I am currently starting this blog for several reasons.
As a worker in the field of mainstream/institutional “cellular biology” and “immunology”, i am paid to read articles, think about theories, perform experiment to test hypotheses, write article about my work. I also bear the title of “researcher”, “postdoctoral fellow”, “scientist”… Some even call me “Dr.” even though i’m not a doctor doctor. More of an “inquirer” in my opinion. I’m not sure what “doctor” means anyway.
My main issue in my field of work – what some people call “science” (usually with a capital “S”, as if there was only one of its kind) or “scientific research”, and what i call “institutional scientific research” or “mainstream scientific research” or “western scientific research” – is the lack of self-reflexion and self-inquiry from the “researcher” him/herself in the context of his practice. Why am i addressing these questions and what assumptions and standing point am i starting from? Why am i using these tools to address these technical questions? Could i address this question in a completely different manner? Why is the field i work in mainly based on these theories and not others? What is the impact of the observer/investigator (for instance ones philosophy of life or ones personal and professional expectations) in the outcome of a performed experiment or in the writting of a paper? How do institutions gravitating around a laboratory, or a group of researchers in general (like universities, hospitals, funding agencies, publishing groups, editors…), affect and bias my local scientific practice?
Of course i already have embryos of personal answers to these questions. A wandering intuition that, i feel, is probably shared by a lot of people around me. But the point of this blog is rather to expose these questions – as much technical as philosophical or political – and put some of my answers in perspective in order to mold them in new, more diverse concepts in a step by step, day by day manner. What matters to me is how to address these questions more than how i will find answer(s). And this blog is what, i think, might help me assess my perspective on these questions by working on and exposing them to myself and to everyone that might be interested.
To sum up in a couple of words some of the “answers” that i have gathered so far : a part of what, i think, is lacking in my work environment (at both a local and global scale) is some sort of humility from the “institutional scientist” (that i still am) who WANTS his/her name on the paper he writes but that AGREES to remain anonymous when reviewing someone else’s article. A part of what is lacking is people (including myself) that should speak up more often about the underlying presence of scientism embedded in the western scientific practice itself. A part of what is lacking is a spoon or two of added relativism in popular media that broadcasts the finding in biology, medecine, astronomy, physics, chemistry… A part of what is lacking is the presence of more skepticism towards the claims of “experts” and advocates of a scientific progress that never ends and whose purpose is only a promotion of self-renewal and self-growth.
In this context, I, unlike Ross Geller (from the TV show Friends), value probably the “Ph.” more than the “D.” (no puns intended) in the title “Ph.D.”, as the author of this article already advocated for.
But these dry personal intuitions as much as the raw and general questions that i mentionned above lack momentum and become useless without having a stand point over the context they are taken from and without questioning the mental framework i embed them in.
My time on this blog will correspond to put my thoughts in perspective by exposing them to you in order to address the best questions that i can inside and around my current field of inquiry.
Hope you like it or, at least, can relate to it.