How Do We Know Things Through Science? (Part 1)


In my introductory post to this series, I wrote that the the secret to the astonishing success of science is the invention of a new epistemology ( a new way of knowing).  This brilliant intellectual invention was responsible for an explosion in our understanding of the universe over the last 400 years when compared to the previous hundred thousand years of the human struggle for understanding.

In this post I would like to explain the first two revolutionary philosophical innovations that broke the whole deal wide open. Continue reading

How Do We Know Things Through Science? Introduction


America famously leads the world in its denial of evolution and other well established foundational scientific theories,.  It is a trend that is growing worse at a time when truth counts for less and less in the popular media. Even those who accept evolution often fail to appreciate its tremendous relevance for understanding and improving the human condition.

Not surprisingly, this trend is consistent with America’s tend towards less and less success in science education.   In a 2009 study by the Program For International Student Assessment, America is now 25th amongst 32 developed countries in respect to its quality and results for science education.

Although religion and politics can be partly to blame for rampant science denial in the USA, it is my opinion that we are failing to teach our children the fundamental aspects of what makes knowing things about the natural world through science different than other ways of knowing.  This is dangerous for a democracy that depends on a well educated citizenry to affect public policy on things like science through the electoral process.   It is dangerous because not understanding how we know things thorugh science leaves us unable to distinguish between science and nonsense.    This leaves us vulnerable to exploitation by those who want to affect public policy about science and technology in ways that are self-serving.    When science is indistinguishable from politics we are all in deep trouble.
Continue reading