Astrology and modern science a critical analysis

Seriously so. Fleurose , but that is most definitely not what both practitioners and believers claim. They talk about magic and supernatural entities, and it should not require the adoption of a questionable scientistic approach to reject such concepts on both evidential and plausibility grounds. What was Feyerabend trying to achieve, exactly?

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That is, he had identified an early example of what is nowadays considered scientism Sorell But it is the hallmark of a virtuous person to be wise and recognize what sort of approach works best under whatever circumstances one happens to be operating. Provocation, even perhaps especially for principled reasons, rarely works as a psychological technique, especially with an already highly self-important social cast such as that of professional scientists.

And radical alternatives are fine if they are credible and constructive, but astrology, voodoo, homeopathy and the like are light-years away from being either. All of which is costing us in the hard currency of actual pain, suffering, and death. What seemed, to non-scientists, to be reactionary dogmatism was, in fact, a spontaneous evaluation both generated and justified by a tacit sense of plausibility. Polanyi concluded that since that sense is historically informed, collectively supported, and a product of practice and discipline, those scientists were right to trust it Kidd , Polanyi was right on target here.

Scientists often use the same kind of heuristics we all apply to all sorts of situations where we cannot afford to expend time and resources: we use historically informed background information to at the least provisionally file away a given claim as plausible, implausible, or worth considering further.

How many times, exactly, do we have to investigate a claim of UFO sighting, or of a haunted house, and convincingly show that it was yet another meteor or cracking door, before we can be justified—on virtue ethical grounds—in dismissing the next such claim? Or, to put it differently, at what point does the burden of proof seriously shift to the other side Pigliucci and Boudry , so that the ufologist or paranormalist needs to come up with compelling prima facie evidence before a professional scientist or skeptic embarks in yet another investigation?

The citizens of democratic societies ought to be able to critically appraise the authoritative institutions that influence their lives. This is a real conundrum, and one that Feyerabend is right to point out. But Polanyi is absolutely right when he says, effectively, that there is little alternative available.

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And we will increasingly all suffer from this type of democratization on a global scale, in proportion to just how many people will disbelieve that we are going through dramatic, man-made, climate change. Car mechanics? Bridge engineering? Our societies are founded on a highly effective division of labor, and consequently rely on expertise. The experts are, by definition, our best bets in their own domain of competence. They are not perfect, and they do make mistakes, but statistically speaking they beat any other alternative. Still, they cannot be given complete freedom of initiative, especially where the stakes are very high.

But the best way to do that is by broadening the conversation, increasing the variety of points of view within science Longino as well as adding second-level expertise, for instance, somewhat ironically, that of philosophers.

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Some of the best critiques of the excesses of science in recent years have come from philosophers of science e. Battaly, Heather. Davis, Wade. University of North Carolina Press, Desrosiers, Astrid and Sheila St. Greco, John and John Turri.

Kaplan, Jonathan M. London: Routledge, Kelly, I.


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Kidd, Ian James. Integrity, Airtue, and the Authority of Science. Lakatos, Imre. The Methodology of Scientific Research Programmes. Longino, Helen. Science as Social Knowledge. Parsons, Keith M. Amherst, New york: Prometheus, Midwest Studies In Philosophy 37, no. Pigliucci, Massimo and Maarten Boudry.

Dean's Phantom Time-Twin Study (2003)

The Burden of Proof Game in Science vs. Pseudoscience Disputes. Roberts, Robert C.

Sorell, Tom. Scientism: Philosophy and the Infatuation with Science. Categories: Critical Replies. This is a very interesting exchange. You bet. Astrologers are to intelligence what quacks are to medicine. On the surface, there seems to be no danger in reading newspaper horoscopes or buying a copper bracelet to cure arthritis—but doing so makes one receptive to more harmful things.

Astrology, for instance, is but the largest component of larger phenomenon—the growing receptivity to irrational spiritual doctrines and practices, such as channeling and crystal-gazing.

Astrology and science - Wikipedia

The potential damage of such magical thinking should not be underestimated. Patrick Davis Davis Research Reports, I see no changes and no need to do anything. For many people, science has stripped humanity of a privileged position in the universe—and has even told us that our very existence is contingent and probably accidental. In contrast, magical thinking connects each and every believer with the grandest happenings of the universe, and makes each person feel special and unique.

Magical thinking thus promises to discover order, meaning, and beauty where science supposedly sees none. To be sure, many scientists find beauty in the world and believe that science testifies to the nobility rather than the paltriness of the human condition. Through the practice of science we learn our way around in nature rather than merely fantasize about it. We learn how to take matters into our own hands rather than leave ourselves hostage to forces beyond our control.

But this vision—which in its own way is grander and nobler than that proffered by astrology—is largely unfamiliar to the public. Needed, then, is an entire range of novel rhetorical and oratorical approaches. I have mentioned the idea of a rhetorical campaign to a number of scientists.

Some of them claimed, quite legitimately, that they have better things to do than to untangle and expose the obfuscations of astrology. Socrates did not disagree, but replied that philosophers who do not carry out their civic duty to govern will be punished by having to live in poorly governed cities. Robert P.


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Crease is an assitant professor of philosophy at the State University New York, Stony Brook, where he where he teaches philosophy of science.