In last week’s ‘cells weekly’, I made a reference to MikeGene’s disingenuous search for anything science-looking that could support his preconceived worldview, calling him a crank. This apparently drew some attention from a couple of like-minded individuals (Doug and BrianJ) – interestingly, they didn’t want to discuss any empirical evidence on the ‘evolution gene’ (RecA) or homologous recombination, or any other empirical science. They were instead more interested in the philosophy of science, than the practice of science, in my view. While I humored Doug for a few comments, I really was not interested in turning that forum into a philosophical discussion, because that’s not what it was about in the first place.
But I hardly want to stifle discussion or open inquiry – so, to make amends, here’s a separate thread for discussing the philosophy of science, and especially positivism vs. empiricism.
I confess, I’m not familiar with the details of modern positivism, nor what concepts are thought to be related to positivism, nor what the fate of its philosophical proponents are. I am only under the impression that the list which I had enumerated is representative of positivism. That list looks quite the same as the outcomes of the scientific method itself, so I’d imagine that the adherents of such beliefs would have favorable fates as scientists.
So there it is – have at it guys. Some starter questions:
- Why do members of the ‘intelligent design’ breed of religious apologetics prefer to discuss the philosophy of science, instead of the practice of science?
- What is positivism? Who were the positivists? What were their fates?
- What does positivism have to do with referring to teleology as a ‘crank’ presupposition?
- How does positivism compare with empiricism? How are they similar or different?
- Why were these individuals unwilling (unable?) to prove me wrong with empirical data showing purposefulness to be an objective presupposition?
And, my own starting presupposition (for full disclosure) is that teleology is based upon empirically-unfounded assertions.
(Incidentally, Doug – let’s try it without the ban again)