Presentation Outline

1st Min. Who does science war with? Ask audience what they think. I think they will probably talk about the attacks of Dawkins et al. on established religion, creationism etc.

2-3 Min. Explain the short chronology and background of the Science Wars. This part will also need to explain why the “wars” were fundamentally different from current debates involving science activists despite happening fairly recently. That is, this is a debate between scientific realists (mostly “hard” scientists themselves) and postmodern relativists (largely in the humanities and social sciences)  “This lecture will attempt to explain why the ‘wars’ occurred when they did.”

4-7 Min. Short lecture on earlier science vs humanities debates, the work of Kuhn and its significance and of course the rise of various postmodern/postructuralist ideas in the late 60-80s. I will point out that there were no “wars” between “hard” scientists and the social scientists and humanists who defied their objectivity until the 90s.

8-11 Min. End of History: Part 1. The end of the Cold War and defunding (the “piece dividend”)  of certain “hard” sciences, including physics. I will point out the overt unhappiness of many scientists during the debate with the sponsorship that many postmodern academics hard.

12-15 Min. End of History: Part 2. The fall of the Left in western politics. Point out that on a political scale most scientists and postmodernists were would fall on the same side. The Left has been losing ground for some time, but the fall of the USSR brings a serious blow as the US loses its counterweight. The 90s are also the scene of rising centrist wings withing traditional center-left parties, such as the New Democrats and New Labour. In the eyes of many of the scientists the postmodernists were part of the problem, making the Left impotent with “muddled thinking” and allegedly inane cultural critiques.

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