In class today, we talked about issues of objectivity (again!), but this time from the perspective of numbers (Porter and Rotman articles). We started off class with a question about the following quote:
“…science enshrines objectivity, meaning (here) not truth to nature, but impersonality, standardization – reducing subjectivity to a minimum” (Porter 1999:402)
But even when the issue of subjectivity is parceled out, there are still limits to the idea of aperspectival objectivity – limits created by human perception. We clearly understand, from our reading of the excerpt from Gould’s Mismeasure of Man (optional for the STS class, but required in intro) that the GIGO (“garbage in, garbage out”) rule is in full effect in science. In the absence of cultural causal factors like racism, however, humans still have limits in their observational skills. Here’s a classic experiment that demonstrates these limits.
In other words, what we’re thinking about — what we’re focused on — filters the world around us so aggressively that it literally shapes what we see. (NPR)
Here’s a link to an NPR article that brought this issue back up: Why even radiologists can miss a gorilla hiding in plain sight.