July 15, 2024

I, Science

The science magazine of Imperial College

In recent weeks anonymous campaigners calling themselves the Against Method Collective have been active around the Imperial College London campus.

The Against Method Collective has put posters and manifestos up around campus, leafletted university buildings, and generated a slew of interest from such publications as Felix and I, Science. I researched Feyerabend and found that he was a philosopher of science who railed against the scientific method, calling it hegemonic and popularising the idea that scientists should operate on the principle that “anything goes”. Feyerabend further believed that the single-minded pursuit of truth and knowledge should be secondary to the benefits that science and technology can afford humanity. Feyerabend wrote a 1975 book called Against Method, which explains the provenance of the group’s name.

Two prominent posters, which appear to be ransom-note-style design and first appeared on campus several weeks ago, depict Albert Einstein and Ada Lovelace vomiting the words “Science is revolting”. Both posters display the Against Method logo in the bottom-right corner. These posters were seen dominating poster boards across the university walkway and were very prominently displayed on one wall of the library, before being torn down. The Lovelace poster contained the words, “Manifesto coming soon”. This manifesto appeared on university poster boards soon after and declared that the Against Method Collective wants a “real revolution to fix what is wrong with mainstream science,” as opposed to Thomas Kuhn’s (an influential philosopher of science of the 20th century) “scientific revolution”. Among the manifesto points include a call to “Resist the dogma of numbers and statistics,” a plea to “Separate science and state for a free society” and the belief that “Control experiments are a sham, end the totalitarian control of science.” The manifesto later appeared in leaflet form, complete with a biography of Feyerabend, and in addition to the talk of revolution it contained what appears to be a philosophy of science joke: “If Francis Bacon is the father of modern science, then Paul Feyerabend is the Dada.” In addition to the posters and the manifesto, students around campus have also reported seeing ‘Science is revolting’-labelled badges dotted around the university.

The Against Method Collective also has an active social media presence, on both Instagram and Twitter, under the handle @sci_is_revoltin. When asked for comment, a spokesperson for the group explained why members are preserving their anonymity: “Speaking out about the tyranny of science and about the dangers inherent in worshipping one universal scientific method for attaining truth are not popular positions to take, especially at this university.”

***This article is Fake News, written as part of an assessed Science Communication (MSc) module. It will be deleted shortly***

Jordan Hindson is studying for an MSc in Science Communication at Imperial College London

Banner Images: Einstein, Against Method Collective