A Shared Focus

December 3, 2007

“Though each may hope to convert the other to his way of seeing science and its problems, neither may hope to prove his case. The competition between paradigms is not the sort of battle that can be resolved by proof.” (Thomas Kuhn The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, p. 148).

After listening to the tone, content, and quality of assertions made from the podium of this blog during this past week I believe that without some further structure and focus the conversation will only become fatuous rant and rave.

In the spirit of inquiry I am proposing that those who are interested in the concepts of paradigms and change within science both basic and applied read the seminal work of Thomas Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. More of an extended essay than a comprehensive book this work provides a basic language and conceptual framework which we can accept, modify, or reject. With a common language, conceptual premises, and hypotheses perhaps we can have edifying dialogue.

During the next week, I suggest we read the preface to the 3rd edition (University of Chicago Press, 1996). Please offer comments and critique of Dr. Kuhn’s work and make suggestions as to what can become a common language in understanding paradigmatic change in science. For those unable to locate this book, I have included in the blogroll and below two websites that offer various links and summaries of his work. Subsequently, we can read a section or chapter a week, taking more time as necessary to arrive at whatever consensus is possible.

I am neither a scientific nor medical historian nor scholar. I do recognize and admire enduring scholarship. I believe Kuhn’s work is relevant and useful for the purposes of this forum.
http://www.des.emory.edu/mfp/Kuhn.html Outline and study guide prepared by professor Frank Pajares.

http://webpages.shepherd.edu/maustin/kuhn/kuhn.htm website Thomas Kuhn and the Structure of the Scientific Revolutions A paradigm Shift in the History of Science.


Medicine and science

November 25, 2007

PARADIGM: A set of assumptions, concepts, values, and practices that constitutes a way of viewing reality for the community that shares them, especially in an intellectual discipline. Since the 1960s, paradigm has been used in science to refer to a theoretical framework, as when Nobel Laureate David Baltimore cited the work of two colleagues that “really established a new paradigm for our understanding of the causation of cancer.”(new heritage dictionary)

This weblog is intended to be a podium from which conversation will occur about the factors that support the healthy evolution of scientific thought, practice, and research. Though the focus will be on the science of human medicine, many of the observations and conclusions will apply to other branches of science.

The author has thirty years of active practice in the medical arts and is an avid observer of what makes for “good” science (i.e. science with integrity and humility) and that which makes for “bad” science (dogmatic, prejudicial, driven by profit motive and/or political concerns).

Welcome. Tune in for at least weekly postings.

Hello world!

November 25, 2007

New musings about good and bad science and the future of medicine