I think I am in a lot of ways but not 100%... I'll have to do more reading but I agree with the rest of the quote.if you are a Popperian, which you clearly are, then the method of science is clawing you ever onwards towards an un-obtainable "truth", better and better approximations produced over time as science refines itself.
I don't think Popper quite understood what he had come up with or didn't express it that well. There is a lot of hand-waving as you say, but I think he was basically right."lots of hand waving to try and convince us that induction an a negative direction (i.e. falsification) isn't really induction at all. See Lakatos' critiques for starters..."
I think the "negative direction" as you put it is what we can use to test our theories, and that we rely on the best theories we have, that have passed the most tests so far (in fact have not failed any experimental tests so far). In my reading of Popper, it is wrong to say "the theories have passed many tests so they are probably true" (ie induction)... it is right to say "the fact that they have not failed tests that means they are our best guess so far." I think this is a fundamental difference that goes beyond accusations of hand-waving.
Fair dos but I don't want to go into a lengthy critique of Kuhn unless you really want me to! It's a bit of a sidetrack....And Thomas Kuhn's theories about paradigm change are a load of nonsense.
And I can say the same about Popper's theories... which gets us nowhere
Popper is not beyond criticism but I think he on the right track.
me: Science is not a philosophy.yes I suppose you're right. if I think the scientific method is valid then it follows I have an underlying philosophical reason or reasons for doing so.you: This is self contradictory
yes, kind of.... but it's not universally agreed on what those claims are.- if you want to take a position on whether science is valid or not, you must agree or disagree with its fundamental philosophical claims.
Materialism, yes.Being a scientist, or a supporter of science, means you tacitly agree to certain commitments - i.e. materialism, induction (or falsifcationalism), reductionism etc.
I absolutely do not believe in induction, i don't think anyone has for a very long time! I'm not exactly sure how to define falsificationism so I won't comment.
Reductionism is a moot point as well. Personally I think that there are useful theories that emerge at higher levels that cannot be deduced from first principles, or if they can then it's not simple... and it's certainly worth using these theories even though they were not arrived at "from the bottom up".
eg. Darwin's evolution as propounded by Dawkins. I think that evolution does follow from the laws of physics (certain substances are good at getting themselves copied in certain environments) but I don't think anyone would've come up with such a successful theory without studying animals and plants and so on.
There's a key difference between "creating knowledge" and "giving you any knowledge" - science aims to find out things nobody already knew. Knowledge about literature for example is created when the literature is written, not when you learn about it. Learning about it at college or whatever is just moving knowledge from one person's brain to another's.Science is only the best thing for creating certain kinds of knowledge - it's pretty useless for giving you any knowledge about literature, music and so on...
Well, we can agree to disagree on our definitions of "science". The thing I am defending is science done right. All along I have said to Zhao that I fully support justified criticism of individual scientists, the industrial/pharmacological complex etc etc.Science is not just the methodology, but the system of academia, peer review, and all the human aspects that go along with it. Science as practice doesn't always (and radically, never) follow its idealised objectivity, and how can it, when it takes place in the minds of subjective agents?
I think science is the method and not the surrounding crap.
Just like the truly religious don't confuse God with priests and churches (could be a dodgy example )
yes of course but the science I have been defending is demonstrably a useful way to get beyond subjectivity and generate usable knowledge about the universe that actually works.Which is were you get back into this age old argument about whether an objective "view-from-nowhere" is possible or if if you can never escape the confines of your own subjectivity
you can't stop being an individual but by inventing a theory and then using the real world to test it in various ways you can find things out that are more reliable than any other method of finding things out that we know of.
I haven't read it but I am quite sure there are myriad examples of people calling themsleves scientists who are unworthy of the name.Collins & Pinch's The Golem: what everyone should know about science is a very readable introduction instances of science's failure to live up to its standards "in the field"
I don't want to defend them.
I just want to make a distinction between them and science.
Actually I think the religious analogy I used above is OK.
Clergy often do bad things, child abuse etc. but it doesn't follow that God is bad or corrupt.
The same goes for those who claim to represent science but use its name for dishonest ends and misrepresent what they are really doing. They are bad, not science.