Creationists: the greatest skeptics of our age

It’s fun to watch fundamentalist creationists descend into Humean skepticism. Hume, the most hardboiled skeptic of all time (since the eighteenth century anyway), pointed out that we can’t really say that anything caused anything else. You can doubt anything. Did that billiard ball cause that other one it just hit to move? No. You can’t prove it. It could be just a startling coincidence. There is no proof ever for any empirical causal effect, anywhere at anytime. Bummer. Of course, creationists love that fact, because they get to use that method against evolution! (They only use Humean skepticism when it’s quite convenient of course—unlike Hume they would never apply it to their own interests)! Continue reading Creationists: the greatest skeptics of our age

Fleck on how science works: beyond H0 testing, Part II

Fleck is not a name that jumps to mind when you do a cursory flip through the ‘Philosophers of Science’ channels. Yet, he seems to exemplify the best overview of what science does, more than any of the usual philosopher of science suspects. Ludwik Fleck published a book (in German) called, The Genesis and Development of a Scientific Fact in 1935, the same year as Popper’s The Logic of Scientific Discovery. However, despite rage reviews, and much more successful initial reception than Popper’s book, it faded into obscurity. The world was still enamored with the hypo-deductive fiction that science had game-faced onto its discourse, and it would not be until Thomas Kuhn wrote his Structure of Scientific Revolutions, that Fleck’s work would indirectly enter the mainstream. And indirectly because Kuhn did not acknowledge Fleck’s influence until years later when Fleck was finally published in English (1979). Continue reading Fleck on how science works: beyond H0 testing, Part II

FYI: Dr. Eugenie Scott to speak at BYU and UVU

THE DEPARTMENT OF BIOLOGY of Brigham Young University Seminar Series with Utah Valley University

Will present:

DR. EUGENIE SCOTT

From the National Center for Science Education

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Seminar Presentation Q&A with Graduate Students Utah Valley University* 274 MARB, BYU 12:00 noon-1:00 pm 3:00-4:00 pm

From Wikipedia:

Eugenie Carol Scott . . . → Read More: FYI: Dr. Eugenie Scott to speak at BYU and UVU

What is Science? Them ol’ hypo-deductive blues: Part I

What is science? There is no short answer. It is not, as some, even some scientists, claim just this: Continue reading What is Science? Them ol’ hypo-deductive blues: Part I

Evolution by natural selection: as fundamental as 2 + 2 = 4

Suppose someone handed you five random playing cards and you wanted to sort them in numerical order. What would you do? Why, you would use the Shell Straight Insertion method of course. Which means you take out the i_th (1st, 2nd, so on) card and place it in order relative to the card next to it. You repeat this until all your cards are in order. It always works. If you follow this procedure, you will have sorted cards in your hand in no time. If you doubt me try it. You’ve probably done it unconsciously if you play cards and you wanted them ordered in your hand. It always works, not because it is a law, but because it’s something even more fundamental. It’s an a priori principle. One can imagine a universe where different laws held, but one cannot imagine a universe where this did not work. This algorithm is based only the properties of integers and what it means to order them. Like sufficient reason, it underlies logic, not the physical facts of the universe. You can imagine a universe where gravity did not exist, but it would be hard to find one in which 2 + 2 did not equal 4. Continue reading Evolution by natural selection: as fundamental as 2 + 2 = 4