Empiricism, the idea that sensory experience is a source of knowledge, is ancient. People have obviously learned through sensory experience as long as there have been people. Studying the night skies gave ancient humans insight into the flow of the seasons, crucial knowledge as the agricultural revolution kicked into gear. And farming techniques, medicinal practices, food … Continue reading The evolution of the scientific method.
Dave Pruett has a post up at the Huffington Post looking at a declaration of eight "eminent" scientists and scholars calling for science to move past its materialistic focus. The list of authors in this declaration includes Rupert Sheldrake, whose TED talk was removed from the TED site last year after an outcry from the scientific community … Continue reading There is only one dogma of science: truth is better than fantasy
Following Neil deGrasse Tyson's wholesale dismissal of philosophy, there has been a lot of discussion on the value of philosophy. As I've said repeatedly, I think philosophy has a great deal of value, but some of its defenders are tending to overstate what it can do. I've already written a post on what I see as the … Continue reading Why philosophical conclusions are not reliable knowledge
Perhaps no word in the English language generates as much misunderstanding as the word theory. In scientific circles, this word has a very specific meaning that’s different from everyday use, and — as a theoretical astrophysicist myself — I feel it’s my duty to help explain exactly what we mean when we use it. via … Continue reading Ask Ethan #17: The Burden of Proof – Starts With A Bang
What is the difference between science and philosophy? While there are enterprises that are clearly in one or the other, the dividing line isn't always a sharp one. Science grew out of philosophy, particularly natural philosophy. Some would say that science is itself a type of philosophy. But what is the difference between what we … Continue reading Science, philosophy, and caution about what we think we know