Falsifiability

From Uncommon Descent’s article Falsifiability only gained traction as anti-creation move?:

Further to the new science mythbuster book, Newton’s Apple and Other Myths About Science, a reader kindly notes that we also learn from the paywalled review in Science:

Michael Gordin … [debunks] the widely accepted belief that science can be easily differentiated from pseudoscience simply by determining whether a particular theory is falsifiable. In addition to the philosophical shortcomings of this approach, he notes that if a negative result is sufficient to falsify a theory, then high-school science students manage to “falsify” most of Western science each week in their lab classes. Gordin goes on to analyze why this particular idea rose to such prominence in the 1980s. When various U.S. states legislated that creationism get equal time in school science classes, it became politically urgent to define why creation “science” was nothing of the kind. Part of the appeal of the falsification axiom (if it could never be disproved, it can’t be science) was that it was simple enough for nonscientists to grasp. Yet, when we look at history, falsification simply does not work as a definition of science. As Gordin explains, most historians and scientists accept a sociological definition: Science is what the scientific community says it is (e.g., peer-reviewed work in reputable journals). It’s not a perfect definition, nor a stable one, but it has the virtue of being the one by which scientists actually operate.

So whatever peers say is science is, and evidence is irrelevant?

And now they don’t want falsifiability because favoured theories don’t make the cut, right?

The Establishment is not long for this world.

Not even the scientific establishment.

  • Christians should really stop looking at the skies, and use their God-given intellectual foundation…
  • God created the universe in an orderly and broadly beneficial manner

God intends us to understand much of it. Indeed, He commands us to learn and master it, as part of the Dominion Mandate.

…to start pushing science forward.

Just a minute here. If historian Gordin is right, many only agreed to the falsifiability criterion in the first place for political reasons—and now want to get rid of it… also for political reasons?

The problem is, of course, falsifiability was never thought of by most people as a “definition” of science, but more of an alarm system that non-scientists could use when things were going hairball.

When scientists want the alarm turned off, they lose a reputation for evidence-based thinking, along with credibility and moral authority. They may as well forget the science, join a Darwin trollblog (and specialize in creative profanity) or a crackpot cosmology site and do great graphics.

Exactly.

As more Christians (and even pagans!) are homeschooled, they are going to be less inclined to Obey the Consensus, and actually see things as they are.


A good follow-up: Is Science a Sociological or an Epistemic Phenomenon?

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s