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Author Topic:   An educational angle we all could live with? (Philosophy of Science)
Limbo
Inactive Member


Message 1 of 91 (208089)
05-14-2005 3:00 PM


re-try, since the other thread was closed
Ok, Ill try again since Adminnemooseus abruptly closed the thread I posted this in.

In a nutshell, there is a middle ground which science and religion overlap on: philosophy. This is the key to a long-term solution.

There are at least two balanced ways we could do this. We could do it in a high-school science class or we could do it in a high-school philosophy class. Preferably both.

If in a required science class, we could have one or two weeks out of one semester for the students to learn about the different aspects/history of the philosophy of science. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophy_of_science. In particular teleology.

During this period, students could conduct simple thought and/or lab experiments designed to demonstrate exactly when and how different philosophical approaches to science influence the nature of the scientific theory...and how different approaches can lead to different philosophical interpretations. This is, after all, what this whole mess is about.

This is when the concerns of Darwin critics can be addressed...without it being ABOUT "religion vs. science"...but rather it would be about the philosophical approach Darwin took...and without pointless back-and-forth bickering about the details of this fact or that fact.

If this is done in a required philosophy class instead, then all they need to do is the exact same thing but maybe toss in a field trip down to the lab.

Even better would be a separate class devoted to the philosophy of science.

Mankind could use a dose of philosophy in any event.

This message has been edited by Limbo, 05-15-2005 12:36 AM

{Added link to closure message of other topic. Also added the "(Philosophy of Science)" part to the topic title. - Adminnemooseus}

This message has been edited by Adminnemooseus, 05-15-2005 01:44 PM


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Admin
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Posts: 12705
From: EvC Forum
Joined: 06-14-2002
Member Rating: 1.6


Message 2 of 91 (208339)
05-15-2005 10:08 AM


Thread moved here from the Proposed New Topics forum.

  
CK
Member (Idle past 2684 days)
Posts: 3221
Joined: 07-04-2004


Message 3 of 91 (208340)
05-15-2005 10:21 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Limbo
05-14-2005 3:00 PM


Re: re-try, since the other thread was closed
why would they concentrate on Darwin?

you make it sound like science=evolution=darwin.

When Students already struggle to understand the basics, why are we going to waste time in science classes on such matters?


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ringo
Member
Posts: 18360
From: frozen wasteland
Joined: 03-23-2005
Member Rating: 1.7


Message 4 of 91 (208347)
05-15-2005 11:16 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Limbo
05-14-2005 3:00 PM


Re: re-try, since the other thread was closed
Limbo writes:

...a required science class... a required philosophy class...


Hmm... when I was in high school, way back when, there were no science classes required and no philosophy classes available.

I have no problem with offering a class in the philosophy of science. But most of the "science types" that I knew would not have taken it, and most of the "philosophy types" would not have taken any science classes.

I expect that your approach would produce a lot of philosophers who know little about science and a lot of scientists who know little about philosophy (which is pretty similar to the situation that we have now).


People who think they have all the answers usually don't understand the questions.

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ProfessorR
Inactive Member


Message 5 of 91 (208360)
05-15-2005 12:39 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Limbo
05-14-2005 3:00 PM


Re: re-try, since the other thread was closed
And just what was that "philosophical approach that Darwin undertook?"

Darwin was not a philosopher and never intended to be one. As far as I understand, he was a naturalist who proposed a strictly scientific, empiric theory.

Philosophy does not deal with scientific theories, IMHO. There are no philosophical discussions about the atomic theory of the structure of matter, or about the theory of gravity, or about the theory of electromagnetism, or about the hypothesis (or theory) of clonal selection in immunology, etc.

Philosophy deals with issues like, what exists (ontology), how do we learn about the world and about ourselves (epistemology), what is good and evil (ethics), and what is beautiful (aesthetics). Where do you want to fit the theory of biological evolution?

Best wishes,

Richard


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nator
Member (Idle past 726 days)
Posts: 12961
From: Ann Arbor
Joined: 12-09-2001


Message 6 of 91 (208366)
05-15-2005 1:17 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Limbo
05-14-2005 3:00 PM


No, it's not really about "different philosophical approaches."
quote:
During this period, students could conduct simple thought and/or lab experiments designed to demonstrate exactly when and how different philosophical approaches to science influence the nature of the scientific theory...and how different approaches can lead to different philosophical interpretations. This is, after all, what this whole mess is about.

No, it really isn't about "different philosophical approaches" to science.

It's about usefulness.

What methodology is the most productive and useful in understanding natural phenomena?

For a couple of centuries at least, methodological natrualism has been the presiding methodology of science, and we have seen an incredible pace of advancement in understanding and application of knowledge.

Can you explain how not adhering to methodological naturalism will benefit inquiry and/or not hinder it?

Practical, real world examples would be welcome.

Like, what departure from ME would benefit the field of population genetics in their study of inherited disease resistance?

This message has been edited by schrafinator, 05-15-2005 03:10 PM


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Adminnemooseus
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Message 7 of 91 (208372)
05-15-2005 2:01 PM


Tweeks and Suggestions (Off topic - No replies here please)
As noted at the bottom of message 1, I have added a link to my closure message at the previous topic. There I explain my reasons for doing such. In general, if a topic is a spin-off of another topic, a link to the previous topic is a good thing.

I also added "(Philosophy of Science)" to what was otherwise a pretty vague topic title. I once again try to stress to all: Meaningful topic titles please!

I also note that we currently have a series of messages with the subtitle "Re: re-try, since the other thread was closed". Meaningful subtitles are also a good thing - They help summarize and define the individual messages.

The above suggestions are not just relevant to this topic and its messages - Please also apply them to topics and messages elsewhere.

If you feel the need to reply to this message, please do it at the "General..." topic, link below.

Adminnemooseus


New Members should start HERE to get an understanding of what makes great posts.

Comments on moderation procedures (or wish to respond to admin messages)? - Go to:
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RAZD
Member
Posts: 20714
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 2.0


Message 8 of 91 (208423)
05-15-2005 5:05 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Limbo
05-14-2005 3:00 PM


Other sources please.
The philosophy of science is philosophy. Yes it is about science practices, but is not itself science. In any good discussion of science the methodology is presented, with the scientific method, the principles of falsifiability and parsimony (occam's razor), and the reliance on objective experimental testing and independent repeatability of results.

Perhaps some emphasis should be put on the logic and validity of types of conclusions, just as there should be on the use and misuse of maths.

The wikipedia article looks like it has had several edits done by IDists, imho, and as an open source is not necessarily a good resource for a topic, especially as a single source. Google will also take you to several sites that are {ID\creationist}; this should not be too much of a surprise, because ID is philosophy.

I have used wikipedia myself, but always with a little caution.

please note that you can also look at The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science website for some other (unbiased?) information on this topic
http://www3.oup.co.uk/phisci/scope/default.html
http://bjps.oupjournals.org/current.dtl

I would not be adverse to a class on philosopy of science and logic of rational thought. They might be able to spend a week on ID. ;)

{{added by edit from the wikipedia page}}

As Albert Einstein puts it, "The supreme goal of all theory is to make the irreducible basic elements as simple and as few as possible without having to surrender the adequate representation of a single datum of experience."

Enjoy.

This message has been edited by RAZD, 05*15*2005 05:14 PM


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand

RebelAAmerican.Zen[Deist
{{{Buddha walks off laughing with joy}}}


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mick
Member (Idle past 3543 days)
Posts: 913
Joined: 02-17-2005


Message 9 of 91 (208439)
05-15-2005 5:44 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Limbo
05-14-2005 3:00 PM


philosophy has NOTHING to do with ID
If this is done in a required philosophy class instead, then all they need to do is the exact same thing but maybe toss in a field trip down to the lab.

I'm sorry, but philosophy has nothing to do with biology or theology, and certainly has nothing to do with field trips to the lab. Philosophy is in fact one of the most rationalist enterprises around (philosophers don't just sit around wondering about God). Much modern philosophy is concerned with language and the meaning of utterances. I have no idea why a philosopher would want to bother themselves with ID.

Have you actually read any philosophy? quick example of the kind of things philosophers concern themselves with: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/private-language/ .

edited to change topic title

This message has been edited by mick, 05-15-2005 05:46 PM


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Replies to this message:
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Brad McFall
Member (Idle past 3589 days)
Posts: 3428
From: Ithaca,NY, USA
Joined: 12-20-2001


Message 10 of 91 (208451)
05-15-2005 6:46 PM
Reply to: Message 9 by mick
05-15-2005 5:44 PM


?philosophy has NOTHING to do with ID?
Here is why a philosopher could be interested in ID.
http://www.evcforum.net/cgi-bin/dm.cgi?action=msg&f=15&t=226&m=3#3
quote:
In conclusion, I want to say a few words about the connection of my theory with problems of the Universe (Creation).
One of the definite general conclusions of my theory is, I now believe, as follows.
I managed to prove on a rigorous scientific foundation that, according to the predictions of Galileo, Maxwell, Darwin and other classics of the physical sciences, the known universal laws of nature operate at all level of organization of organic and inorganic matter. I am convinced that these laws predetermine the natural origin and development of living beings in many parts of the Universe. In accordance with the philosophy of the founders of the natural sciences, life (the different forms of its manifestation) is an inalienable component of the evolution of matter.
It follows from the above that the thermodynamic theory leaves no room for creationism, unless, of course, it is only the creation of living beings that is associated with this notion (this sometimes happens). This does not mean, however, that science is omnipotent and that it leaves no reasonable niche to spirituality – faith and religion, which cannot be scientifically substantiated. If the term “creationism” designates the religious doctrine of the divine creation of the “initial, once arisen” World, the dispute between such “religious creationism” and science can hardly be settled. In any case, for people, including educated persons, there is no definite (concrete) answer to the question “How did the World originate and why do these universal laws of nature, introduced from the outside and known to us, exist?” Such questions are also unlikely to be answered in any definite way!


In writing down the “history”/development of the ‘Gladyshev law’ Dr. Gladyshev concludes that given two conditions he narrates regardless of religion/spirituality that is never going to be scientifically substantiated the new use of Gibbs’ specific thought to phenomenological thermodyanmcs lead to a notion of the “creation of living beings that is associated” with known universal laws that operate at all levels of organization, organic and inorganic in which some creationism admittedly could exist thereat.

The two conditions on which this synthesis of creation and evolution (asked historically by the difference of Darwin and Lamark in this reading/writing) are

quote:
First, one wanted to try and comprehend the process of the origin and formation of structural hierarchies within the framework of approximate quasi-equilibrium models (condition 1). Second, and this appeared difficult, there was need to find a way (providing it existed) to identify quasi-closed systems – subsystems in open living systems (condition 2).
These two conditions had to be met to make a full use, even with a certain approximation, of the methods of equilibrium thermodynamics – its variation principles.

Frolich’s book enables one to reconstruct dielectrics from the molecular properties of the macro substance composing the strucuture. If it is possible to show that the plant cell torus IS a dielectric, then specific sets of times would be suggestable in which the g-law operates in ontogeny and (phylogeny )such that the architect of such, would; have means to design extensions of the first condition given further evolution of the intelligence if the creationism IS still not out of culture with the any spirit in the participants. Of course the work could be done by evolutionists that incidentally could STILL support a clinamatic reality of creation motived thought.

If the whole world of philosophers is waiting for one man, me, to produce this, that is their mistake. This is a clear possibility to ameliorate differences of creationism and ID and at the same time not diss evolutionary progress. Biologists could welcome work by philosophers as it has been found by some that attempts to do philosophy of biology for the benefit of biology has not really helped out biology much. Gould has a little bit of a different take on this concept. What is blocking this seems to be reliance on prior conceptions about separating epistemology and ontology (as in Salthe’s “Evolving Hierarchical Systems”) before delineations of quasi-closed processed boundaries are agreed to with the general move to hierarchicalize evolutionary thought. Philosophers at least could correct that mistake and so open up the discipline of physical teleology moderated by different approaches to how these former contingencies are not longer such but rather incident on the more enveloped structure of evolutionary theory and a mediated difference of creationism and ID. This broad perspective if surving eliminates many rabbit trails of the creation/evolution discussion.


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Replies to this message:
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Limbo
Inactive Member


Message 11 of 91 (208498)
05-15-2005 9:44 PM


Wow, excellent responces so far, thank you everyone :)

Ill work my way down.

quote:
you make it sound like science=evolution=darwin.

Well, put it that way, I guess what I'm saying is science + philosophical naturalism = Darwinism. By the same token, I would say that science + teleology = ID.

quote:
I expect that your approach would produce a lot of philosophers who know little about science and a lot of scientists who know little about philosophy (which is pretty similar to the situation that we have now)

Initially it would require alot of cooperation between the science and philosophy departments...but everyone would win in the end. And there are probably alot of out-of-work philosophers who would love the opportunity :)

quote:
As far as I understand, he was a naturalist who proposed a strictly scientific, empiric theory.

Yes but in practical, everyday terms a strickly naturalist approach produces a strickly naturalist philosophical truth in the end. This philosophical truth (Darwinism) then claims to have the weight of objective science behind it...thus eliminating any reasonable, emperical, scientific, socially acceptable basis for a non-materialist philosophy to base a worldview on.

quote:
What methodology is the most productive and useful in understanding natural phenomena?

There is only one way to find out. Science has come along way, it is illogical to limit it for so long.

quote:
For a couple of centuries at least, methodological natrualism has been the presiding methodology of science, and we have seen an incredible pace of advancement in understanding and application of knowledge.

Science has come along way over the last couple of centuries. But is all of that exclusively due to naturalism? Teleolgists deserve a great deal of credit, it seems.

quote:
Can you explain how not adhering to methodological naturalism will benefit inquiry and/or not hinder it?

The fear that ID, if let under the umbrella of science, would harm science is a scare tactic. The Darwinian leadership knows that examining a teleological approach could undermine Darwinism, which would in turn harm their anti-religion agenda.

The distinction between the different approaches only becomes plain when dealing with origin questions.

It would benefit science because it would spur competition. Competition between Darwin interpretations of evidence, and ID interpretations of evidence. Each would strive to make solid contributions, and who knows what advances would result. Monopoly = bad, competition = good. Let them try to falsify each other. Without one, the other is unable to be falsified and hence unscientific anyway. Yin and Yang.

quote:
I would not be adverse to a class on philosopy of science and logic of rational thought. They might be able to spend a week on ID.

Ill be first in line! ;)

This message has been edited by Limbo, 05-15-2005 09:48 PM


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MangyTiger
Member (Idle past 4910 days)
Posts: 989
From: Leicester, UK
Joined: 07-30-2004


Message 12 of 91 (208516)
05-15-2005 10:57 PM
Reply to: Message 11 by Limbo
05-15-2005 9:44 PM


The Darwinian leadership knows that examining a teleological approach could undermine Darwinism, which would in turn harm their anti-religion agenda.

Would you care to enlighten us with the identity of the "Darwinian leadership" and perhaps give us a link to their manifesto or some other document in which this "anti-religion agenda" is detailed ?

Or is it a secret society so you're not able to give us names and positions of authority ?


09/04/05 - Sharks attacked
30/04/05 - Wasps swatted
14/05/05 - More of the same ?

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PaulK
Member
Posts: 16338
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 1.7


Message 13 of 91 (208530)
05-16-2005 2:39 AM
Reply to: Message 11 by Limbo
05-15-2005 9:44 PM


There is a difference between giving credit to people who happen to believe in teleology and giving credit to teleology itself.

The fundamental problem with ID is that it is primarily a political movement and secondarily religious apologetics. The scientific content - such as there is - exists only to support the real objectives.

Would it harm science to misrepresent it in classrooms ? I say it would.

Would it harm science if it were to be twisted into "supporting" theological conclusions. Of course it would.

But that is what the ID movement wants. ID definitely would harm science.


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Dr Cresswell
Inactive Member


Message 14 of 91 (208589)
05-16-2005 10:03 AM
Reply to: Message 3 by CK
05-15-2005 10:21 AM


Waste of time?
quote:
When Students already struggle to understand the basics, why are we going to waste time in science classes on such matters?

I think the inclusion of a limited amount of philosophy/history of science within the science curriculum is an excellent idea. Precisely because, if done reasonably well, I believe it will actually help students get to grips with science. Philosophy of Science is the basics; at the moment most students pick up what philosphy of science they get in a distinctly ad hoc fashion.

Do you actually think it harms a students education to be taught what a hypotheses and theories are? A run through positivism, falsificationism and Kuhnian paradigms would put a lot of scientific development in context. OK, if your science lesson consists of the teacher giving you instructions to do an experiment you probably don't need to understand why the experiment is designed that way, but surely it must help. And, experimental design depends to a large extent upon underlying philosophical assumptions - the specific theories and prior observations that led to that experiment, and beyond that questions of what a positive or negative outcome would indicate in the broader scheme of things.

Though I agree with you, concentrating on Darwin (even mentioning evolution) wouldn't help much. There are probably far better examples of different philosophical approaches to science that illustrate the principles more clearly, and without the baggage evolution tends to drag around with it.


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nator
Member (Idle past 726 days)
Posts: 12961
From: Ann Arbor
Joined: 12-09-2001


Message 15 of 91 (208591)
05-16-2005 10:15 AM
Reply to: Message 11 by Limbo
05-15-2005 9:44 PM


What methodology is the most productive and useful in understanding natural phenomena?

quote:
There is only one way to find out. Science has come along way, it is illogical to limit it for so long.

But science WAS limited for a long time.

Remember what happened to Galileo?

For a couple of centuries at least, methodological naturalism has been the presiding methodology of science, and we have seen an incredible pace of advancement in understanding and application of knowledge.

quote:
Science has come along way over the last couple of centuries. But is all of that exclusively due to naturalism? Teleolgists deserve a great deal of credit, it seems.

Well, Galileo wasn't persecuted by naturalists, was he?

Can you explain how not adhering to methodological naturalism will benefit inquiry and/or not hinder it?

quote:
The fear that ID, if let under the umbrella of science, would harm science is a scare tactic.

Please explain how not adhering to methodological naturalism will benefit inquiry.

quote:
The Darwinian leadership knows that examining a teleological approach could undermine Darwinism, which would in turn harm their anti-religion agenda.

Please explain how not adhering to methodological naturalism will benefit inquiry.

quote:
The distinction between the different approaches only becomes plain when dealing with origin questions.

Then why on Earth are you talking about Darwin and Evolutionary Biology?

What you want to do is argue with the Biochemists, because they are the ones dealing with the origins of life.

Evolutionary Biologists only deal with life once it got here, not how it got here in the first place.

quote:
It would benefit science because it would spur competition.

OK.

What is your scientific Theory of ID? Remember, it needs to be falsifiable, it needs to make testable predictions, and it needst to have positive evidence to support it.

What you are proposing when you advocate not adhering to methodological naturalism in scientific inquiry would actually be a complete reversal of the fundamental tenets of how science is done.

I would like you to explain to me how you justify such a complete turnaround, seeing as how when we used to have to include the supernatural in science, we din't quite see the results and advancement that we have enjoyed once we started using Methodological Naturalism.

How would inquiry benefit by letting in supernatural explanations?

For example, if a scientist is able to point to a phenomena and say "this was Intelligently Designed", what does that mean?

Does that mean that we aren't allowed to keep studying it, just in case we might find that it really wasn't Intelligently Designed, but a product of natural mechanisms?

Or, does it mean that we are not allowed to ask the question, "What is this Intelligent Designer? Where is it? By what mechanism does it design things?"

quote:
Competition between Darwin interpretations of evidence, and ID interpretations of evidence.

Well, that's easy. MN wins, hands down.

ID doesn't make any testable predictions, but Evolutionary Biology certainly does, and has, for 150 years. And nearly all of them have been borne out.

quote:
Each would strive to make solid contributions, and who knows what advances would result.

Nobody is stopping the ID folks from doing science but them.

Go ahead, test your predictions and see what happens.

quote:
Monopoly = bad, competition = good.

I agree.

Methodological Naturalism in science was adopted precisely because it allows for the most competition.

quote:
Let them try to falsify each other. Without one, the other is unable to be falsified and hence unscientific anyway. Yin and Yang.

Um, no, that's not right.

The Theory of Evolution is quite falsifiable all on it's own.

What are the falsifications of ID Theory?

Do you even have a testable Theory of ID?

This message has been edited by schrafinator, 05-16-2005 10:26 AM


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