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Final Review - TACIT KNOWLEDGE is knowledge which is passed...

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TACIT KNOWLEDGE is knowledge which is passed from person to person without being articulated. EXPERIMENTER'S REGRESS The Experimenter's regress applies to cases where the correct outcome is in dispute, such as the search for gravity waves The Experimenter's Regress is a form of Catch 22 at the heart of scientific practice. Q: How do we know the correct outcome? A: To find out we must do a gravity wave experiment. Q: How do we know if our gravity wave experiment has been carried out competently? A: It depends on what the correct outcome is - if gravity waves exist and we find them, we have done the experiment competently - if they don't exist and we don't find them we have also done the experiment competently. Q: How do we know the correct outcome? A: To find out we must build a gravity wave detector. And so on .... Ways the Regress can be closed amongst the group of scientists at the research frontiers: By theory By rhetoric By funding being denied By mathematical proof By some other measure of an experimenter's competence - e.g. persona, or reputation By the production of a working technology By some combination of the above Three different types of scientific controversy: (1) Priority Disputes, e.g. Who first discovered HIV as cause of AIDS? (2) Controversies within science at the research frontiers over experimental or theoretical results, e.g. cold fusion (3) Controversies which are to do with the impact of science on society, e.g. genetically modified organisms, nuclear power, and global warming. Stages in Controversy: Most Type-2 controversies have two stages: VG 5 Stage (1): Characterized by interpretative flexibility and experimenter's regress Stage (2): Characterized by agreement, consensus, or closure. During a scientific controversy a lot can be contested: Whether or not there is a controversy
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Experimental Results Theoretical Explanations Controls and calibration Statistical Significance Proofs Replication of experiments Reputation of experimenters (e.g. careful versus sloppy, open versus secret) Appropriate disciplinary allegiance Status (individual scientists, group, institution or country) Whether appropriate scientific procedures have been followed (peer review versus press review) What we have found: VG 12 (1) Controversies are rarely if ever resolved in a clear-cut way, they are always messy. (2) Often closure is brought about by deploying a combination of resources, say a combination of status, rhetoric, theory and experiment. It is difficult to disentangle the scientific from the social and the political. Best way to think of this is social relationships and scientific procedures go hand in glove. Ultimately all scientific judgements depend on a trusting community of humans. (3) Because of experimenters regress at the end of a controversy there is always a group who buck the consensus and go on believing - this group is often seen by the majority as acting irrationally, and if they continue to believe they lose all credibility and are often drummed out of science. They will go on believing as long as they have equipment and funding and support. Often they go on believing
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