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Political Science

Politics and Science- More alike than you think

So I have an addiction problem. I’m addicted to news channels. And if you’re not living under a rock, you can bet that the majority of news right now is all about the republican candidates and the primaries.

This morning I was watching Melissa Harris-Perry’s new morning show (on msnbc) and she was talking about how she likes a strong two party system because they make each other better. Like they hold each other accountable.

Immediately, my mind went to Lakatos’ research programmes both degenerative and progressive. Let’s picture that the republican party is currently the degenerative programme – They have their theories about how government should work, and this disagrees with the current progressive programme (Democrats). And so they attack the progressive programme – point out where they are wrong and show them ways to do it better.

Exactly what happens in science (as Lakatos would argue)! A new theory and scientific program comes along and the degenerative – fighting to continue to prove their theory – will push the new theory to question every assumption and results

We might think that politics will be different than science because it involves a revolving door, where in politics, every x# of years there’s a chance for the degenerative and progressive parties to change. Instead in science we expect one to always win out and prove to be the better theory. BUT- while this happens a lot less often than in politics – history says, another, better, progressive programme will come along. And the degenerative program will do its job; attack the new theory, point out its flaws, and make it cover its tracks. You know, Science.

And we’re all the better for it.

[By the way, I wish Melissa Harris-Perry’s show was actually called Nerdlandia, as she joked a couple times]


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