philosophy of science

The Scientific Activist

Category archives for philosophy of science

As mentioned here previously, the stimulus package passed in February includes funds to encourage evidence-based medicine. Some uninformed critics will claim that this is some big government conspiracy to exert socialized control over private medicine. But, truly, encouraging a firmer empirical basis in all aspects of medicine–through more studies, government guidelines, and just improved common…

Recently, I wrote about how raising the specter of “Darwinism” as a reason for people’s lack of acceptance of evolution is totally irrelevant. But, Faith in Honest Doubt now has a much more entertaining (and quantitative) metaphorical smack down of the idea. Check it out.

Science for a Brave New World

On Monday, I attended an interesting lecture sponsored by the 21st Century School here in Oxford entitled “What Is Science For?”. You can see a discussion on the event here and read a pdf summary of it here. The lecture was co-presented by scientist John Sulston and philosopher John Harris, and it was introduced by…

Storm World: Hurricanes, Politics, and the Battle Over Global Warming by Chris Mooney Harcourt: 2007, 400 pages. Buy now! (Amazon) At 2:09 am on September 13, 2007, Hurricane Humberto made landfall just east of Galveston, Texas–still the site of the deadliest natural disaster in US history, the Galveston Hurricane of 1900. With maximum sustained winds…

Earlier this year, Malcolm Gladwell wrote an article for The New Yorker called “Open Secrets” in which he discussed the distinction between two types of problems: what he called “puzzles”, which are simpler, and “mysteries”, which are more complex. Building on the work of national security expert Gregory Treverton, he wrote: “Osama bin Laden’s whereabouts…

New SPUSA Blog

Student Pugwash USA (SPUSA), an organization that encourages the inclusion of social responsibility considerations in our scientific dialogue, has started a new blog called MindFull. The blog has already tackled a variety of issues from “ethical stem cells” to defense policy, and it should be an interesting source of information and commentary.

For such a small planet (or non-planet now), Pluto sure has been making waves the last couple of weeks. I haven’t really weighed in and instead deferred to the experts. I’m not going to really say much now either, but, hell, I’ll admit it. I’m going to miss Pluto. A lot. Losing Pluto shakes the…

It has been known officially since 2002 that the sciences are hard, and, as much as we scientists love it when our friends and family tell us how smart and wonderful we must be since they could never understand what we do… is this elevated position going to cost us in the end? Big time?…

Scientists as Poets

On the surface, science and poetry seem as distant from each other as the Republican Party and good science policy. And, in a large part they are. While both strive for a deeper understanding of the world around us, one avoids the subjective like the plague, while the other embraces it almost exclusively. However, as…

This week’s Nature features a news article and editorial about Francis Collins–director of the US National Human Genome Research Institute–whose new book The Language of God advocates reconciliation between science and religion. Although the status of science in America could be improved by lessening religious anti-science hostility, and we’re generally much better off in general…