Central Question 5


Why were the arguments proposed by McKinney and Franklin counter to the arguments proposed by Collins and Pinch with respect to “normal science” found in the McKinney’s paper and Collins' “experimentalists regress” found in the Franklin paper?

Why implies that a reason exists which can account for the differences in arguments and perspectives.

Counter implies the existence of a difference of opinion, the possibility of an opposing argument.

Question Analysis

The question lacks any effort to criticize or lead towards a certain answer. What the question suggest is that there was a difference in arguments raised by McKinney-Franklin versus Collins-Pinch.

The question is good in that it considers the intellectual relationship between McKinney and Franklin, which is in opposition to Collins and Pinch. The answer to the question can encompass or get at a discussion which looks at the difference between social versus scientific phenomena. Scientific explanations based upon scientific phenomena are distinct and differs from social concepts, procedures, and expertise, which sociologists and STS practitioners apply as part of their disciplinary vocabulary. What is clear is that there is a huge gap in understanding between McKinney-Franklin and Collins-Pinch in the use of language, definitions, and terms, which are responsible for the breech in understanding.

General Discussion

It is clear that McKinney and Franklin lacked the fundamental understanding of STS social theory. What these authors bring to light is the fact that there is a “love-hate relationship” which “exists toward scientist in some segments of society”. (Latour-Woolgar, 11) In other words the love-hate relationship was between technocrats on the one hand versus social scientists on the other. (Latour-Woolgar, 11)

In the McKinney controversy, he argues against the Collins-Pinch’s claim that what was at work in the Fleishmann-Pons electrochemical fusion experiment was not “normal science”. In the Franklin controversy, he argues against Collins' claim that Weber’s gravitational wave experiment was not based upon “experimentalists regress”. In both papers, researchers conducted experiments to measure phenomena, which were not widely understood by the broader scientific community. What was damming was the fact that unsubstantiated claims were released to the broader scientific community which were later then found to be in error or differed from what was considered acceptable experimental methods.

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