The Paralysisrnof Sciencernby John CaiazzarnThe End of Science:rnFacing the Limits of Knowledgernin the Twilight of the Scientific Agernhy John MorganrnReading, Massachusetts:rnHehx Books/Addison-Wesley;rn309 pp., $24.00rnI n The End of Science, John Horgan, arnstaff reporter for Scientific American,rnwrites about his encounters with bothrnscientists and philosophers of sciencernand concludes that modern science isrncoming to an end.rnIn every significant field of scientihcrnresearch, from neuroscience to cosmology,rntheory has reached so great an impassernthat new breakthroughs seem impossible.rnAlthough Morgan’s approachrnrelies more on the testimony of the scientistsrnthemselves than on analysis ofrntheir theories, his argument is, nonetheless,rnconvincing, as he recounts, for example,rnthe frustration of physicists whorncannot yet cobble together a theory thatrncombines electromagnetism with gravity,rnor quantum indeterminacy with relativity.rnThe latest contender for a “TOE”rn(“theory of everything”) is “superstringrntheory,” which assumes that subatomicallyrnshort “strings” exist in ten dimensions,rna theory so abstract and complexrnthat it has only the most indirect connectionrnwith the worid of common experience.rnFurthermore, testing such fundamentalrnphysical theories requires anrnatomic accelerator called the “SupercooledrnSuperCollider,” a project sornexpensive that the federal governmentrnCONCERNING IMMIGRATIONrnT he presence in this volume of California’srnGovernor Pete Wilson, easily reelected sincernhis essay ‘Citizenship and Immigration’ firstrnappeared in Chronicles’ November 1993 issue, is onlyrnone reason Chronicles’ editors can fairly say: you read itrnhere first.”rn—Peter Brimelow,rnForbesrnA publication ofrnThe Rockford Institutern232 pp., paper, $14.95 List Pricern(plus $2.50 for shipping & handling)rnTo order by credit card, call:rn1 – 8 0 0 – 3 9 7 – 8 1 6 0rnOr send check or money order in thernTmount of $17.45 ($14.95-1-$2.50 shipping & handling) tornChronicles, P.O. Box 800, Mt. Morris, IL 61054rnPlease list on payment or mention when ordering: SOURCE CODE:rnSC958, and ITEM CODE: MGRT.rnrefused to continue its funding afterrnspending five billion dollars on it. Thernend of science is foretold as much byrneconomic constraints as by the impassernof theory.rnOn the other hand, Morgan’s reportorialrnstance has led him to approachrnscience, and its place in our culture, asrnother reporters treat their fields; he is asrncynical as a war correspondent, and asrnaddicted to the derogatory tag line at thernend of an interview as the worst televisionrnreporters. He suspects that scientistsrnare not worthy of their reputations,rnalthough the author himself has no morernexperience of conducting a scientific experimentrnthan Sam Donaldson does ofrnrunning a presidential campaign. Morernseriously, Horgan fails to consider therncultural implications of his conclusions.rnWith the “end of science,” the entirernEnlightenment project—which includesrncapitalism, individual rights, mass education,rnrationalism, and representativerngovernment—is brought into question.rnNevertheless, he does arrive at a conclusionrnthat befits his background as arnformer student of literary criticism. Unablernto proceed to any further majorrndiscoveries, modern science, Morganrnbelieves, has become “ironic” science.rn”The most important function of ironicrnscience is to serve as humanity’s negativerncapability. Ironic science, by raisingrnunanswerable questions, reminds us thatrnall our knowledge is half-knowledge; itrnreminds us of how little we know. Butrnironic science does not make any significantrncontributions to knowledge itself.rnIronic science is thus less akin to sciencernin the traditional sense, than to literaryrncriticism—or to philosophy.” But “ironism”rnmeans the acceptance of relativismrnas the basis of human existence, inrnwhich multiple and discordant descriptionsrnof reality are possible. Ironism, havingrninfected literary criticism and politicalrnphilosophy, now threatens science,rnwhich has stood as the validator of truthrnin the Enlightenment tradition, and thernproof that the human mind could attainrnto an ultimate foundational reality. Sciencernis slowly giving up its status as guarantorrnof truth, however; for it is riven notrnso much by the attacks of multieulturalistsrnand deconstructionists as by thernspectacle of theoretical impasse apparentrnin so many of its disciplinary fields.rnIt is important to see what possibilitiesrnlie beyond the end of science besidesrn”ironism,” which is after all a form of resignation,rnof the despair that comes withrn28/CHRONICLESrnrnrn