. . . as a result of which, once there is an issue, complex questions and limitations of the philosophy of knowledge — Epistemology — emerge. Where, in particular, no scientific theory can be even morally certain. (Yes, as Newtonian Dynamics illustrates, they can be highly empirically reliable in a given gamut of circumstances . . . but as Newtonian Dynamics [vs. Modern Physics] also illustrates, so can models and frameworks known to be strictly inaccurate to reality. Empirical reliability is something we can know to responsible certainty.)
So, it is important for us to understand the subtleties and limitations of knowledge and of knowledge claims.
As we have discussed previously, on balance, a good definition of knowledge (beyond merely one’s strong sense of certitude) . . . and particularly informed by Scientific, forensic and historical cases . . . is that:
knowledge is warranted, credibly true [and so, reliable] belief.
For, first, if we do not actually accept, we cannot know. If we [collectively] do not have a good and responsible reason to hold credibly true and reliable, we cannot know. Of course, having good warrant does not mean, consensus or even consensus of experts. If we do not have good reason in particular to hold claimed knowledge reliable and an accurate description of relevant entities and states of affairs of reality, we cannot know. Where, as Aristotle noted, truth says of what is, that it is; and of what is not, that it is not. But, given responsible usage as noted, what we claim to know is subject to being found to have limitations, errors and so needing to be corrected.
Knowledge is not empty dogmatism, even as we must acknowledge that there are certain limited points of knowledge that are self-evident or otherwise undeniably certain beyond correction. Then, too, post Godel, we must ever be aware of that which may be true but is beyond the reach of any given set of first principles or may be beyond our ken as finite, fallible thinkers.
To illustrate, consider a now fairly common denial of objective knowledge, that is of warrant sufficient that we are responsible to accept a warranted claim as known.
It turns out that the assertion or inference or implication or conclusion, there is no objective truth — in general, for morality, for any particular identifiable domain of thought, etc. — is actually precisely what it tries to deny: a claimed, warranted, credible truth. So it is self referential, incoherent and self defeating. The minimal first truth for any given identifiable domain of thought is, that objective knowable truth exists regarding that domain. It may be hard to unearth and validate but it is there. Nihilism or cynicism about knowledge and truth, fail. So do radical skepticism/global hyperskepticism or selective hyperskepticism, or radical relativism or subjectivism or emotivism, or attempts to dismiss knowledge claims as meaningless, etc. No, the narrator looking on at the blind men groping at an elephant implies objective knowledge on his own part. The abuse of this parable fails, too.
Let’s add, that it is an error of our age, to grant skepticism seniority over knowledge. Often, rooted in the futile quest for utter, indisputable certainty, which by its very nature cannot succeed. Skepticism is not an intellectual virtue, though it has become the inferior substitute for one, prudence. Prudence, being the cardinal virtue of being habitually governed by responsible, rational, care-taking reasonable consideration on matters. Thus, it becomes the steersman/sailing master, the kubernetes of the virtues. A wellspring of wisdom.
These general results then set a context for onward understanding of and discussion regarding topics of scientific or general interest where there are disputes and the like.
Including of course on the main focus of this forum, Intelligent Design. That domain of scientific study that addresses the question, are there reliable, observable signs that strongly indicate design as key cause? To which, the well warranted (but hotly disputed) answer is, yes. For simple example we know the difference between complex text in English and randomly typed gibberish — ryja5ikjwrgdsueqgm,tuwtagmduktuk, or repetitive patterns sdsdsdsdsdsd.
So, knowledge is not simple and therefore no domain that is claimed to be knowledge can be simple. END