Barnes, S. B. and Dolby, R. G. A. "The Scientific Ethos: A Deviant Viewpoint," Archives of

 

Barnes, S. B. and Dolby, R. G. A. "The Scientific Ethos: A Deviant Viewpoint," Archives of
European Sociology 11 (1970), pp. 3-25.

This is one of the early attacks on Merton's approach and this article states Merton's weaknesses
pretty well: Merton is flawed by his insistance that: 1) science is related to the special attitudes of
Protestantism; 2) the PRESENT state of academic science seems so institutionalized; 3) rewards
in the academic world seem interpretable in terms of the norms; 4) the nonacademic scientist
seems more characterized by conflicting norms than the theory would predict; and 5) science
seems to flourish only in democratic societies. He's wrong on all counts, according to these
authors.

The authors go on to show that universalism, rationality and skepticism are not unique to science.
For example, organized skepticism can't deal with the fact that theory in science frequently goes
beyond the demonstrable "fact."

Then, they show that there have been very real differences in the "institution" of science. They
distinguish early science, the European model of the 1880s, and, finally, the Big Science which
has developed since WWII. These authors would treat "science" in different ways according to
the time period.

They then go after Merton's "Ambivalence" suggesting that, in fact, it is only in the form as
stated by Merton that these conflicts exist at all. The conflicts do not present much of a difficulty
for the practicing scientists.

I should add: the authors do not present an alternative approach to an understanding of science.