If this is what you think science is, it's easy to see how you've fallen for the fallacy that it's all "just a story."
Science describes the world. If anything, critical theory affects the world more than science.
Hogwash. Critical theory (which is neither) has produced no disease cures, nor any atomic bombs -- both of which have affected the world more than any work of Derrida or Baudrillard. There are thousands of people dead today who wouldn't otherwise be dead were it not for science's invention of the atomic bomb. Conversely, the are millions of people alive today who wouldn't otherwise be if it weren't for science's discovery of penicillin. Critical theory has produced no such inventions, and would be incapable of doing so.
People view their world through stories. How people understand their stories affects how they behave in the world. People's behavior in the world changes it.
Undoubtedly. But the changes people make in the world -- the ones that last, anyway -- usually have little to do with the content of the stories they believe.
Consider Newton. He believed in the story of a mechanistic God who ordered His creation according to certain inalterable rules. This belief led Newton to postulate his laws of motion and gravitation. But it also led him to postulate a lot of mystical boondoggle that few people today believe in anymore. In fact, the mystical boondoggle comprised the bulk of Newton's published work. In spite of this, it is his laws of motion and gravitation that stay with us today. Why?
The critical theory answer would be that male-dominant Judeo-Christian European rationalism was "privileged" over other stories, and became the ruling paradigm through force and colonialism. And indeed, that is part of the answer. But another part (and the most important part, I think) is that regardless of what Newton or anyone else believed or why they believed it, the planets and comets really do move (to within a high degree of precision) they way Newton predicted they would. And in order for his ideas to be accepted as scientific laws, his evidence had to be good enough to convince people who believed different meta-narratives than him, such as Hindus, Muslims or atheists. Which is exactly what happened.
Ultimately, Newton's laws stand or fall on the evidence alone, not the "story" he believed or the reason he believed it.
Science, ideally, only seeks to describe the world (universe, what have you) that exists whether we understand it or not.
Nope. If science only described the world as it is, it'd have not gotten much far beyond Aristotle, and we'd all still be walking around in togas saying, "tossed rocks fall to earth because that is their nature." Indeed, it'd have not even gotten that far.
Science seeks to understand the world, and apply that understanding in the service of changing the world. Also, seeking new and deeper insights previously un-thought of, and previously unthinkable. Science is partially descriptive, yes, but it is also investigative, active and progressive.
With a merely descriptive science, we'd be stuck in the Stone Age, and there would be no books or language for critical theorists to analyze, let alone any computers for them to spread their ideas with.
Of course, this is naive, as science is interpreted and applied by engineering, which is another human activity that changes the world. Though engineering, in principle, cannot change science, while critical theory can be changed by literature.
If anything's naive, it's your understanding (or rather, lack thereof) of science. Science is not mere engineering, though engineering is a science. And engineering leads to changes in both the theoretical and practical nature of science all the time, and vice versa. Without physics, there'd be no engineering, and without engineering, there'd be no new physics. The same reciprocal relationship is true of all other applications of science -- biology to medicine and back again, for example (or even biology to medicine to engineering to physics and back again).
Science is not mere narrative. Narrative plays a role, that is true. But the crux of science comes in the conflict of narratives, when a researcher is confronted with two or more narratives (read: theories) which are mutually exclusive and cannot both be true.
When critical theory reaches this point of conflict, it simply declares that all narratives are equally true (or false), and that there is no objective method of determining their truth or falsehood. And if we're talking about works of literature, that's a valid enough point.
But when we're talking about something that has life or death consequences for real human beings -- say, the diagnosis and treatment of disease -- then the critical theory approach is useless. Is the person's suffering caused by a virus, or demonic possession? Both theories are narratives, but they are not equally true. Indeed one of them -- demonic possession -- is patently false, and another of them -- viral infection -- is demonstrably true. We know this (among other reasons) because penicillin has a better cure rate than exorcism.
And we discovered penicillin because scientists were (and are) continuously throwing competing narratives against each other, confronting them with evidence, and offering their conclusions up to people who are determined to prove them wrong.
And that's the fundamental nature of science -- the confrontation of theory with skepticism and evidence. Science regularly subjects its theories to criticism (and I mean real criticism, not critical theory), and isn't afraid to be proven wrong. Indeed, proving wrong a long-held idea leads to new insights, and those who successfully disprove long-held ideas are accorded science's highest honors.
Which has had a greater affect on your life -- critical theory, which stimulates your mind; or the innoculations you received as an infant, which markedly improved your chances of survival in a world full of viruses, and thus allowed you to be around to contemplate critical theory in the first place?
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