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The Failure of Science in Understanding Social Reality

April 30, 2019

Part of the reason we have come upon all these recurring problems in society of conspiracy theories, and false mono narratives being forced upon people, is that the social sciences failed to understand the domain of reality they were supposed to provide an understanding of. They failed because you cannot have a science in these areas off the same model of science as in the natural sciences.

It’s not simply a matter of time and progress in our understanding. It is not simply an issue of a higher level of complexity. It’s an issue of being a difference of kind when we get to the social domain with certain key facets of it. Take a few core values at the heart of any society, or its core beliefs. What you have there is a paradigm with which people identify. Those same people cannot then talk neutrally and objectively about this area. For it is a part of their identity.

First social science imagined it could find objective social facts, then it retreated to a search for a theory of human action and behavior, then it retreated to the social constructionist and relativist position familiar from the trendy postmodernists. But throughout, they still pretend they can assess something neutrally, that they simply can not. The final collapse of this whole project is what we have seen in recent years.

It became clear that people were sneaking their agendas and narratives into their supposed social facts about reality. The termination point arrived with the claim that all perspectives are equally important, of relativism, postmodernism and its political expression in multiculturalism, which were all tantamount to the claim that all perspectives are equally unimportant and powerless. And so it became a great tool for divide and conquer of the people by isolating them in little boxes.

Social science has basically always been used as a tool for left wing biased agendas. In contrast to philosophy that had always maintained a more conservative edge. From the beginning it was focused on social change much more than on social order and reality. As a case of giving idealistic students what they wanted, a kind of wish fulfilment thing for the idealistic youth. The wish was never fulfilled, unsurprisingly, because the attempts were too naive and immature.

On top of this they came from a basic misunderstanding of social reality as a thing, like in natural science, that can be manipulated accordingly. When social reality is simply not of this kind. It is an unfolding narrative that we are a part of, that contacts with things like reality in ways that are often very unclear and ambiguous. Largely because we all have tendencies to see what we want to see, and remember what we want to remember. Social reality entails understanding your own spiritual self and direction. This kind of wisdom can take life times and generations to emerge. It doesn’t just magically appear in a group of idealistic teenagers who have “good intentions”.

If we really want to understand social reality, we need to move away from the presumptions of a science of things. We must start with a deep appreciation of our own motivations and value commitments. Not as a childish assertion of right, but as a considered and adult appreciation of value. We are not isolated units, we are interconnected beings. Without this basic insight you cannot understand anything about yourself, let alone about the whole of society.

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