Philosophy of Science

Category archives for Philosophy of Science

…Or “What I’ve been up to for the last week or so.” Last week was a busy travel week. I was in West Virginia for the first half of the week, on a whirlwind tour of the Morgantown area, speaking in the geology department at West Virginia University, then twice at a symposium on science…

Hughes asks the Question of the Year?

Virginia Hughes, once the benevolent overlord here at Scienceblogs, asks the Question of the Year: What is Life, Anyway? She notes that many of the major scientific discoveries or advances of the year hinged on that question, and this month’s Astrobiology has a series of essays on the state of our understanding. She explains: Is…

Who is a scientist?

T. Ryan Gregory asks this important question: Who is a scientist? It’s a followup to a post titled: “Graduate students are not professional scientists. Discuss,” which – briefly – argued that grad students are scientists in training, not yet scientists-full-stop. In the later post, he explains: Here are the criteria I threw out off-handedly for…

Deserving of special attention

John Fleck, a superstar science journalist whose work on water in the southwest is consistently brilliant, has some sage thoughts on the Problem With Science Journalism: In the newspaper this week, I took a whack at what I think is one of the fundamental public misunderstandings about the nature of science. I like to call…

There are those who say “Not only does the NCSE not criticize religion, but it cuddles up to it, kisses it, and tells it that everything will be all right.” There are others who say: The continuum [between creationism and evolution] as described on the NCSE site strongly implies that ?atheist science is better science?.…

Setbacks in Science

Denyse O’Leary uses Bill Dembski’s blog (and a dozen other ID blogs) to report a comment from a friend about the mission statement for Nature. The mission statement reads: First, to serve scientists through prompt publication of significant advances in any branch of science, and to provide a forum for the reporting and discussion of…

What we know and what we believe

“Truth,” the late philosopher Richard Rorty explained, “is what your contemporaries let you get away with.” It has been observed that his contemporaries did not, as a general proposition, let him get away with that understanding of truth. This comment came to mind not just because Rorty passed away last Friday, but because of the…

Framing and the invisible college

Larry Moran criticizes Coturnix (and by implication Chris Mooney and Matt Nisbett) for their focus on “framing,” as described in Chris and Matt’s paper in Science (behind a paywall, alas): the top three requirements for good science writing are scientific accuracy, scientific accuracy, and scientific accuracy. As soon as you sacrifice the attempt to convey…

This statement is not a tautology

In honor of MarkCC’s latest effort to explain to the deeply egnorant Michael Egnor why the fact that any inferentially true set of statements ? including scientific theories ? can be reformulated as a tautology, I thought I’d crack open Elliot Sober’s excellent Philosophy of Biology, in which he discusses the relevance of the “tautology”…

Defining Science

Misogynistic authoritarian Vox Day requests a definition of science. His commenter suggests: Science – science (s?’?ns) n. – The organized attempt to disprove the existence of God so we can do whatever we want without feeling bad about it. Anyone involved in the arguments over creationism will recognize this sentiment that science is about morality…