On Personal Science

27 Jul 2013

Seth Godin:

If you spend enough time experiencing your own take on reality, you come to believe that what works for you might actually be a universal truth. Marketing plus psychology might equal science, it seems.

The rise of “personal science” strikes me as one of the most dangerous aspects of contemporary society.1 The notion that having opinions is somehow equal to having knowledge has become all too common. Global warming is an obvious example, but such “reasoning” has spread to almost every field and topic. Debate is hardly possible anymore as there is can be no equal footing from which to stand when one side has an evidence-based worldview and the other is entirely opinion-based. There are parallels here between the conflict of science and faith, but few would claim that anyone contemporary is mirroring the suffering of Galileo Galilei. But even worse than these two opposing philosophies is when opinion and faith come into conflict with each other wearing the facade of fact. The fury that people come to when their “I Believe”’s are not aligned… There can be no measured arguments, no agreements to disagree.

  1. I blame Wikipedia. Maybe encyclopaedias too.