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Believing Where We Cannot Prove Philip Kitcher

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Presentation on theme: "Believing Where We Cannot Prove Philip Kitcher"— Presentation transcript:

1 Believing Where We Cannot Prove Philip Kitcher

2 Believing Where We Cannot Prove Philip Kitcher
Strong Son of God, immortal love, Whom we, that have not seen thy face, By faith, and faith alone, embrace, Believing where we cannot prove. From Tennyson’s In Memoriam

3 Tennyson’s principle theme is the struggle to sustain faith in the face of what appears to be powerful and scientific evidence.

4 Tennyson’s principle theme is the struggle to sustain faith in the face of what appears to be powerful and scientific evidence. Doubts that his proofs may be against him.

5 Contemporary Creationists accept the traditional contrast between science and religion.
However, they are satisfied with their own solution and deny that evolution is a science. “Creationists in turn insist that this belief is not scientific evidence but only a statement of faith. The evolutionaries seems to be saying, Of course, we cannot really prove evolution, since it requires ages of time, and so, therefore, you should accept it as a proved fact of science! Creationists regard this as an odd type of logic, which would be entirely unacceptable in any other field of science” Henry Morris.

6 Evolution is conjecture, faith or “philosophy”.
Equal to Creationist claims in terms of scientific proof. Evolution is a theory. Evolution is not a part of science because science demands proof. Proof of evolution is not forthcoming. Evolution is taught as though it is a scientific proof.

7 Science is not a body of demonstrated truths.
Virtually all of science is an exercise in believing where we cannot prove.

8 Inconclusive Evidence

9 Inconclusive Evidence
We seem to have reasons to accept what we believe as true. Direct evidence with our senses seem believable. Is there no cause for us to worry that what we know could be modified?

10 Inconclusive Evidence
Is there really anything that we are so positively sure of that later knowledge could not make us change our minds? Will there not be new discoveries to cast doubt on the reasoning we presently hold?

11 Inconclusive Evidence
Are we not always fallible? Fallible : capable of making mistakes or being erroneous.

12 Inconclusive Evidence
Complete certainty is an ideal. Certainty is rarely attained. We should not include scientific reasoning among our ideas of proof. Fallibility is the hallmark of science.

13 Inconclusive Evidence
This point is frequently forgotten in contemporary science. Scientists are neither unintelligent nor ill informed. Their reasonings are completely justifiable. The history of science includes intricate and organized theories which all had their days where considerable evidence was in their favor. It was only history that proved them wrong.

14 Inconclusive Evidence
Why is science fallible?

15 Inconclusive Evidence
Why is science fallible? Science offers laws that are supposed to hold universally. These claims are beyond our power to observe directly. Ultimate evidence which is required for truth is restricted. Scientists are confined to only a small region of space and time and have limited and imperfect senses.

16 Inconclusive Evidence
How is science possible at all? How are we expected to have any confidence in what we believe? Scientists find ways to gather very revealing evidence. The evidence collected can be used to answer questions about the things we cannot directly observe. Even the most well respected and successful arguments about science are observed indirectly. New discoveries can always call those arguments into question, showing that their evidence was misread.

17 Inconclusive Evidence
Scientists often forget the fallibility of their practice. It sometimes seems impossible that any new evidence could alter what we believe today. The success of contemporary science cannot secure us from future amendments.

18 Inconclusive Evidence
Science is ultimately based on faith. Once the fallibility of science is accepted, movement can be made beyond the simple opposition between proof and faith.

19 Inconclusive Evidence
Science should be accepted as theory. Our evidence is good or even excellent, but always inconclusive. What we believe today can be revised tomorrow.

20 Inconclusive Evidence
All theories are revisable, but not all theories are equal. The theory of evolution is as good as we ever obtain for any theory in any field of science. Scientific theories earn our acceptance by making successful predictions.

21 Predictive Success

22 Predictive Success Pattern of reasoning.
Claims that did not seem plausible prior to the advancement of the theory. (Torricelli) Philosophers regard theories as a collection of claims or statements. Observational Consequences: Statements whose truth or falsity can be ascertained by direct observation. The theories that we support are ones that have true observational consequences and have been checked.

23 Predictive Success Observational Consequence Deductive inferences.
If a theory is found to have a false consequence, we must conclude that one or more statements of the theory is false. We only support theories who have true observational consequences because the credentials of a theory are damaged if we reveal that some observational consequences are false.

24 Predictive Success The essence of scientific theory is that is should be falsifiable. If a theory is false, then it should be possible to show that it is false. To be a genuine scientific theory, a group of statements must have observational consequences.

25 Predictive Success There is a difference between a false theory and a falsifiable theory. A good theory should not be false. Good theories must have observational consequences that could reveal the theory as mistaken if the experiments give the wrong results. Relevant in the creation-evolution debate.

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