Mo’s Response for week2

September 12, 2011 at 2:07 pm | Posted in Week 2 | 3 Comments

Lakatos discusses what constitutes science.  In his transcript, he overviewed two core thinkers, Kuhn and Popper, both of whom published influential arguments about the concept of science.  Then, Lakatos advances his own idea by identifying problems of these two thinkers’ arguments.  First, Lakatos does not agree with Kuhn’s idea that scientific development rests on revolutions that involve sudden, irrational changes in vision.  Rather, Lakatos explains scientific progress as gradual changes.  He says, when there are multiple conflicting research programs and one particular program progresses, scientists tend to join the progressive program.  According to Lakatos, this process results in scientific revolution.  Second, Lakatos also do not contend that Popper’s concept of falsifiability is the core element that distinguishes science from pseudo-science.  In the actual practice, research programs are much more generous to ‘falsifying evidence’, and usually regard it as outlier or totally ignores it.  What is more important characteristic of science is, as Lakatos argues, the ability of theory that predicts certain dramatic, unexpected phenomena, not that provides ad-hoc explanations.

While reading articles, a question struck me was that science may not be the only way of being closer to truth.  For instance, regarding the controversy between Intellectual Design and Evolutionism, nobody provides the truth so far.  I suppose, evolutionism might be closer to science just because it has provided tangible evidence while ID hasn’t, but it is hardly the case that the evidence for evolutionism is persuasive enough to prove the theory is a true story.  I claim that science is a certain way of knowing, though it has been known to be the most effective way that human beings can employ, but not the only way of knowing the truth.



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  1. It is difficult to ask a question pertaining to truth because, in reality, what is “truth”? When I think about the concept, it seems, what with so many varying belief systems, scientific theories, religions and cultures, there is no, one, unifying perception of truth. In the most relevant example, some believe evolution to be “truth”, while others believe intelligent design to be “truth”. The problem is, as evidenced by the Kitzmiller vs. Dover School District case and the general course history has taken, the two groups are never going to reach a common understanding; they are never going to agree on what truth is because their thoughts and feelings on the issue are so deep rooted. When you are so ingrained in a particular “box”, so to speak, it is difficult to think outside of it. To Lakatos and those who agree with his philosophy research programmes are truth; to Popper, falsification of a hypothesis is truth; and to Kuhn, a sudden scientific revolution is truth. And those are just the thoughts pertaining to science. Some do not believe in science altogether and, to them, truth often stems from religious beliefs. In a world with so much variation and so much diversity, I fear that there is never going to be a universal way to define what is true.

  2. Mo, I agree with you – that it is hard to believe what the truth is, but then again like Abby said it is hard to ask a question about this concept. There may be the truth out there, that isn’t evolution, creationism, or intelligent design. But we have to trust that the research being done in these areas (mostly evolution) will get us to the truth. I don’t believe we will ever know 100% how we became, and either way people are going to believe what they want to. Even if an intelligent designer comes to this earth and says he/she created everything, the scientists will still believe the evidence that they have found and researched for years. And if Darwin’s Theory can be around for 150 years and not be proven wrong, believers in creationism will still believe what they want.

  3. Like Abby said, “truth” is hard to define, and even harder to prove. Science does not provide absolute truth– it provides explanations that are most likely. Some theories, like the theory of gravity and Darwin’s theory of evolution persist over time and are accepted by the scientific community as true. However, scientists admit that there is no way to know that it is absolutely true, someone could possibly disprove a theory or come up with a better solution (although with evolution and gravity, it would be hard to dispute the enormous amounts of evidence). In Kitzmiller v. Dover School District, part of the case dealt with what was “true”; evolution or intelligent design. Intelligent design does offer an explanation, but it cannot be proven with testing. While the idea might be sufficient for some, I think that a majority of humans need proof; it is not enough to believe, we want the knowledge that we are absolutely correct. With this in mind, science, with its repeated testing and research provides the best method for determining the truth.

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