cj#674> re: academic windmills & the Tree of Science


Richard Moore

>Date: Fri, 30 May 1997
>Sender: Wanxia Liao <•••@••.•••>
>Subject: Re: cj#673> Tilting against the academic windmills
>Dear Mr. Moore,
>Even I myself could not help laughing when I found out Yesterday that
>you characterised my story as "tilting against the academic windmill", but
>of course, laughing with tears.
>I am very grateful to you for the valuable insight and advices you gave to
>me. Your observations are really sharp and you seem to know the academic
>circle so well. Had I got a chance to talk to you years ago, I would not
>have wasted 5 years of myy life to chase a justice illusion!

>...Do you really think P would feel embarassed by my
>questions? But why would not he really give up on his theory after that?
>Perhaps I do have cultural problems in understanding people here...

Imagine "scientific knowledge" as a tree - big ideas as main branches,
subsidiary ideas as minor branches and leaves.  A genuine scientist views
the tree as a tool which is constantly evolving and changing, and he (or
she, of course) does not have ego-involvement about preserving it in a
static state.  An academic, too often, sees "his part" of the tree as
something to be defended - his ego is identified with its preservation.
This kind of academic is as counter-scientific as the clerics who
persecuted Galileo.  Being in the science profession has nothing to do with
having a scientific attitude.

If you look at the larger institutional picture, you see things like
corporations funding scientists to "prove" acid rain and genetic
engineering are not dangerous.  In this regard, the institution of science
can be the worst enemy of actual science.

Things often turn into their opposites (I forget the generic word for this
phenomenon).  Thus regulatory agencies, instead of curbing corporate power,
become the vehicles for extending corporate power.  Or a goverment, set up
to represent the people, ends up suppressing people.

>Nevertheless, after learning your viewpoint, I'm now more psychologically
>prepared for the fate of my case. But I'll not lose everything in my life
>for it in vain. I've found a new mission for my life, that is to write a
>book about my "tilting the academic windmill" story, thoough it will be
>entitled as "The Concept of Beauty". I hope some intellectuals out there
>will be interested in my experience and benefit from it.
>I have many thanks to you for giving the kind concern and advices to me.

Good luck,