Back in February, some of my sociologist friends retweeted another [Neil deGrasse] Tyson quip: “In science, when human behavior enters the equation, things go nonlinear. That’s why Physics is easy and Sociology is hard.”Particularly if one attempts to govern society on the basis of aggregates such as "society" or "classes" or "interest groups." The microfoundations are messier, and more interesting.
We sociologists appreciated the recognition, even if some of us resented needing a famous astrophysicist as our hype man. Yet it’s simply galling that a person who can recognise the difficulties of studying social life somehow doesn’t connect those same challenges to their philosophical and political implications. If simply studying sociology is complex, governing society with it is anything but simple.
I think the "Rationalia" Mr Tyson proposes is Swiftian, not Marxian, and that he and author Jeffrey Guhin are in accord.
There has always been a hope, especially as elites became less religious, that science would do more than simply provide a means for learning about the world around us. Science should also teach us how to live, pointing us towards the salvation that religion once promised. You can see this in any of the secular utopianisms of the 20th century, whether it’s the Third Reich, scientific Marxism, or the “modernisation thesis” of Western capitalism.Yes, there's a reason that enlightened scholarship rules out any final say. The "settled science" of the early twentieth century got a number of things badly wrong.