Should History of Science be Rated X?

From: Ted Davis <>
Date: Thu Nov 10 2005 - 09:48:50 EST

How much attention should university scientists and high school teachers pay
to HPS in their own teaching? This is the fundemental question we are
talking about--my own comments about ID are really subordinate to this
larger question, and my views on ID and high school science teaching assume
that a teacher has already decided that some attention to HPS is warranted,
even at the expense of removing some actual science content from the course.
 I will not try to defend that approach since I do not have time now to get
into a lengthy debate; rather I'll point toward a highly controversial,
provocative article that has become a classic:

"Should the History of Science be rated X?" Science, 183: 1165-62 (1974).
Steven G. Brush, Univ of Maryland. Dr. Brush has a PhD in physics and is
one of the leading historians of physics of his generation.

Abstract: The way scientists behave (according to historians) might not be
a good model for students. Comments on the alleged experimental character of
science and the "scientific method" (especially in teaching non-science
majors); revival of interest in using history in science teaching;
subversive aspects of the history of science; examples showing that some
famous scientists did not follow the "scientific method"; the science
teacher as "Whig historian."


A discussion of this article's conclusions (that's the most important part
of the article) would be fascinating. You already know where I stand on
this one. Brush's overall point is, that science teachers who want their
students to be indoctrinated into the positivisitic view of science as
absolute truth, will *not* allow them to be exposed to HPS, indeed that
exposure to HPS is actually subversive. As I say, this is quite a
provocative piece.

Received on Thu Nov 10 09:52:48 2005

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