What’s in a word?
Quite a bit, in fact.
There’s this “news” organization that calls itself “X News.” Because it says “news” everyone gives it the same credibility as other organizations that deliver true news.
What is news? We’ll talk about that some other day.
The fact of the matter is that when you are trying to sell something, and that something is not worth much, it’s to your benefit to disguise it. Ask any fast-talking salesman.
So if your program is a bunch of talking heads talking nonsense, call it “news” so it has more credibility.
What about if your academic discipline is rather “funny” in itself? What if your discipline has failed to advance our knowledge of its purported subject by any measurable amount during its entire existence?
Simple. Call it a science.
If you’re a “real” scientist, like in chemistry, or physics, you’re not going to enjoy eating at the same table as an sociologist, or economist.
So you call yourself a “hard” scientist. Your facts are hard. Your experiments are hard. Your conclusions stand the test of time and replication. They are also hard.
What are the other guys?
So far we’ve been calling them “soft” scientists.
I suggest an improvement.
It’s time to give them a label that gives us a better idea as to what they truly are in the great scheme of things.
They are quite squishy.
You push them, and they move out of the way.
You can pinch, pull, stretch and fold them as much as you want, and they come back exactly the same.
That’s what economics, sociology, and a whole host of other such “sciences” can do.
So it’s time we call an ultra conservative talk show what it is.
And it’s time we call squishy sciences exactly what they are.
Now we need to drop the whole “science” bit from them. But one step at a time.