To speculate on objectivity is to question an abstract concept that humans invented to establish a common ground on which they could form knowledge. In the case of science, objectivity refers to the idea that scientific inquiry and experimentation is separated from opinion, which is the subject of debate since many facts are dependent on other pieces of scientific knowledge. Perhaps, in a perfect world, scientists would not take into account their own values before beginning experiments, or conducting research, but as Stemwedel points out, “So being objective in the sense of following good scientific methodology requires a commitment not to mislead” (Stemwedel). Because of this, it’s important to keep in mind how different scientists apply their values to scientific inquiry, and by extension remind most people that scientists are not infallible.
The biggest challenge to scientific objectivity, in my view, is a mixture of cognitive bias and opinion. Scientists make decisions based on evidence, and one of the ways experiments are started is when there is enough evidence to suggest something is out of the ordinary. For example, if a group of men in the United States is dying of a mysterious disease, there is cause for an investigation or series of experiments to cure the disease. If a single patient dies from an incurable disease, it’s unlikely that a massive project would be created to find the cure, given the small sample size. In this way, scientists operate on a plethora of value judgments, which determine whether they decide to seek out scientific truths in specific areas. In the same way, whether these scientists get funding is dependent on the values and cognitive state of the funder, whic...
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... scientists the value of objectivity, and making sure that experiments are conducted without social, ethical, or moral biases to the best of their ability. The pressure put on scientists during times of crisis makes it possible for “The man of science [to] be converted into a man of war—and act accordingly” (Merton, 608). It is a fact that Oppenheimer and the Manhattan project created the Atom Bomb, which changed world history forever. It is important that science continues on a path of pursuing objectivity, even if individual scientists’ values can put roadblocks to progressing accurately. Of course, that is why peer review, fact-checking, independent funders, and the scientific method exists. The best path towards objectivity remains to be seen, but I believe the best path has always been following the facts, no matter how uncomfortable that makes a scientist feel.
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