(Updated) Πίεση του κατεστημένου υπέρ της «κρατούσας» επιστημονικής ή ακαδημαϊκής άποψης / Peer pressure in favor of the “mainstream” scientific or academic theories

Θα μιλήσω για τις πιέσεις που υφίστανται οι νέοι επιστήμονες προκειμένου να αφιερωθούν σε θέματα εγκεκριμένα από το κυρίως ρεύμα προκειμένου να έχουν μια αξιοπρεπή σταδιοδρομία. Υπέστην κι εγώ τέτοιες πιέσεις, οι οποίες μάλιστα επηρέασαν την καριέρα μου. Η σύγκρουση ανάμεσα στην ανάγκη για ανεξάρτητες επιστημονικές κρίσεις και την αποφυγή της αποξένωσης από το κυρίως ρεύμα είναι ένα αίσθημα που κι εγώ, επίσης, βίωσα. Δεν γράφω αυτό το βιβλίο για να επικρίνω επιστήμονες που έκαναν επιλογές διαφορετικές από τις δικές μου αλλά για να εξετάσω γιατί πρέπει καν να έρχονται αντιμέτωποι οι επιστήμονες με τέτοιες επιλογές. Θεωρία χορδών. Όλα ή τίποτα; Lee Smolin, σελ. 25.

Η θεωρία χορδών πλέον κατέχει τέτοια δεσπόζουσα θέση στην ακαδημαϊκή κοινότητα, ώστε στην πράξη όποιος νεαρός θεωρητικός φυσικός δεν ακολουθήσει αυτή την περιοχή έρευνας είναι σαν να καταστρέφει την ίδια του την καριέρα. Ακόμη και ερευνητές από περιοχές όπου η θεωρία χορδών δεν κάνει προβλέψεις, όπως η κοσμολογία και η σωματιδιακή φαινομενολογία, συνηθίζουν να ξεκινούν τις ομιλίες και τις εργασίες τους με τη διαβεβαίωση ότι η δουλειά τους θα βασίζεται κάποτε στη θεωρία χορδών. Θεωρία χορδών. Όλα ή τίποτα; Lee Smolin, σελ. 27.

Κάποιοι νεαροί θεωρητικοί των χορδών μού έχουν πει ότι αισθάνονται σαν να τους εξαναγκάζουν να δουλέψουν στη θεωρία χορδών, είτε πιστεύουν σε αυτήν είτε όχι, καθώς εκλαμβάνεται ως εισιτήριο για μια θέση καθηγητή σε κάποιο πανεπιστήμιο. Και έχουν δίκιο: Στις ΗΠΑ, όσοι θεωρητικοί ακολουθήσουν διαφορετικές από τη θεωρία χορδών προσεγγίσεις της θεμελιακής φυσικής δεν θα έχουν σχεδόν καμία ευκαιρία για σταδιοδρομία. Τα τελευταία δεκαπέντε χρόνια, τρεις είναι όλοι κι όλοι οι επίκουροι καθηγητές που εργάζονται σε διαφορετικές από τη θεωρία χορδών προσεγγίσεις της κβαντικής βαρύτητας και οι οποίοι προσλήφθηκαν από αμερικανικά ερευνητικά πανεπιστήμια, και μάλιστα οι προσλήψεις αυτές έγιναν από μία και μόνο ερευνητική ομάδα. Την ώρα που η θεωρία χορδών εξακολουθεί να αγωνίζεται από επιστημονική άποψη, έχει ήδη θριαμβεύσει στο ακαδημαϊκό πλαίσιο. Η κατάσταση αυτή βλάπτει την επιστήμη, διότι καταστέλλει τη διερεύνηση εναλλακτικών κατευθύνσεων, από τις οποίες κάποιες υπόσχονται πολλά. Θεωρία χορδών. Όλα ή τίποτα; Lee Smolin, σελ. 30.

A close if unofficial surveillance was imposed upon potential candidates for positions in the Old Testament field in British universities, and only those who displayed proper respect for the canons of critical orthodoxy were appointed to academic posts. Consequently scholars of a more conservative bent were relegated to comparative obscurity in theological colleges of various denominations and other independent institutions of learning. R. K. Harrison, Introduction to the Old Testament, σελ. 28.

The divisive theories of Duhm virtually swept the field. Not even the moderating tendencies of S. R. Driver were sufficient to place this critical emotionalism, in proper perspective, and by the end of the nineteenth century it was considered academically bizarre and unrespectable to begin to suggest views that could be interpreted as maintaining the unity of the prophecy. In Europe, as in England, the appointment to University chairs in Old Testament depended to no small extent upon the amount of enthusiasm with which the prospective candidate adhered to the “assured findings” of the critical school in both Pentateuchal and Isaianic studies, a situation prevalent to a considerable degree also in North America. R. K. Harrison, Introduction to the Old Testament, σελ. 769.

Objections to the historicity of Daniel were copied uncritically from book to book, and by the second decade of the twentieth century no scholar of general liberal background who wished to preserve his academic reputation either dared or desired to challenge the current critical trend. R. K. Harrison, Introduction to the Old Testament, σελ. 1111.

Even to suggest an investigation of these evidences is absolutely unthinkable in the minds of the Liberal establishment. To propose any kind of objective examination is to invite ridicule and scorn from the practitioners of the Documentary Hypothesis or Form Criticism or Canonical Criticism who maintain a rigid control of the biblical studies department in most of our present-day universities and state-supported seminaries throughout the Western World.

The amazing feature about this Bible-denigrating procedure is its flagrant violation of the rule against circular reasoning that underlies all evidential logic. To the rationalistic mind-set of the Aufklärung and the Encyclopedistes of the mid-eighteenth century it was well-nigh inconceivable for any educated thinking to take seriously the truth-claims of Holy Scripture, and those who undertook to do so were ridiculed as benighted and naive, no matter what scholarly attainments they had achieved in their education. If they really believed that the Bible was the Word of God, they were ipso facto outdated traditionalists who could be safely ignored. Gleason L. Archer, A Survey of Old Testament Introduction, σελ. 486.

The history of sciences amply demonstrates that this sort of attitude and behavior, that is, following the prevailing opinion among those in a given field, whether cosmology, physics, biology, medicine, or what have you, has for many centuries been a major cause of the persistence of gross errors in all these disciplines. That a majority holds a given view is not an argument in science; every scholar or researcher is obliged in conscience to examine his own discipline and to ask himself what the assumptions and presuppositions in his discipline that are taken for granted really consist of and what kind of basis they rest on. The history of science also demonstrates that, when a scholar or researcher does undertake to look honestly at the presuppositions and a prioris in his field, the results are often surprising and sometimes even revolutionary. Claude Tresmontant, The Hebrew Christ, σελ. 10.

The fact that his results are so much at variance with reigning scholarly opinion may explain the silence that has greeted his book both in France and in Germany…

…Upholders of the dominant opinion in biblical scholarship are not happy with Robinson’s book; if Robinson is right, they are wrong. In scholarship, as in all the other affairs of life, it is always very difficult to own up to being wrong. It is even more difficult to admit to having taught errors and ab­surdities throughout one’s entire scholarly career. That Robinson’s thesis has not found automatic acceptance is therefore quite understandable. Claude Tresmontant, The Hebrew Christ, σελ. 50.

In a discussion of sources for the study of Paul, N. T. Wright weighs in on the scholarly consensus that Paul wrote only seven of the thirteen letters attributed to him. He notes that it is odd that even though many of the considerations that drove this opinion have been overturned, it nonetheless remains the consensus. Wright goes on to comment on scholarly fashion:

In addition – it is hard to say this, but perhaps it needs to be said – there is the matter of fashion and prejudice. Just as in Germany in the late nineteenth century you more or less had to be a follower of F. C. Baur, and in Oxford in the mid-twentieth century you more or less had to believe in the existence of Q, so in North America today you more or less have to say that you will regard Ephesians and Colossians as post-Pauline – unless, like Luke Timothy Johnson, you have so massively established your scholarly credibility on other grounds that your acceptance of the letters as fully Pauline can then be regarded, not as a serious scholarly fault, but as an allowable eccentricity (Source).

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