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Subseção do capítulo 2 do livro.

Science and social values

"Science does not stand outside the system of social values. Like all meaningful human activity, it depends on socially shared habits, practices, and resources that each individual can mobilize anly because he or she is a memer of a community with a history and a system of basic values. With the language, activity structures, and thematic patterns we learn to come values and a history of interests. We allw and further develop particular actional and thematic patterns in our community because we value them, and we value them because historically they have been of benefit to somebody. Science no more and no less then any other human activity, has had the history it has because people made choices to explore some areas rather tham oters, to invest in some kind of research, to encourage some sorts of questions to be asked, some fields to be considered more important than others. Science, through its history embodies value-choices and value systems. And it reflects the interests and power of those groups that have been in a position to influence, howerver indirectly, its history and couse of development.

It wouldn't be necessary to say all this if we were not still burdened with the myth of the total objectivity and neutrality of scientific work with regards to all value questions. While science education does not actively promote that myth very much any more, neither does it do very much to give students a basis for countering it. The history of science is merely a footnote to the science curriculum, the lives and choices of scientists are rarely discussed, the actual nature of contemporary scientific work in government, corporations, and research institutes is hardly mentioned. There is very little concern for learning to talk science as part of the discussion of controversial issues, whether it's nuclear power and weapons, genetic engineering, or the contrl of sexually-transmited diseases. Science is cut off from questions of social values by a curriculum that embodies an outdated view of what science is.

Education is always about values. What we chooose to teach and what we empasize always represents a choice based on certain values, beneficial to certain interests. How we pose the relationship between school knowledge and common sense, between talking science and talking in other ways about a topic, embodies certains values and prejudices. In the curriculum, we elevate one view of the nature of science over all others, just as we push one view of American history, one language (English) and its literature, and the accomplishments in all fields of people who happened to be, not by chance, mainly white, mainly male, and mainly of nothern European descent. Science education is certainly not exempt historically from any of this.

apr 18 2015 ∞
apr 18 2015 +