Public assent to scientific claims is no longer based upon public familiarity with the phenomena or upon public acquaintance with those who make the claims. We now believe scientists not because we know them, and not because of our direct experience of their work. Instead, we believe them because of their visible display of the emblems of recognized expertise and because their claims are vouched for by other experts we do not know. Practices used in the wider society to assess the creditworthiness of individuals are no longer adequate to asses the credibitility of scientific claims. We can, it is true, make the occasional trip to places where scientific knowledge is made. However, when we do so, we come as visitors, as guests in a house where nobody lives.
Stephen Shapin 'The house of experiment in seventeenth century England'(
ISIS, 79, pp. 373-4030, p. 404
Looking with Book
oil on linen
38cm x 45.5.cm