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The Floodgates

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Posted by Harvey on January 22, 2002 16:47:22 UTC

Yasir,

***I just think that no human can grasp the priniciples of existence outside the sphere of science which is, of course, the most objective method we have.***

Science is the most objective method of predicting future observables, however there is a great deal of controversy of what scientific models actually mean. Do quarks exist even though we cannot observe them? Do humans invent 'useful fictions' that merely make human sense of what we see?

If we accept the scientific anti-realist position in its fullness, then we must relegate scientific theories and scientific entities to a fictional role. They are merely useful, but they are not really the case. Science has little to say of what is the case.

On the other hand, historical sciences (e.g., evolutionary biology, cosmology, etc) does depend on the truth of these models. Who can be satisfied with saying that the big bang is a useful fiction of our origins (a myth if you will)? Who would feel comfortable knowing that the K-T asteroid is merely an as if it were true event? Anti-realism cannot be taken this far or it threatens the very science that is being uncovered.

Philosophy is required to establish a great deal of the objectivity of science. Science cannot be relegated to just prediction and useful fictions, if it is, then it looses a great deal of its usefulness. We don't want to know cosmology as if it were true, we want to know cosmology as being true.

The problem is that once you establish this kind of supporting role for science, you have opened the floodgates. You cannot pick and choose when philosophy is needed and when you would prefer that philosophy shut-up and let us be skeptical about metaphysical things (i.e., hold no opinion about reasonable and unreasonable positions).

>>>I would try to see both the sides of the picture but I surely think that an objective conclusion can't be achieved. Science asks precise questions and prepares models. Philosophy, to some extent, gives meaning to the whole process. But, theology seems to go too far in persuit of ultimate answers. But who knows? May be the ultimate answers do lie that far.

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