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Philosophy of Science


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Scientific Objectivity

Naturalism

Creationism

The Scientific Establishment

Historical vs. Operational Science

Science and the Supernatural

     


Philosophy of science:  The philosophical discipline dealing with the assumptions, methodology and implications of science.

The several myths about science.

  1.  Scientists are unbiased observers.

  2. They use the scientific method to confirm or falsify their theories.

  3. They have no preconceptions in collecting data and deriving theories.

  4. Science is self-correcting because scientists readily abandon theories, when they don’t fit the facts.

 The problem is this view of science is wrong.

Busting this myth is quite simple because data itself can not confirm or falsify theories. This is because data is somewhat subjective in practice because it is not self interpreting. It needs to be interpreted through a theoretical system. Furthermore the scientific method is a generalization of how science is suppose to work it is not a fixed rule.

In addition scientists have often shown tremendous loyalty to their theories. The Steady State Cosmology is a classic example of this since some its original adherents are still holding out. Finally their theories are always influenced by philosophical assumptions.


Assumptions

Doing science requires making starting assumptions, this necessary for it work because our knowledge is incomplete. It is also contrary to the myth of Scientists having no preconceptions. So the results of scientific inquiry are greatly influenced by starting assumptions and having wrong starting assumptions results in wrong theories. Some basic assumptions of science are as follows, while they are normally taken for granted they are still assumptions

  1. That the Universe can be understood.

  2. That it is governed by certain rules.  - Laws of Nature.

  3. That these laws apply everywhere.


Demarcation

The big question of philosophy of Science is “What is science?”  This is not as easy a question to answer as it may seem because Science dose not fit easily into a box because it is simply impossible to draw a clear line between science and non-science because there is too much overlap between them.

The accepted key concepts of Science are observation, falsification and repeatability. Unfortunately even these are not absolute because not everything fits into them.  Not everything in universe can be seen such as atoms, subatomic particles, black holes and dark mater. Some things can not be tested such as an unbounded universe and the Cosmological Principle. Some things can not be repeated such as the origin of life, and the origin of the universe it self.

Part of the problem is the desire on the part of the scientific establishment to eliminate from science areas they don’t like such as Creation Science, and Intelligent design.

So the question of  “What is science?” remains an open question.


 

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