From Ruth M. Bancewicz at Science + Belief, on key points offered by Dutch philosopher Professor René van Woudenberg at a recent Faraday workshop, including:
There are all sorts of ways in which scientists find some theories more satisfying than others, but science itself is not always a deciding factor in the decision. Logic, reason, experience, intuition, aesthetics, personal preference – all of these can play a part. As time goes on, and more data are gathered, we can become more certain which theory is an accurate reflection of reality. Eventually some theories have so much data behind them – gravity or the common ancestry of all living things, for example – that they are treated almost as facts. More.
Presumably, van Woudenberg includes politics and unreasoning bias among the personal preferences. Carl Sagan was willing to believe in talking dolphins but not in God. That is a choice, not an outcome of examining the evidence.
Hat tip: Ken Francis
See also: Science and miracles: The Carl Sagan edition The people who think it anti-science to believe that God can, in principle, intervene in nature should have a look at what is growing up around them in place of that comparatively limited assumption.
“Where can we go to find out what is true? At the Faraday Summer course last week, the Dutch philosopher Professor René van Woudenberg explained why science cannot be relied upon as the only source …”