Comments on: What is Zynga making per paying user? Nobody, not even Zynga, will ever know. Wed, 10 Sep 2014 18:53:13 +0000 hourly 1 By: Chris Tue, 07 Feb 2012 14:41:24 +0000 Nice extract! I’m interested in Latour’s work, but my reading list has been dictating itself for quite a while now… Currently tied up in research for ‘Chaos Ethics’, book number three of my philosophical trilogy concerning the role of imagination (in games = ‘Imaginary Games’, in science = ‘The Mythology of Evolution, in ethics = ‘Chaos Ethics’).

Hope to cross paths soon, but when and where remains shrouded in mystery. :)

By: Nick Brown Tue, 07 Feb 2012 04:58:17 +0000 Hahaha, loving your perspective on this. Somehow I missed that particular bit of link bait (and I’m glad of it). Besides it was much more entertaining to read your summary and subsequent ripping apart of this bit of “news”.

By: Darius Kazemi Tue, 07 Feb 2012 00:59:07 +0000 Indeed! As Ben notes above, my article was highly influenced by Bruno Latour. A great, relevant quote from his Compositionist Manifesto:

In the Fall of 2009, critiques and proponents of anthropogenic climate
change realized, by sifting through the thousands of emails of the climate scientists
stolen by activists of dubious pedigrees, that the scientific facts of the matter had to
be constructed, and by whom? by humans! Squabbling humans assembling data,
refining instruments to make the climate speak (instruments! can you believe
that!), and spotty data sets (data sets! imagine that…), and those scientists had
money problems (grants!) and they had to massage, write, correct and rewrite
humble texts and articles (what? texts to be written? is science really made of texts,
how shocking!)… What I found so ironic in the hysterical reactions of scientists
and the press was the almost complete agreement of opponents and proponents of
the anthropogenic origin of climate change. They all seem to share the same
idealistic view of Science (capital S): “If it slowly composed, it cannot be true” said
the skeptics; “If we reveal how it is composed, said the proponents, it will be
discussed, thus disputable, thus it cannot be true either!”. After about thirty years
of work in science studies, it is more than embarrassing to see that scientists had
no better epistemology to rebut their adversaries. They kept using the old
opposition between what is constructed and what is not constructed, instead of the
slight but crucial difference between what is well and what is badly constructed (or
composed). And this pseudo “revelation” was made at the very moment when the
disputability of the most important tenets of what it means for billions of humans
represented by their heads of states to live collectively on the Planet was fully
visible, in the vast pandemonium of the biggest diplomatic jamboree ever
assembled… While it was the ideal moment to connect the disputability of politics
with the disputability of science (small s)—instead of trying to maintain, despite the
evidence, the usual gap between, on the one hand, what is politics and can be
discussed, and, on the other hand, a Science of what is “beyond dispute”.

By: Chris Tue, 07 Feb 2012 00:43:15 +0000 “But it was an art, not a science. Which, again, nothing wrong with that — except that the black boxes that I generated were being treated as science rather than as art.”

Ha ha! My audience models are exactly the same in this regard – although because they’re *inspired* by science, they tend to (as I say) “smell like science”, so they get treated as if they are worthy of some kind of twisted empirical respect.

The thing is, even science is an art not a science. The only sciences that function as we expect “Big S” ‘Science’ to function are those that have ceased to be live research areas and become prescriptions for technology e.g. optics. All other science is art masquerading as science (or perhaps even magic masquerading as science). But we live in an age that thinks science is a hugely successful endeavour, rather than a label we selectively attach to the successful elements of our technological research programmes. Go figure.

It’s a funny old world… but I kind of like the nutty ol’ thing. ;)


By: Ben Abraham Tue, 07 Feb 2012 00:21:13 +0000 That was fantastic, Darius. So many good and sensible ideas in there I don’t know where to begin, and the Latourian influence is strong with this one.