SOCIAL SCIENCE ADMITS IT'S PRIMITIVE, BUT WILL NOT FACE WHAT THAT MEANS | 2002-01-05
Social science is in a primitive state of development and social scientists freely admit it. When I took some graduate courses in political science in 1992, the introductory course addressed itself to the exact differences between the more advanced "hard sciences" and the present state of the social sciences.
But as so often happens, this recognition goes to the brink of real usefulness but no farther. Social scientists insist that, despite the primitive state of their studies, they have the right answers for human society. This collection of "the ideas of the intellectuals" is what we call "political leftism."
While they freely admit their studies are still in an early stage, social scientists insist that they, the "intellectuals," have the solutions that should be applied to human affairs.
But a look at the history of the sciences demonstrates one thing about every field of study when it was at the primitive level of today's social sciences. When it was at this crude, basic level, every prescription an academic discipline gave was not just wrong, it was a disaster.
Look at early chemistry. It said that the four elements were earth, air, fire and water. This primitive science was practiced by alchemists. Look at the absurdities of the alchemists.
Ancient geography had three continents of equal size, Europe, Africa and Asia, and no one could get anywhere using its maps. Primitive medicine bled people to balance four nonexistent humors, taking pints of blood from sick people.
So leftist prescriptions by the social sciences, from getting rid of phonics in teaching reading to treating criminals as innocent victims of society to socialism, where "intellectuals" plan the whole economy, has been a disaster.
To repeat, the social sciences admit they are primitive, but their historians pretend not to notice that every field of study at this early stage has been ridiculous when it tried to address reality.
Look at all the sciences in their early stages and you will see one invariable rule. That is that when each field of study was exactly where social scientists admit they are today every prescription they agreed on for human beings was wildly and disastrously absurd.
And every time a leftist policy is applied to human affairs, it is a disaster. And like every other primitive science, social science refuses to learn anything from this.
Today, social scientists are as absolutely confident of their agreed-upon prescriptions as every other early scientist was. But they have less excuse, because they claim to be experts on history.