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Category Archive: Logic of science

Sep 12 2011

The logic of science-17: Some residual issues

(For previous posts in this series, see here.) Reader Jeff asked three good questions about some of the issues I discussed in my series on the logic of science that I would like to address here. What follows are his questions and my responses. “First, in Part II you discuss the concepts of Know-How and …

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Sep 01 2011

The logic of science-16: Summary and some concluding thoughts

(For previous posts in this series, see here.) The roots of religion lie in deep evolutionary history. The book Why we Believe in God(s) by J. Anderson Thomson with Clare Aukofer (2011) marshals the evidence from psychology and neuroscience to argue that the tendency to belief in supernatural agencies by itself has no survival value …

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Aug 25 2011

The logic of science-15: Truth by logical contradiction

(For previous posts in this series, see here.) Theologians often try to claim that they can arrive at eternal truths about god by using pure logic. In some sense, they are forced to make this claim because they have no evidence on their side but it is worthwhile to examine if it is possible to …

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Aug 23 2011

The logic of science-14: The rational progress of science

(For previous posts in this series, see here.) Karl Popper’s model of falsification makes the scientific enterprise process seem extremely rational and logical. It also implies that science is progressing along the path to truth by successively eliminating false theories. Hence it should not be surprising that practicing scientists like it and still hold on …

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Aug 17 2011

The logic of science-13: How ‘good sense’ emerges in science

(For previous posts in this series, see here.) The philosopher of science Pierre Duhem said in his book The Aim and Structure of Physical Theory (1906, translated by Philip P. Wiener, 1954) that despite the fact that there is no way to isolate any given theory from all other theories, scientists are saved from sterile …

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Aug 10 2011

The logic of science-12: The reasoned consensus judgment of science

(For previous posts in this series, see here.) The previous post illustrated a crucial difference between science and religion that explains why scientists can resolve disagreements amongst themselves as to which theory should be considered true but religious people cannot agree as to which god is the one true god. In competition between scientific theories, …

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Aug 04 2011

The logic of science-11: The problem with falsification

(For previous posts in this series, see here.) In the previous post, I discussed Karl Popper’s idea of using falsification as a demarcation criterion to distinguish science from non-science. The basic idea is that for a theory to be considered scientific, it has to make risky predictions that have the potential that a negative result …

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Aug 02 2011

The logic of science-10: Can scientific theories be proven false?

(For previous posts in this series, see here.) In the previous post in this series, I wrote about the fact that however much data may support a theory, we are not in a position to unequivocally state that we have proven the theory to be true. But what if the prediction disagrees with the data? …

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Jul 29 2011

The logic of science-9: Can scientific theories be proven true?

(For previous posts in this series, see here.) In mathematics, the standard method of proving something is to start with the axioms and then apply the rules of logic to arrive at a theorem. In science, the parallel exercise is to start with a basic theory that consists of a set of fundamental entities and …

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Jul 27 2011

The logic of science-8: The power of universal claims in science

(For previous posts in this series, see here.) In the previous post in this series, I argued that in the case of an existence claim, the burden of proof is upon the person making the assertion. In the absence of a preponderance of evidence in its favor, the claim can be dismissed. As has often …

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