannot perform a controlled experiment because we cannot ask the subject to forget what he or she has learned from the first time we ran the experiment.