Safety and the Myth of Scientific Method

As part of a disposition towards Transdisciplinarity ( is the need for those in the Western tradition of Scientism to be prepared to give validity to other ways of knowing other than Behaviourism-Engineering. This is a great challenge for anyone supposing that they do safety ‘differently’ or innovate in safety. If one maintains the same worldview/paradigm as traditional safety, it is unlikely that any methods that follow will be ‘different’. This also means being prepared to give validity to Indigenous ways of knowing, Semiotic and Poetic thinking, Spiritual thinking and other traditions (eg. Eastern Religions, Yoga etc.).

By the way, there is a great deal of research demonstrating that even the construction of ‘scientific objectivity’ and the ‘scientific method’ are myth. Further, read here:

  • Kuhn, T., (1962) The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Uni of Chicago Press, Chicago. the ‘scientific method’, that Scientism adores, is just another biased construct of a
  • E., (1976) Metaphor and Myth in Science and Religion. Duke University Press. Durham.
  • Midgley, M., (1992). Science as Salvation, A Modern Myth and Its Meaning.   New York.
  • Bauer, H., (1994). Scientific Literacy and the Myth of the Scientific Method. University of Illinois Press.  New York.
  • Shamos, M., (1995). The Myth of Scientific Literacy. Rutgers University Press. New Brunswick.
  • Kuhn, T., (2000) The Road Since Structure. University of Chicago Press, Chicago.
  • Dobson, G., (2005) A Chaos of Delight. Science, Religion and Myth and the Shaping of Western Thought. Equinox,
  • Chalmers, A., (2013). What is This Thing Called Science? Sydney.
  • Chada, G., and Thomas, R., (eds.,) (2023) Mapping Scientific Method, Disciplinary Narrations. Routledge,

As far back as Kuhn in 1962, there has been much research demonstrating that the linguistics of Science and its discourse are socially constructed. Indeed, the assumptions accepted by Scientism remain unquestioned particularly, in the risk and safety industry. In many ways this bias holds safety back from learning.

The research, particularly in the field of medicine, mental health, psychosocial health (not hazards) and well-being, is overwhelming regarding the effectiveness of non-propositional knowing (behaviourist-engineering) when it comes to risk, learning and resilience. The work by Samuels (Healing with the Mind’s Eye (2003) and many others, document research on the effectiveness of traditions in non-western medicine when it comes to psychosocial health. Even the naming of psychosocial health as a ‘hazard’ by risk and safety, demonstrates complete ignorance of many disciplines associated with mental health.

Of course, it is telling, when one reads so called books on culture in risk and safety, that have is no mention of religion. Such is the fixation of the risk and safety industry on the myths of safety and Scientism (Behaviourism and Engineering). The reality is, there are other valid ways of knowing. It is absurd in the extreme to think one would seek to discuss culture with no expertise in Anthropology or Religion. I know, let’s not talk about it, that’s the way of Safety.

One of the amusing characteristics of the AIHS Body of Knowledge is the narrow way it thinks about risk. Indeed, the latest chapter on research ( demonstrates the same ignorance of Transdisciplinary ways of knowing. There is very little in this chapter of any relevance to research or research methods. It’s just more of Scientism, Behaviourism and Engineering knowing, that offers very little for a wholistic understanding of risk. When one is anchored to the ideology is zero and the fixation of measurement, there is little interest in non-propositional knowing. I know, let’s just deem it ‘anti-safety’.

One of the first things to do if one wants to practice safety differently, is to step away from the mono-disciplinary worldview of safety. When it comes to: persons, ethics, moral responsibility, social meaning, the ecology of resilience, psychosocial health, culture, personhood, helping and relationships, the safety worldview has little to offer of value.

In SPoR, we hold to a different worldview than Safety. This worldview has just as valid a position as that constructed by Scientism, Behaviourism or Engineering. There are valid and alternative ways of tackling risk that are practical, positive and doable that work ( that don’t require a Safety worldview. For example, when you read the world of Resilience Engineering, there is nothing different, it’s the same worldview as Safety.

There are also ways of understanding culture that give validity to Anthropology and Religion. We offer these in the study of SPoR. There are other valid ways of knowing than the ‘safety way’ and they are not anti-safety but pro-safety.

If this interests you there are some options.

You could register for studies with Dr Nippin Anand in London 20-22 March (

 You can register for a Zoom introduction to SPoR with Matt Thorne

 You can register for the SPoR Convention in May in Canberra

Or do the free Intro to SPoR and Due Diligence here: Free SPoR Intro; Free Due Diligence –


Image by KamranAydinov on Freepik


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