The Case for Scientific Positivism In Policy Making and the Social Sciences
I reject post-modernism categorically. There is an empirical reality that is out there, beyond our various perspectives, beliefs, and opinions. To deny or leave reality open to the possibility of manipulation and meddling by parties with questionable interests is tantamount to social suicide. You will have so many different people and groups of people with so many interests, beliefs, and desires that do not meet their organic needs, as human beings clamoring for things that are unhealthy for themselves on the individual level, without ever questioning whether or not their interests and perceived wants and needs are valid or of real concern for them in the first place. Humans in their present form bend reality to justify their wants and perceived needs in ways that distort and ruin their abilities to achieve their actual needs on the individual and collective levels. This is precisely how we get so many policies that act against common well-being, and distorts our individual well being as a result of this off-kilter approach to making and prioritizing policy. Post-modernism may positively describe how we actually make policy in our present state of affairs. However, it is not a solid way of producing policy in the long term, and is likely to be the reason how we have had such all around mediocre and lackadaisical policy making.in most cases around our country and around the world in general.
Scientific positivism, on the other hand, is a lens within the categories of post-modernist thinking. However, it is the lens that enables us to effectively act and work with the rest of the world in an empirically effective manner. Without scientific positivism and its technique of interrogating the world around us to derive facts and causal relations, we would have languished in the Dark Ages and never have made the advances in science and technology that we have. It is the only method for deriving truth through the repeated examination, testing, and oversight by several eyes. The social reality may be significantly harder to pinpoint than the physical reality. We may not always be perfect in our techniques, methods, or abilities to come to conclusions accurately. We can make mistakes when we test and examine the world, making incorrect conclusions. However, the logic and ethic of scientific positivism is, and always has been, the lens that enables us to act effectively in our world. Post-modernism may describe the actual universe. However, scientific positivism is the tool/lens that enables us to act in this world, helping us avoid perspectives and opinions and practices that hurt us and promoting perspectives, opinions and practices that help us.
Reality is a dictatorship. If you make incorrect assumptions, beliefs, opinions or negatively effective practices, you will end up being punished by them. If you make correct assumptions, produce beliefs that are grounded in reality, and make positively effective actions that are derived from this prior examination of fact and experimentation to produce best practices, you can potentially achieve optimal results in any given situation or condition set. Ego takes a back seat to reality, exploration, and experimentation. Call me arrogant if you’d like. But this is the method that scientists use to determine best practices in the other fields. Why shouldn’t we apply the same techniques, perspectives, beliefs, and assumptions to our social world?
Down with Post-modernism! Up with Scientific Positivism!
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