Monthly Archives: April 2015
It’s nice to see that the genus Brontosaurus is being rehabilitated after over a century of being rudely lumped together with Apatosaurus. For many of us amateurs, of course, it never needed rehabilitation, having been far more iconic than its alter-ego throughout the last century.
A recent thread on disputes about the nature of information quickly degenerated into the kind of denegration of religious faith usually (though just as unproductively) seen on apologetics sites, which was why I asked for it to stop. Debating such matters is really outside The Hump’s remit – we are here to discuss the implications of holding Christian faith for science; other sites exist to argue about the validity of Christianity itself with anti-theists. I’m not sure why anyone would prefer to debate with apologetics amateurs rather than with the full-timers, other than lack of confidence in ones arguments. But that said, since Christians see morality as a fundamental part … Continue reading
Rounding off my meanderings in Thomas Kuhn’s Structure of Scientific Revolutions I just want to pick up on a point I mentioned near the close of the last post. Kuhn says that, in his view, it is a mistake to see science, in its various paradigmatic guises, as converging on the Final Truth of reality, preferring to see it as extending from where it is now. In other words he is committed to the value of science, and its progress, but more in terms of its utility in solving problems than in the grand ambition of reaching ultimate truth. In this, actually, he seems to echo part of the mediaeval … Continue reading
Thomas Kuhn in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, addressed in a recent post, condenses many ideas that have already found their way into columns here in the last year or two, so I like him a lot. One such idea is the way in which perception itself, as opposed to merely the interpretation of perception, is theory-led (or paradigm-led, in his terms). He gives a number of examples in science in which it was simply impossible to see something under one paradigm that became impossible to miss under the new. For example, Aristotelian science saw swinging stones as a question about interrupted falling. Galileo, however, influenced by a century of … Continue reading
A nice story in The Independent: A new (old) cure for MRSA? Revolting recipe from the Dark Ages may be key to defeat infection. The story, as I hope you’ll read, speaks of a “stomach-churning potion…”, a mediaeval eye-salve which nevertheless has been found to treat MRSA. The journalistic aim of the piece is to amaze one that the Neanderthal ignorance of the Dark Ages could accidentally produce something which, though inevitably Dark and Horrible, pluckily rivals the infallible results of Science™.