Book Review: The Twilight of the Scientific Age by Martín López Corredoira, Ph.Dcategories: Book, History of Science, Sociology of Science, Regression of Civilization, Politics of Science, Decline, Decadence, Knowledge Society, Decline of Science, Oswald Spengler, End of Science, Philosophy of Science
Martín López Corredoira, Ph.Dabout this book: "The Twilight of the Scientific Age" is a challenging book-length essay on the present-day state of science and its future. A wide audience of educated people interested in it, and the philosophy and sociology of science, will respond to the revolutionary ideas expressed here, as things they have thought about but not dared to say out loud.
The present-day decadent situation of science can be summarized as follows:
1) Society is drowned in huge amounts of knowledge, most of it being about things of little importance for our cosmic vision, or producing no advances in the basic fundamentals of pure science, only technical applications or secondary details.
2) In the few fields where some important aspects of unsolved questions have arisen, powerful groups control the flow of information and push toward consensus truths rather than having objective discussions within a scientific methodology; it gives few guarantees that we are obtaining solid new truths about nature. This book illustrates for instance the repression that must be laid at the door of the established scientific communication system (publication and peer review).
3) Individual creativity is condemned to disappear in favour of big corporations of administrators and politicians of science specialized in searching ways to get money from States in megaprojects with increasing costs and diminishing returns. Progress in science requires more and more resources to achieve smaller and smaller results, and thus science has to decline. The kingdom of bureaucracy and money triumphs whereas the ideals of the search of great truths decline.
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A challenging bookThis is a courageous book. The author, a scientist, questions the validity of the scientific research of today, and of science in general, in the context of the present-day society. With compelling arguments, it is suggested that science is in decline. The book reminds of the famous Spengler's Der Untergang des Abendlandes from the 1920s.
The opening chapter highlights the scientific achievements of the past times. Probably, there is an inflation of scientific results, that leads to a stagnation. The modern epoch has seen the institutionalization of the scientific research, that brought bureaucracy, censorship, inefficiency and corruption. Further, a series of pretty dishonest practices in the scientific research are described,
all arising from two inevitable things: money and democracy. Ironically, science finally fulfilled its old promise of cornucopia: not through its achievements, which rather belong to engineering, but through funding large and sterile corporations of scientific researchers.
The book offers an interesting, challenging reading, both for professionals and the general public. [by M. Apostol]
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