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Moreover, even if we can be confident that our universe has unchanging physical laws — which many of the new speculative cosmologies call into question — how is it that we “mere collections of particles” are able to discern those laws? How can we be confident that we will continue to discern them better, until we understand them fully? A common response to these questions invokes what has become the catch-all explanatory tool of advocates of scientism: evolution. W. V. O. Quine was one of the first modern philosophers to apply evolutionary concepts to epistemology, when he argued in (1969) that natural selection should have favored the development of traits in human beings that lead us to distinguish truth from falsehood, on the grounds that believing false things is detrimental to fitness. More recently, scientific theories themselves have come to be considered the objects of natural selection. For example, philosopher Bastiaan C. van Fraassen argued in his 1980 book :
Scientists never claim that a hypothesis is "proved" in a strict sense (but sometimes this is quite legitimately claimed when using popular language), because proof is something found only in mathematics and logic, disciplines in which all logical parameters or constraints can be defined, and something that is not true in the natural world. Scientists prefer to use the word "corroborated" rather than "proved," but the meaning is essentially the same. A highly corroborated hypothesis becomes something else in addition to reliable knowledge--it becomes a scientific fact. This type of reliable knowledge is the closest that humans can come to the "truth" about the universe (I put the word "truth" in quotation marks because there are many different kinds of truth, such as logical truth, emotional truth, religious truth, legal truth, philosophical truth, etc.; it should be clear that this essay deals with scientific truth, which, while certainly not the sole truth, is nevertheless the best truth humans can possess about the natural world).
Essay developing scientific attitude
f philosophy is regarded as a legitimate and necessary discipline, then one might think that a certain degree of philosophical training would be very useful to a scientist. Scientists ought to be able to recognize how often philosophical issues arise in their work — that is, issues that cannot be resolved by arguments that make recourse solely to inference and empirical observation. In most cases, these issues arise because practicing scientists, like all people, are prone to philosophical errors. To take an obvious example, scientists can be prone to errors of elementary logic, and these can often go undetected by the peer review process and have a major impact on the literature — for instance, confusing correlation and causation, or confusing implication with a biconditional. Philosophy can provide a way of understanding and correcting such errors. It addresses a largely distinct set of questions that natural science alone cannot answer, but that must be answered for natural science to be properly conducted.
Modern science is often described as having emerged from philosophy; many of the early modern scientists were engaged in what they called “natural philosophy.” Later, philosophy came to be seen as an activity distinct from but integral to natural science, with each addressing separate but complementary questions — supporting, correcting, and supplying knowledge to one another. But the status of philosophy has fallen quite a bit in recent times. Central to scientism is the grabbing of nearly the entire territory of what were once considered questions that properly belong to philosophy. Scientism takes science to be not only better than philosophy at answering such questions, but the means of answering them. For most of those who dabble in scientism, this shift is unacknowledged, and may not even be recognized. But for others, it is explicit. Atkins, for example, is scathing in his dismissal of the entire field: “I consider it to be a defensible proposition that no philosopher has helped to elucidate nature; philosophy is but the refinement of hindrance.”
essay need developing scientific attitude
If it is one of the goals of religion to liberate mankind as far aspossible from the bondage of egocentric cravings, desires, and fears, scientificreasoning can aid religion in yet another sense. Although it is true thatit is the goal of science to discover rules which permit the associationand foretelling of facts, this is not its only aim. It also seeks to reducethe connections discovered to the smallest possible number of mutuallyindependent conceptual elements. It is in this striving after the rationalunification of the manifold that it encounters its greatest successes,even though it is precisely this attempt which causes it to run the greatestrisk of falling a prey to illusions. But whoever has undergone the intenseexperience of successful advances made in this domain is moved by profoundreverence for the rationality made manifest in existence. By way of theunderstanding he achieves a far-reaching emancipation from the shacklesof personal hopes and desires, and thereby attains that humble attitudeof mind toward the grandeur of reason incarnate in existence, and which,in its profoundest depths, is inaccessible to man. This attitude, however,appears to me to be religious, in the highest sense of the word. And soit seems to me that science not only purifies the religious impulse ofthe dross of its anthropomorphism but also contributes to a religious spiritualizationof our understanding of life.
Now, even though the realms of religion and science in themselves areclearly marked off from each other, nevertheless there exist between thetwo strong reciprocal relationships and dependencies. Though religion maybe that which determines the goal, it has, nevertheless, learned from science,in the broadest sense, what means will contribute to the attainment ofthe goals it has set up. But science can only be created by those who arethoroughly imbued with the aspiration toward truth and understanding. Thissource of feeling, however, springs from the sphere of religion. To thisthere also belongs the faith in the possibility that the regulations validfor the world of existence are rational, that is, comprehensible to reason.I cannot conceive of a genuine scientist without that profound faith. Thesituation may be expressed by an image: science without religion is lame,religion without science is blind.
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It is apparent that in her story Mary Shelley chose to convey a symbolic meaning concerning the scientific pursuits of her era, but the question remains: what was her intended message.
The Virtue of Scientific Thinking | Boston Review
It should be emphasized that there is such a thing as a genuinely scientific human sociobiology or evolutionary psychology. In this field, falsifiable hypotheses are proposed and tested with real data on human behavior. The basic methods are akin to those of behavioral ecology, which have been applied with some success to understanding the behavioral adaptations of nonhuman animals, and can shed similar light on aspects of human behavior — although these efforts are complicated by human cultural variability. On the other hand, there is also a large literature devoted to a kind of pop sociobiology that deals in untested — and often untestable — speculations, and it is the pop sociobiologists who are most likely to tout the ethical relevance of their ostensible discoveries.
Naturalism (philosophy) - Wikipedia
The interpretation of religion, as here advanced, implies a dependenceof science on the religious attitude, a relation which, in our predominantlymaterialistic age, is only too easily overlooked. While it is true thatscientific results are entirely independent from religious or moral considerations,those individuals to whom we owe the great creative achievements of sciencewere all of them imbued with the truly religious conviction that this universeof ours is something perfect and susceptible to the rational striving forknowledge. If this conviction had not been a strongly emotional one andif those searching for knowledge had not been inspired by Spinoza's , they wouid hardly have been capable of that untiringdevotion which alone enables man to attain his greatest achievements.
A Guide to Isaac Asimov's Essays
For example, a conflict arises when a religious community insists onthe absolute truthfulness of all statements recorded in the Bible. Thismeans an intervention on the part of religion into the sphere of science;this is where the struggle of the Church against the doctrines of Galileoand Darwin belongs. On the other hand, representatives of science haveoften made an attempt to arrive at fundamental judgments with respect tovalues and ends on the basis of scientific method, and in this way haveset themselves in opposition to religion. These conflicts have all sprungfrom fatal errors.
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