Many scientists claim Psychology is a joke, because one cannot get hard data like Chemistry or Biology. Surely, it’s different for Psychologists, Political scientists, and Economists, because society is not a laboratory. So what? That’s merely the distinction between Hard science and Soft science. That tells us nothing about the utility and efficacy of Soft science. Hard scientists often scoff at the Soft sciences by claiming they’re not as objective. What a laughable claim. Seems like you didn’t take logic or practical reasoning. Well, the joke’s on you. Hard data does not necessarily lead to objectivity. What should one do with hard data, when there is no coherent theory? They’d merely be facts without any useful connections. Often times, Hard sciences have theories with insufficient evidence. Also, many theories that draw from ‘hard’ data tend to be inductive judgments. e.g. Evolution. One cannot deductively (necessarily) derive evolution from its data. Deductive proofs that we are most familiar with are derivations of mathematic theorems from axioms or postulates. On the other hand, scientific theories are accepted as true when they are well confirmed by evidence. Since such a confirmation is inductive, and not deductive, it would be unreasonable to demand a deductive proof for a scientific theory. This means evolution. Yes. It doesn’t need to be deductively valid and sound (as objective as we could get) to be considered true. Abduction, inference to the best explanation, seems to be more useful than demanding objectivity from Science. In fact, I trust abductions from Science more than deductively valid ontological proofs from theologians. Cosmologist, Lawrence Krauss, once famously claimed how expecting to find ‘hard’ data of the entire universe is pointless. This corresponds very well to the way we actually live. We make guesses, inferences, and generalizations more often than deductive ones based on ‘hard’ evidence. I like ‘hard data’, but I don’t find obsession healthy.
I’m not advocating a rejection of Hard science. Rather, I’m suggesting that the Hard and Soft distinction is a useless one from a moral perspective. It is not the ‘softness’ of a theory that makes it bad. Its falsity and harmful effects do. Monstrosities born from hard data, such as chemical weapons have not served us very well. A Hard scientist may come at me with, “Fritz Haber and Edward Tellier don’t represent all scientists!” Damn right they don’t. That’s because most of you have been instilled by your parents and peers principles of morality. Guess where they came from? Political scientists and Philosophers. Nowadays, we have Psychologists, Neuroscientists, Socioloogists, and Economists joining in as well. Some of these principles are not grounded by ‘hard’ data. Although we can’t find sufficiently ‘hard’ data, neuroscientists, such as Antonio Damasio, have found some good observations we could work with. Psychology has contributed as wel by observing how babies interact with morality. Perhaps more important than knowing how a leaf works. I know Philosophers who’ve grounded moral facts objectively via logical arguments, but none of these seem to interest you. Why? Even though they help preventing you from massacring millions with chemical weapons. Could this perhaps be the price of Ego? Or is Science losing mind?