social construction of science

SL Forsburg susan_forsburg at
Mon Apr 8 19:38:21 EST 1996

muriel lederman wrote:
.....(some stuff snipped).....
> The whole point of the feminist critique of science is that there may be
> alternative ways of describing the same phenomena and the standpoints,
> whether based in class, race or gender, should be tried - they might come
> up with something interesting.
> Let's see how much noise this generates on the net. Muriel

See, I KNEW it was a good topic....I just love a good discussion!

I have to say I completely disagree with Muriel, if she is stating
that there is no absolute fact to be defined in science. 
I think it is possible to define (for example) 
how RNA polymerase works WITHOUT ANY REFERENCE to the gender of
the describer:  there is an absolute truth to be described.

How the investigator describes that truth, that is, the way in
which the experimentalist approaches the problem may differ. The
problems an investigator looks at may differ according to social
factors. But then there are differences in how a geneticist
and a biochemist would study transcription, too:  disciplinary 
differences. Still the behavior of RNA polymerase on a given promoter
does NOT change according to the gender or race of the person looking
at it.  And I argue that THAT is the behavior that science seeks to 
describe:  its goal is to describe objective, absolute fact.

(Apologies if I have misunderstood Muriel's argument....)

I'm looking forward to the discussion on this topic!

susan_forsburg at

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