Science has long had an uneasy relationship with other aspects of culture. Think of Galileo's 17th century trial for his rebelling belief before the Catholic Church or poet William Blake's harsh remarks against the mechanistic worldview of Isaac Newton. The schism between science and the humanities has, if anything, deepened in this century.

Until recently, the scientific community was so powerful that it could afford to ignore its critics - but no longer. As funding for science has declined, scientists have attacked "anti-science" in several books, notably Higher Superstition, by Paul R. Gross, a biologist at the University of Virginia, and Norman Levitt, a mathematician at Rutgers University; and The Demon-Haunted World, by Carl Sagan of Cornell University.

Defenders of science have also voiced their concerns at meetings such as "The Flight from Science and Reason," held in New York City in 1995, and "Science in the Age of (Mis)information," which assembled last June near Buffalo.

Anti-science clearly means different things to different people. Gross and Levitt find fault primarily with sociologists, philosophers and other academics who have questioned science's objectivity. Sagan is more concerned with those who believe in ghosts, creationism and other phenomena that contradict the scientific worldview.

A survey of news stories in 1996 reveals that the anti-science tag has been attached to many other groups as well, from authorities who advocated the elimination of the last remaining stocks of smallpox virus to Republicans who advocated decreased funding for basic research.

Few would dispute that the term applies to the Unabomber, those manifesto, published in 1995, scorns science and longs for return to a pretechnological utopia. But surely that does not mean environmentalists concerned about uncontrolled industrial growth are anti-science, as an essay in US News & World Report last May seemed to suggest.

The environmentalists, inevitably, respond to such critics. The true enemies of science, argues Paul Ehrlich of Stanford University, a pioneer of environmental studies, are those who question the evidence supporting global warming, the depletion of the ozone layer and other consequences of industrial growth.

Indeed, some observers fear that the anti-science epithet is in danger of becoming meaningless. "The term ´anti-science´ can lump together too many, quite different things," notes Harvard University philosopher Gerald Holton in his 1993 work Science and Anti Science. "They have in common only one thing that they tend to annoy or threaten those who regard themselves as more enlightened. "



直到前不久,科学界有着如此之强大的权威以致可以对其批评者不予理会——但是现在不是这样的情况了。由于科研经费减少,所以科学家出了几本书对 “反科学”势力进行批评,其中值得注意的有弗吉尼亚大学生物学家保罗·R·格罗斯和拉特格斯大学的数学家诺曼·莱维特合著的《高级迷信》及康奈尔大学的卡尔·萨根著的《鬼怪世界》。