Knowing

epistemology, science, kinds of knowledge, methodology

Progress

Emil Brunner in Christianity and Civilization (1948) wrote: “the popular belief that the idea of evolution and progress was first worked out within natural science, and thence affected the conception of history, is false. The reverse is true: the idea has been transplanted from an evolutionary conception of history into natural science. Lamarck and Darwin are not […]

Progress Read More »

Scientific history

The discipline of history investigates what actually happened in the past as far as that is known from records or other evidence.  Scientific history is what could have happened in the past without being inconsistent with the data or laws of science.  Note the difference: scientific history is about possibilities; real history is about actualities. Scientific history

Scientific history Read More »

Time and biological diversity

Based on the standard biological taxonomy here is a logarithmic model of the relationship between the time it takes life to reach the diversity that is observed today and possible positions on the lowest rank of the initial taxa of life, which I shall call prototypes. Prototypes of the species rank would take tens of years to arrive

Time and biological diversity Read More »

Undetermination and dependence

The underdetermination of scientific theory is well-known in the philosophy of science.  It comes down to the fact that if theory A implies fact B and fact B is observed that does not logically confirm theory A.  Without multiple controlled experiments to isolate causation (which can only be done some cases), there is no logical confirmation of

Undetermination and dependence Read More »

Semi-transformism

In the late 18th and early 19th century several proposals were made such as Lamarck’s that species were transformed into new species.  This culminated in Darwin’s theory that all species were transformed from other species (hence there is common descent).  In the 19th century creationists continued to hold to a non-transformist view that all species

Semi-transformism Read More »

Biblical realism

Philosophical realism basically means that the objects of ordinary perception exist independently of our minds.  We apprehend objects independent of our understanding what happened or how they got here.  This common-sense realism is assumed by most people but denied by most philosophers since Descartes. Observations of objects do not need interpretation for us to record that something is

Biblical realism Read More »

Truth and utility

Ancient science was focused on truth, not utility.  It was elitist and unconcerned with helping improve the life of ordinary people.  Pure mathematics retains this attitude with its unconcern for applications, leaving that to others. Modern science grew out of the Renaissance and original humanist movement (not to be confused with the contemporary humanist movement). 

Truth and utility Read More »

Trichotomy

The strangest thing about the creation-evolution debate is that it is a trichotomy, not a dichotomy.  There are three basic views and the historical creationist position is hardly known today. The traditional (ancient, really) creation theory is that the world is the same as it was when first created.  There has been no significant change

Trichotomy Read More »

Science and simplicity

Scientific methodology makes extreme simplicity (or parsimony) a key quality of a hypothesis or theory. One flaw in this is that there are multiple kinds of simplicity. The cultural milieu then becomes the arbitrator of which kind of simplicity is preferred. Historically, one version of simplicity becomes dominant until another version overthrows it. Then it

Science and simplicity Read More »

A sensible biologist

Some sensible thoughts and observations from an evolutionary biologist: The Folly of Scientism by Austin L. Hughes, Carolina Distinguished Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of South Carolina. http://www.thenewatlantis.com/publications/the-folly-of-scientism A few excerpts: All too many of my contemporaries in science have accepted without question the hype that suggests that an advanced degree in some

A sensible biologist Read More »