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17 juin 2008 2 17 /06 /juin /2008 15:52
Je suis tombée en faisant des choses sérieuses, sur cette remarquable histoire de la biologie du XXe siècle.
Il y a plein de choses très importantes qui y sont expliquées, mais je vous donne juste cet extrait  particulièrement frappant :

One characteristic of twentieth century scientific research is its large scale.  The number of scientists explodes and research projects become gigantic.  The social organizations designed to manage the scientific mass further fragment the structure of scientific knowledge.  Research groups, academic departments, corporate laboratories, and government agencies eye each other jealously, each fights to claim more credit, grab more funding, attract more talents, protect or expand its turf, and ensure loyalty of its members.  This is reflected in the words “club” and “church” that often pop up in the history of molecular biology.  (...)  Many laboratory directors worry about the inclination of groups to dismiss things “not invented here,” because such attitude would reduce a laboratory’s research productivity, not to mention hindering scientific progress and technological diffusion at large. (...)

Size, specialization, and bureaucracy threaten to turn the scientific community into a bunch of stovepipes each venting its own smoke.  Many accounts in science and technology studies turn the stovepipes into missile silos hardened by ideologies: reductionism, vitalism, genetic determinism, cultural determinism, and other -isms more at home in science studies than in science.  The ambiguity of their meanings increase in proportion to the animosity they engender.  Paradigms, which to most people mean significant conceptions and perspectives, become in science studies incommensurate, islands separated by unbridgeable gulfs.  Incommensurability is the most significant feature of scientific paradigms as expounded by philosopher Thomas Kuhn, who regarded allegiants of different paradigms as living in different worlds and paradigm shifts achievable only by something akin to religious conversion. (...)

Fortunately, splintering forces have not prevailed, although they remain strong.  Amid all the divergence and diversity, a scientific tendency persists in converging and seeking common understanding.

Si quelqu'un a l'envie de traduire ce passage en français je l'y encourage, moi, là, pas le temps, d'ailleurs j'y retourne ...

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La fréquence de mise à jour se veut quotidienne au mieux (par ce que je suis de nature optimiste), trimestrielle au pire (parce que je suis velléitaire bien plus encore).

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