Tool and Science

The Wright article separates GIS as a tool from the science, but while reading the article I became fascinated with the idea of how certain fields become accepted as sciences. One contributor expresses his (or her)concern with the truth:  “Beware of having too high a regard for science, especially in terms of believing that it provides the ‘truth’” (Britton 1993, 1 Nov. 12:29 PST). In class Prof Sieber hinted at social norms. It is a topic that we discussed in ENVR203 and I think it is very valuable to this discussion. In short, we looked at how sciences become accepted, why, and when they die out. Only when the new “revolutionary” idea is accepted by your peers is it believed to be “true.” We took slavery and women’s rights as an example to demonstrate how norms change, and how certain things that were at some point unimaginable become widely accepted. I will argue that it is only a matter of time (if not already a reality at present) before GIScience is widely accepted as a science. When it is accepted, how do we know that it is actually a science? Is it only politics and money? Does it really matter how we define Geographic Information Analysis?

Personally both the tool and the science are married together when I approach spatial problems. Geographers look at the big picture. Especially as an Urban System major we look at all of the different fields and attempt to synthesise the many different contributing factors to a topic of interest. I urge others to do the same when approaching debates, this on included.

– Andrew “GIS” Funa

Tags: ,

Comments are closed.