Critique of the Abuse of the Scientific Method

The scientific method has been with us, at least, in defined form, since the 17th century. It is a group of techniques that are used to test out hypotheses, which lead to the development of scientific theories. One of the pillars of the scientific method is objective empiricism. In the natural world, objectivity is very important. Scientists working in the United States definitely would like to have proof that an antibiotic such as amoxicillin really does eliminate escherichia coli. Such “proof” would be offered if the same antibiotic killed the same bacteria across the world in different labs. This sounds fair enough. But most of science, or at least a whole lot of it, deals with objects, not subjects. That is, science is interested in atoms that constitute non-living things. For example, sodium bicarbonate will always react with acetic acid (vinegar). A black stone made of iron that weighs a single pound, will weigh the same, look the same, feel the same, in any other laboratory. The cornerstone presupposition in this particular form of science (with the possible exception of biology) is that the object being studied is (a) an object; (b) remains unchanged and constant; and (c) the experiment could be repeated, with expected similar, or rather, exact results. This so-called scientific methodology has carried its logic over into human relationships. Where two humans used to encounter one another in human relationship, now two humans examine one another beneath the scientific, critical lens of objective science. This basically means that humans are constantly engaging with one another on a very superficial level, though this “superficial level” appears, at least to us, very “scholarly,” “scientific,” “critical,” and “thorough.” We prize ourselves on being able to predict other’s actions. We give pride of place to the books filling our book shelves that begin with titles such as “Personalities in Love” to “Anatomy of Love.” Books such as these fill libraries in America, claiming to help alleviate all of our loneliness and all (or most) of our problems. The books cover topics such as the physiology of love, the psychology of males, the role of hormones in relationships, etc. One gets the picture, after reading such books, that everything which we have to learn about love and romantic relationships has been excavated, examined, catalogued, and reduced to print. Books, once read, could make you a better person and a better lover (which then implies that we would become, along the way, happier people). Amidst such an objective culture, one hardly has time to examine one’s own life. Life moves too fast. In fact, it moves so fast that books, even such as these, can only maintain popularity for a day or two before they are pushed aside and room is made for another book carrying a different title (more erotic, usually) with the same rehashed contents served to a dying audience that is never sated. This is post-modern America, from my perspective. A person brought up in this culture has no option but to read the filth that is perpetrated as truth – all in the name of so-called science and objectivity. People are taught that orgasm is nothing but the release of a couple of hormones along with oxytocin. That “bond” that you feel after sex? That’s nothing but the work of oxytocin. Those butterflies in your stomach? That’s just adrenaline! We, like the primordial Adam, have ceased power over the world by naming things. We have done nothing but gone out and named things. We have become a bureaucracy when it comes to love. We document, document, document. Everything is typed up and written down for the world to read. Scientists, who know nothing of love, catalogue love’s journey in a couple and write peer-reviewed articles about their findings. What astounds me the most is that nobody stopped to ask two simple questions: (1) Given the fact that we have so much written on love, why is our country continually being determined to have quite an unhappy and unloved population? and (2) If science works for objects, does it necessarily work for subjects (who change)? The perplexity of the issue only comes to those of us who subjectively think about such issues. Matter of fact, I would not be surprised if the courts of scientific law in this country found a way to refute all these argument in some lab at Harvard! Why? Who needs humanity when one has science? As long as a person dressed in a white coat said it, it’s probably gospel truth. In other words, we have come to a point where the individual in love no longer concerns us. We have completely succumbed to scientific-objective thinking when it comes to human-subjective relationships. We have somehow forgotten to use logic, at least subjective logic, to think about our needs and feelings. We have become a herd led by a few elite individuals who have claimed to have found the genetic code to love; they have documentary evidence, scientific theories, and peer-reviewed articles as proof. But for the subjective individual, love is still…far removed from the sterile environments of laboratory workers.

How is it that love has become the subject of the objective scientist? How is it that relationships have now evolved into a scientific test case? What happened to the subjective individual? The problem with the so-called scientific approach towards relationships is that it replaces objects in objective-scientific equations with human subjects. I want to briefly put this into example. In math, as in some forms of objective science, 2+2=4. This is pretty straight-forward stuff. In objective science, A=A. That is, sodium chloride=sodium chloride in Africa as in America or Russia. The objects in scientific equations such as these do not change. A still equals A. But in human relationships A does not equal A. A can equal a multitude of things: A=AZ. The subject in the equation is not static, nor is it constant, nor is it repeatable (as that presupposes a static existence and consistency). The subject in the equation can act a certain way and given a certain input may react differently each and every single time. Humans are not sodium bicarbonate molecules in a jar of vinegar—always reacting the same exact way, three centuries later. Human beings are complex individuals who are driven not necessarily by genes and hormones (all the time) but by the subjectivity of their own existence. What we see, in human relationships, is that love is not actually as simple as the scientist would have it. The scientist needs to have an object to examine. The scientist examines only one aspect of love at a time, be it oxytocin or some pheromone. The individual, however, has a million processes influencing him/her at the same time. No amount of studying a single hormone could possibly explain the complexity of the human subject. Scientists, psychologists, pseudo-therapists, or whatever, all these people will not help “solve” your problems. They may shed light on some very minuscule issues, but, for the most part, life is to be lived subjectively. One is to recognize one’s own subjectivity and attempt to live life according to the one rule of subjectivity: all is chaos. Instead of having a human being categorized, we have human beings being set free from their little boxes that we have put them into. Instead of arguing that a certain person always reacts in a given manner, we should probably expect that particular manner, but not expect it entirely. Humans are fluid creatures who are always in a state of “evolution.” Today I tell you that I love her. Tomorrow I tell you that I don’t. The same I is speaking, but it is no longer the same. It is not static in any way. The I that you have encountered yesterday is no longer the I that you are encountering today. This is what it means to be human. To expect, at times, nothing but the unexpected—especially when it comes to the subject of love.