Alternatively, it may become possible to have a discussion about what, exactly, science is. For example, in the case of the ATP turbine, “Natural selection did it” has the same explicit explanatory value as “God did it.” But natural selection is somehow science and God is not. Why? How?
A paper by well-known thinkers like Carlo Rovelli and Elliott Sober offers instances of the way that philosophers can clarify problems for science. Citing Jerry Fodor, it seems like they’ve almost forgotten that Jerry Fodor also wrote What Darwin Got Wrong (2010).
Bencze: Multiverse theory has no falsifiers. It excludes nothing. No potential fact of existence can falsify it. By contrast Relativity has plenty of falsifiers: Something exceeding the speed of light,…
If propositions in science cannot be falsified by evidence, they aren’t propositions in science. They are simply things many scientists believe for a variety of reasons.
[With respect to mystical experiences,] Most traditional theists would say that we are not talking about what Dr. O’Hara seems to think we are talking about.
Hossenfelder: It is not possible for each and every one of us to redo all experiments in the history of science. It therefore becomes increasingly important that scientists provide evidence for how science works, so that people who cannot follow the research itself can instead rely on evidence that the system produces correct and useful descriptions of nature.
Hard on the heels of the news that a Harvard astronomer still thinks that long-vanished space rock Oumuamua is “alien tech,” we see—direct from Boilerplate Central—a screed by a Harvard science historian at Scientific American about “denialism.” She has a theory:
Feser: Alfred Korzybski once said, “the map is not the territory.” If only more physicists were capable of seeing what a crackpot linguist could!
But now, here’s a problem: In the world of the war on math, what, exactly, is wrong with science fiction replacing science? If 2 + 2 does not necessarily = 4, how can we be expected to even know that bogosity is wrong?
Crawford: I conclude that, since teleological concepts cannot be abstracted away from biological explanations without loss of meaning and explanatory power, life is inherently teleological. It is the teleological character of life which makes it a unique phenomenon requiring a unique discipline of study distinct from physics or chemistry.
As played by astrophysicist and Forbes columnist Ethan Siegel here and dissected at The Stream.
When the real expert doesn’t really know. Here’s an interesting approach to the question from a political scientist and a business prof.
St. Onge: For COVID-19, Ferguson predicted 3 million deaths in America unless we basically shut down the economy. Panicked policymakers took his prediction as gospel, dressed as it was in the cloak of science.
Berezow: A loss of credibility, therefore, happens for other reasons. In the case of coronavirus, we believe there are five reasons: Incompetence, waffling, moving the goalposts, disregarding unintended consequences, and being political.
The situation poses a threat to science itself. For example, politicians act as though COVID-19 restrictions only matter for some people, not others.