During both this week's readings and last weeks, I was interested to learn about the concept of "blackboxing" in Sciece in Action, as a way to describe the process by which certain technologies, ideas, or methods, are eventually cited as fact. Furthermore, it was interesting to learn about how the citation of supposed facts beget such black boxes, and how difficult it can be for a dissenter to "move upstream" from the semi-solidified and much safer positions which are constantly argued in the socio-political arena. Just as with politics, many scientists have the need to support their positions via consensus gaining techniques, which would consist of persuading the widest audience possible in order to establish a credible standing in their field of study.
Another interesting point that Latour makes, is that scientists need to be better at selling their findings, and in some way make people interested in what is being discussed, however, through the process of claims-making, they tend to make inroads towards alienating dissenters by making it extremely difficult to refute or participate in any kind of dialogue, as their findings are communicated as already settled disputes. The ensuing battle to take arguements upstream is seen as both difficult and daunting, which makes the critical inquirer much less likely to continue on the path of uncovering real truths devoid of human interference.
Near the end of the chapter, Latour figuratively takes us into a laboratory, where he outlines a situation where the dissenter must eventually see the facts for himself, instead of blindly accepting papers and following citations which can both be so easily crafted with regard to political bent or social leanings, or in one particular case, the need to derive the "N ray" (which was later proven to be a fabrication unbeknownst to the researcher)--the dissenter has to question each and every individual process or "instrument" which supposedly make measurements accurate, but themselves represent black boxes.
Latour seems to show that refuting scientific claims can either be extremely difficult, or made very easy, depending on which "black boxes" in the chain of logic are found to be innaccurate.