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Scientist says philosophy helps with science thinking


Rasha Shraim had taken an undergrad degree in biology and philosophy:

… my study of formal logic turned out to be very helpful in my transition from a wet-lab undergraduate scientist to a computational scientist on my master’s programme as I learnt coding languages, which involve elements such as logical operators and if-then reasoning. It also helped me to understand inference, the process of arriving at conclusions from evidence and reasoning. None of my science classes has formally taught the difference between induction (these frogs are all from this pond and they are all green: therefore all of the frogs in the pond are green) and deduction (all frogs in this pond are green and this frog is from this pond: therefore this frog is green), nor have any of them taught how to methodically evaluate arguments. Reading, studying and evaluating philosophical arguments as premises and conclusions has shaped my ability to scrutinize evidence and conclusions in research reports.

Rasha Shraim, “How philosophy is making me a better scientist” at Nature (April 23, 2021)

This is a far cry from Stephen Hawking’s famous denunciation of philosophy in 2011 as “dead” because it was out of step with theoretical physics. From Cardiff U philosopher Christopher Norris at Philosophy Now:

This brings us back to the point likely to provoke the most resistance from those scientists – chiefly theoretical physicists – who actually have the most to gain from any assertion of philosophy’s claim to a hearing in such matters. It is that scientists tend to go astray when they start to speculate on issues that exceed not only the current-best observational evidence but even the scope of what is presently conceivable in terms of testability. To speak plainly: one useful job for the philosopher of science is to sort out the errors and confusions that scientists – especially theoretical physicists – sometimes fall into when they give free rein to a speculative turn of mind. My book Quantum Theory and the Flight from Realism found numerous cases to illustrate the point in the statements of quantum theorists all the way from Niels Bohr – a pioneering figure but a leading source of metaphysical mystification – to the current advocates (Hawking among them) of a many-worlds or ‘multiverse’ theory. To adapt the economist Keynes’ famous saying: those scientists who claim to have no use for philosophy are most likely in the grip of a bad old philosophy or an insufficiently thought-out new one that they don’t fully acknowledge. (2011)

Yes. Most of the denunciators could have used some philosophy themselves.

Physics isn't the only science that runs into confusion and error, "when they give free rein to a speculative turn of mind". Darwinists presenting evolutionary ideas is another such area, with widespread speculation, just so stories, and presumptive interpretations of facts. Stephen Meyer is a philosopher of science who totally destroys modern Darwinism in his books, videos, interviews, articles and debates. So yes, philosophy has a key underlying role in good science practice. Fasteddious
Philosophy is probably the most corrupt field of study of all. Like psychology, people go study philosophy, because they are terrible at it, and they need help. So then you get a lot of the insane taking over the asylum types of scenario's. It's philosophy that holds the concept of choice hostage, in the free will problem. The central concept in intelligent design theory and creationism. So now in philosophy to make a choice is understood to mean, to be forced. As like a chesscomputer calclulating a move, in a forced way. Obviously impossible to do any intelligent design science with that concept of choice. People studying philosophy, I see them on facebook all the time accusing others of a logical fallacy, without every actually demonstrating the fallacy. What's more important is that people pay dedicated attention to subjective issues, as in a bona fide religion. That they pray to God over getting good personal opinions on issues. If they don't do something like that, then really their reasoning is going to be worthless. mohammadnursyamsu
It appears that Christopher Norris needs to go back to the philosophical drawing board and reexamine his own philosophical presuppositions before he comments on the virtues of proper philosophical reasoning. In looking at reviews of his book, "Quantum Theory and the Flight from Realism", it appears that Christopher Norris, despite direct experimental evidence that has falsified realism, is philosophically committed to a realist interpretation of quantum mechanics. Which is to say that Christopher Norris has a philosophical commitment to atheistic naturalism no matter what the evidence may say to the contrary.
Quantum Theory and the Flight from Realism - review Excerpt: I find his main thesis unconvincing. Norris constantly relies on the notion that a "Bohm type of `hidden variables' theory," (a phrase found perhaps on every page,) would restore the classical physicalist picture and (dis)solve the so called "quantum paradoxes." Yet Norris does not satisfactorily explain what this amounts to, or give (let alone argue for) any general principle of what the connection between ontology and mathematical formalism is, such that similar if not identical formalism may permit divergent ontological commitments. (Although I'm not sure I've seen this anywhere.) Moreover, and perhaps most importantly for Norris' project, if such a theory as Bohm's is entirely scientifically/observationally tenable, surely Norris must explain why more physicists and philosophers are not jumping at the opportunity to reinstate the good ol' one world, determinate causality and observer-independence picture.,,,, So in the end, Norris is just another table-thumping realist who insists that no amount of empirical knowledge could ever possibly undermine the classic realist notion of mind-independence, for the simple reason that no matter what we come to know, the world is already out there waiting to be known. https://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/R36UNO2YW29VCX/ref=cm_cr_dp_d_rvw_ttl?ie=UTF8&ASIN=0415223229
Might is be too obvious to point out the fact that if your atheistic philosophy forces you to constantly ignore, and/or rationalize away, scientific evidence that directly contradicts your atheistic philosophy, just so that you may be able to maintain your belief in your atheistic philosophy, then your atheistic philosophy can't possibly be correct?
"If it disagrees with experiment, it’s wrong. In that simple statement is the key to science. It doesn’t make any difference how beautiful your guess is, it doesn’t matter how smart you are who made the guess, or what his name is … If it disagrees with experiment, it’s wrong. That’s all there is to it." - Richard Feynman https://fs.blog/2009/12/mental-model-scientific-method/
Of supplemental note:
"hidden variables don’t exist. If you have proved them come back with PROOF and a Nobel Prize. John Bell theorized that maybe the particles can signal faster than the speed of light. This is what he advocated in his interview in “The Ghost in the Atom.” But the violation of Leggett’s inequality in 2007 takes away that possibility and rules out all non-local hidden variables. Observation instantly defines what properties a particle has and if you assume they had properties before we measured them, then you need evidence, because right now there is none which is why realism is dead, and materialism dies with it. How does the particle know what we are going to pick so it can conform to that?" per Jimfit - UD blogger Do we create the world just by looking at it? - 2008 Excerpt: In mid-2007 Fedrizzi found that the new realism model was violated by 80 orders of magnitude; the group was even more assured that quantum mechanics was correct. Leggett agrees with Zeilinger that realism is wrong in quantum mechanics, but when I asked him whether he now believes in the theory, he answered only “no” before demurring, “I’m in a small minority with that point of view and I wouldn’t stake my life on it.” For Leggett there are still enough loopholes to disbelieve. I asked him what could finally change his mind about quantum mechanics. Without hesitation, he said sending humans into space as detectors to test the theory.,,, (to which Anton Zeilinger responded) When I mentioned this to Prof. Zeilinger he said, “That will happen someday. There is no doubt in my mind. It is just a question of technology.” Alessandro Fedrizzi had already shown me a prototype of a realism experiment he is hoping to send up in a satellite. It’s a heavy, metallic slab the size of a dinner plate. http://seedmagazine.com/content/article/the_reality_tests/P3/ Experimental non-classicality of an indivisible quantum system - Zeilinger 2011 Excerpt: Page 491: "This represents a violation of (Leggett's) inequality (3) by more than 120 standard deviations, demonstrating that no joint probability distribution is capable of describing our results." The violation also excludes any non-contextual hidden-variable model. The result does, however, agree well with quantum mechanical predictions, as we will show now.,,, https://vcq.quantum.at/fileadmin/Publications/Experimental%20non-classicality%20of%20an%20indivisible.pdf
1 Thessalonians 5:21 Test all things; hold fast what is good.
What do we mean by philosophy? One important aspect is logic or right thinking or truth. Is there really anything else? There are definitely lots of other concepts to discuss. Some important ones are justice, equality, morality, happiness, and existence. But are all these topics just problems of definition and then applying logic to the topic. Should all students be taught logic in grade school? It was part of the Trivium. Yes, I highly recommend programming for everyone as part of a grade school education. Aside: when I was introduced to geometry in high school I was taken aback by the proofs used. I finished the course book on my own by October not because of the subject matter but because of the logic used. jerry
If one doesn't possess at least some basic philosophies, one is just going to be confused. Andrew asauber
Philosophy is about deep thoughts, which does not exist in nature. Only humans have the ability to philosophize, since it comes from the mind rather than the brain. It is one of many instances that show humans are something more than animals. BobRyan
Programming is definitely good exercise for the logic muscles. You have to find the essential question and formalize it precisely. Maybe I'm luckier than the author.... my dad taught me the basics of reasoning and scientific method through parables and jokes and observation; then a 9th grade science teacher taught the same things in a more verbal way. When I took physics in college I was disappointed and frustrated, because there wasn't any emphasis on reasoning or experimentation. Just math. Here's a formula. Find the answer. polistra
What's sad is that not only is philosophy rarely taught, it's rarely taught *well*. I went to a school that had a large "western civ" component, and even had extra philosophy classes because of my theology major. However, most of them were glorified history of thought classes, focusing on each philosopher's most speculative ideas, not classes on how to do critical reasoning. Even with history of philosophy, showing how the *undisputed* parts of philosophy grew through history would be helpful, both in understanding them and understanding the important role of philosophy through history. johnnyb

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