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Postmodernism refers to not just style, but also the changes in social and economic conditions, and is tied to shifts that include the skeptical embrace of science and technology after events such as the Holocaust and the nuclear bombing of Japan. Such events mainly showed how scientific ideas can be turned against humankind and towards violence. Scientific skepticism in general is questioning the beliefs of scientific understanding. In first image shown, it is a picture of a scientist, and it has to do with the scientific method being founded by Christian men who wanted to better understand God’s creation. It also has to do with the phrase “doubting Thomas” and how Thomas was a disciple who had a doubting nature, with this image therefore showing that skepticism has a long history in Christianity, and scientific skepticism is developed from the scientific method. The second image shown also relates to this topic which just shows two men acting as doubting Thomas’s in society, with a banner in the background that says, “Welcome National Society of Skeptics”.
In one article, the authors discuss public debate and skepticism and their differences. To focus on the skepticism portion in society, skepticism allows people to differentiate between truth and falsehood. The authors state, “However, when medical researchers who investigate the adverse health effects of tobacco are accused of being ‘cartel’ that ‘manufactures alleged evidence’, or when climate change is labelled a ‘hoax’ that is ostensibly perpetrated by corrupt scientists…” (Lewandowsky et al. 538). This quote shows these expressions are denial of scientific facts rather than expressions of skepticism, being that denial expresses itself disregarding what scientific fact is being targeted, as well as personal and professional attacks on scientists both in public and private.
Another part of scientific skepticism is the primacy of science in modernity and how it contributes to the primacy of technology in postmodernity. In an article analyzing this topic, the author makes a statement saying:
Of this postmodern reversal of primacy between science and technology there is no more apposite evidence than the shift of the center of interest in all varieties of ‘science studies’ from science to technology. That shift began 25 years ago, and today, if one asks a historian or sociologist or philosopher of science what they are working on, odds are they will describe an inquiry at the center of which is technology. (Forman, 2)
This quote is basically explaining the center of scientists work today, and before this shift from science to technology occurred. This section relates to the third image shown, which is titled “Six Blind Scientists and a Skeptic”. It displays six scientists giving answers as to what the elephant is and then one person who is just saying they will catch up later, and they are being skeptical about the whole situation. In a different section of the paper, the author discusses that the main concern of his paper is, “…to put into evidence the fact that a definite functional relationship between science and technology was almost universally taken for granted in modernity-namely, ascription of the value-ladened relational role of leadership to science, and of dependence to technology” (Forman, 15). More simply said, the main purpose of this paper is that modernity is when science denotes technology, and postmodernity is when technology denotes science. Scientific skepticism is not only related to modernity and postmodernity, but there are many other areas in society it is applied in.
Scientific skepticism is in media violence today, and there has been research on the impact of media violence on the human brain, and whether media violence actually has an effect on our behavior. In the last image, it shows a child with a gun which just relates to children and media violence. The child is saying, “Don’t worry, I’m completely desensitized to violence!”, which is displaying that from all of the violence in media such as violent video games, movies, television shows, and more, children are not sensitive or phased by violence and the consequences of these events occurring in real life. An example would be issues such as school shootings and how they relate to children playing violent video games, being one of the extreme cases. The author of an article on media violence explains that although many tend to want to be scientific skeptics, research and data are what they are after so many years, so he calls this a debate. He discusses one reason the data is contested is based on psychological research and the assumptions that come along with this research. He gives an example saying:
For example, a well-conducted experiment randomly assigns participants to violent and nonviolent conditions whose stimuli are matched as closely as possible. Such experiments allow for strong casual interpretations to be drawn…Results are, therefore, focused specifically on the difference between violent and nonviolent content. Unfortunately, this often gets incorrectly interpreted by critics as illustrative of the researchers’ presumed belief that media violence alone is a strong and monolithic influence. (Gentile, 429)
Overall, he claims that everyone knows that our own thoughts and feelings are related to our behavior, and this is why the effect of media violence is not related in a physical way to given outcomes. He goes on to explain that there really is no disagreement about whether violent media influences aggression, so he speaks about how it can be bias or other explanations. He ends with saying that this debate and these skeptical questions are not about who is right or wrong, but about how the theories and data with media violence have evolved over so many years, so these skeptical stances should also be evolved.