Presentation on theme: "Science and society How do scientific theories (or philosophical theories about science) impact commonsense views, public policy, etc.? And vice versa?"— Presentation transcript:
Science and society How do scientific theories (or philosophical theories about science) impact commonsense views, public policy, etc.? And vice versa? The case of Genie Science at the Bar: determining what is science and what is not, and using philosophy of science to do so...
Should scientists be concerned with ethics? Genie: a “natural experiment” that could not, on ethical grounds, be undertaken any other way (“forbidden experiment”) An important hypothesis can be tested In what sense is the hypothesis important? Yes, the “experiment” could advance knowledge. Is there more that needs to be considered? Is it enough to say “knowledge is good for its own sake” and society shouldn’t meddle? Genie remains alive in a nursing home for the retarded, but does not speak or respond to people…
Should scientists be concerned with ethics? Genie: a “natural experiment” Susan Curtiss Judith Butler David Rigler NIMH Subsequent foster homes
Should scientists be concerned with ethics? Genie: a “natural experiment” that could not, on ethical grounds, be undertaken any other way (“forbidden experiment”) Suppose she was able to learn language… Suppose there weren’t any doubts about her mental capacities and she wasn’t able to learn language… Suppose the personalities, ambitions, jealousies, research “protocols”, “rescue fantasies” hadn’t been what they were…
Science at the bar Larry Laudan v. Michael Ruse Laudan: McLean vs. Arkansas was a “hollow victory” Aka “Ruse’s ‘ruse’” How the philosophy of science had a role in the case
Science at the bar Judge Overton (and Ruse et al) Creation Science is not science because it does not contain “the essential features of science” It does not appeal to natural law Its claims are not testable or falsifiable Its proponents and claims are dogmatic rather than tentavie Laudan’s alternative: CS is testable and many of its claims are patently false.
Science at the bar Laudan: A far more serious problem is that the way science was portrayed in the case is a false stereotype Many scientific claims also cannot be tested in isolation and the logic of falsification is severely limited by that (Hempel and Duhem) Many scientific claims are not viewed by scientists of the day as open to negotiation; there is a degree of dogmatism about core commitments among scientists (Kuhn and Duhem) We don’t insist that in order for something to have happened or to exist we must know what laws explain it (for example, we know evolution occurred and continues to but there are no laws in evolutionary theory) (van Fraassen’s account of explanation)
Science at the bar Laudan: A far more serious problem is that the way science was portrayed in the case is a false stereotype Add to all these problems, the fact that (scientific, all) observations are theory laden. Compromises, to some extent, the sensory experiences and/or experimental results that are supposed to confirm or falsify a given hypothesis
Science at the bar In what respects was the portrait of science “a false stereotype”? Not all sciences have laws in the sense presumed here It is not clear that there really is any definition, or single criterion, or set of criteria, that succeed in defining science and demarcating it from other endeavors In short, the “pro-science” defenders are defending a philosophy of science which is every bit as outmoded as the “science” of creationism
Pro Judice : Ruse To say that science appeals to law is not asserting that we know all the laws. Does this answer the critique that not all sciences include laws? The bottom line of all the various criteria offered: Science does not break with law… it does not appeal to miracles. If in terms of a singularity, what about “The Big Bang”? Not miraculous, but… Laudan’s response is insufficient because The Constitution does not prohibit the teaching of weak or bad science. It prohibits the teaching of religion – and that is what CS/ID is.