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I Don't Think So

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Posted by Harvey on October 25, 2002 16:48:32 UTC


We have distinguish science, the philosophy of science, and metaphysics. Science is talk about models and making effective prediction using these models. Philosophy of science talks about (among other things) what scientific models say about the world. Metaphysics talks about what is really the case about the world beyond what is observable.

The philosophy of science is often confused with science. For example, your reply: "two thousand years ago people would have called explaining the workings of the sun to be a purely philosophical matter, or the reason for the seasons, or why the sky is blue, or why the sun orbits the earth, or why the earth is flat" is the result of taking scientific models and applying them to truths about the world. It's true that some models are so powerful (e.g., reasons for the seasons) that we don't even think of applying those models as part of philosophy. However, anytime you apply a model to the world, you are making at least some philosophical assumptions. We simply are so confronted by the powerful evidence that we don't mind making those philosophical assumptions. We even consider it part of science. On new science (e.g., particle physics), some are much less willing to make those assumptions so boldly. Saying that there really are quarks is considered, by some, a questionable philosophical assumption dealing with the philosophy of science.

Unfortunately there isn't this exact cut-off where science ends and the philosophy of science begins (and vice versa). Likewise, there isn't a cut-off where the philosophy of science ends and the philosophy of metaphysics begins (and vice versa). So, it is easy to think that science is eroding into philosophy when it gets the chance, when in reality, all that has happened is that the philosophy of science behind the science has simply become so undisputable that people would think you were an idiot if you said certain scientific beliefs were only models. However, be that as it may, many philosophers of science and scientists are against the idea that models=truth of the world. I don't agree fully with that position (i.e., I think models is so equivalent to truth that to talk otherwise is foolish), but at the same time I also agree that talk about scientific truth is the philosophy of science. Hence, philosophy hasn't ever become science, rather in some instances it has been so intensively co-joined with science that we simply cannot tell the two apart very effectively.

***Personally I also agree that your divine order must exist in some form or another, but I have some degree of resentment that you insist on calling it loving and sentient more out of desire than reason.***

Resentment? That's a strong word. I don't think you should be resentful. The word 'love' reduces to a type of harmony that exists between people. For example, if I say that I love tennis, I mean that I am so harmonious with tennis that I consider this harmonious relationship with tennis an extremely strong bond - one that I may have trouble doing without. Likewise, if I say I love my family, I mean to say that I have such a harmonious relationship that this bond is extremely important and necessary for me. It is part of my identity.

A divine order can possibly be holistic. In fact, a holistic order makes a lot more sense given the many factors composing the universe, and having a central common denominator in that order is a logical explanation to best account for this order. If this order is holistic, then it seeks full harmony in creation, and that is very close to being a 'loving' order in the universe. If it is fully harmonious (i.e., nothing is left out of this order), then one could argue that it is love. God is love, in my view, is a perfectly acceptable stance for this cosmic order to the world.

Warm regards, Harv

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