From chapter "Value-Free Science "
Here’s the point: research that in some way or another attempts to extend human control over the universe is considered value free. Hell, attempts by humans to control the universe—to make matter and energy jump through hoops on command, and to predict what will happen and when—are in our very definition of how we know something is true.
But extending human control over the universe is a value. And it is a value that materially benefits (in the short term, so long as you don’t mind a murdered planet) the humans doing the research, and those funding the research, and those publishing the research, and those using the technologies that emerge from the research. They are not and can never be “disinterested.”
If a white person does research that facilitates the enslavement of members of other races, at least some of us would recognize the very real possibility that the white person’s “research” does not in fact represent reality, but instead has been skewed to rationalize the enslavement. How is it that when it comes to the enslavement of nature—which includes as much of the universe as we can manipulate—we suddenly get really stupid?
Our stupidity has the same source as would the racist researcher’s in the previous paragraph. This time we’ll misquote Upton Sinclair: “It’s hard to make a man understand something when his entitlement depends on him not understanding it.” Our stupidity in this case is an inevitable consequence of, and inevitable defense of, our human supremacism. It’s an inevitable consequence of a naturalistic [sic] philosophy that holds only human functionality to be true functionality, and only human (and in fact scientific) intelligence to be true intelligence. Of course attempting to extend human domination over as much of the universe as possible is seen as either value neutral or positive, no matter how much this attempted domination harms the real, physical world. Humans (and in fact industrial humans) are the only ones who matter. Industrial humans are the only ones who exist. Human functionality is real. Functionality in the real, physical world is not real functionality. A river serves no purpose till it is harnessed for electricity, transportation, and irrigation. A forest serves no purpose till it is converted into 2x4s.
You’d think that when unquestioned assumptions are the real authorities of a culture, and when this culture is killing the planet, that it might be long past time we questioned some assumptions, and long past time we questioned some values, and long past time we questioned what we perceive as true.