(lect02) - demarcating science vis-à-vis pseudoscience

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  • Relevance of demarcationEvolution v. Intelligent design

    Demarcating science vis--vis pseudoscience

    Christian Wthrich

    http://philosophy.ucsd.edu/faculty/wuthrich/

    145 Philosophy of Science

    Christian Wthrich Topic 2

  • Relevance of demarcationEvolution v. Intelligent design

    The demarcation issue...

    ...attempts to define what distinguishes science fromnon-science and pseudoscience.

    But why would this be an important issue (outside, say, ofphilosophy lectures)?

    Christian Wthrich Topic 2

  • Relevance of demarcationEvolution v. Intelligent design

    Demarcation criteria...

    Martin Curd and J A Cover (eds.), Philosophy of Science: The Central Issues, New York: W W Norton (1998).

    ...are necessary conditions which any discipline must satisfy inorder to qualify as science, and can thus be used todifferentiate science from its counterfeit: if a discipline fails tomeet one of these conditions, then it is judged to benonscientific. (Curd and Cover, p. 2)

    Challenge: define such a set of conditions which is neither toonarrow in that is excludes valuable science, nor too wide in thatit includes activities generally not considered scientific.

    Christian Wthrich Topic 2

  • Relevance of demarcationEvolution v. Intelligent design

    The case of parapsychology

    Characterization (Parapsychology)

    Study of extrasensory perception and paranormal powers suchas telekinesis (distant movement), telepathy, clairvoyance, andprecognition.

    In 1969, the American Association for the Advancement ofScience (AAAS) admitted the Parapsychological Association asaffiliate member.

    official recognition as science

    Christian Wthrich Topic 2

  • Relevance of demarcationEvolution v. Intelligent design

    John A Wheelers reaction:

    We have enough charlatanism in this country today withoutneeding a scientific organization to prostitute itself to it. TheAAAS has to make up its mind whether it is seeking popularityor whether it is strictly a scientific organization.

    (to the President of the AAAS in 1979)

    The Parapsychological Association is still an affiliate member ofthe AAAS.

    Christian Wthrich Topic 2

  • Relevance of demarcationEvolution v. Intelligent design

    The case of alternative and complementary medicine

    Characterization (Alternative medicine)A catch-all phrase for a long list of treatments or medicinalsystems including traditional systems such as Chinese orAyurvedic medicine, homeopathy, various herbals and othermiscellaneous treatments that have not been accepted by themainstream, or Western, medical establishment. Online MedicalDictionary, published at the Dept. of Medical Oncology, University of Newcastle upon

    Tyne, 3 January 2007

    Characterization (Complementary medicine)Alternative medicine used in conjunction with conventionalmedical treatments.

    Christian Wthrich Topic 2

  • Relevance of demarcationEvolution v. Intelligent design

    Other famous and notorious cases

    AstrologySigmund Freuds psychoanalysisErich von Dnikens (Chariots of the Gods?) theory ofextraterrestrial influence on human culture sinceprehistoric times (paleocontact)Immanuel Velikovskys (Worlds in Collision) claimsaccording to which Earth has suffered catastrophicclose-encounters with other planets, even during recordedhistory

    Christian Wthrich Topic 2

  • Relevance of demarcationEvolution v. Intelligent design

    Relevance of demarcation issue

    Distinguishing science from non- or pseudoscience matters invery tangible ways:

    allocation of (public and private) resources such asresearch grants, positions in universities, access tofacilities of learning(science) curriculum in public schools

    In philosophy of science, we dont want to know so muchwhether particular traditions are considered scientific orpseudscientific, but rather why they are so considered.

    Christian Wthrich Topic 2

  • Relevance of demarcationEvolution v. Intelligent design

    Theory of evolution

    Characterization (Theory of Evolutionroughly)

    The basic mechanisms of the evolution of species are theindividual variation with respect to certain traits among themembers of a population, the heritability of these individualvariations from a member to its offspring, and the differentialselection of individuals based on the fitness of their individualtraits.

    The fact that this is a theory (= set of hypotheses, usuallyabout natural phenomena) does not say anything about its truthor falsity. This issue is entirely separate.

    Christian Wthrich Topic 2

  • Relevance of demarcationEvolution v. Intelligent design

    Intelligent design

    Characterization (Intelligent Design)

    The theory of intelligent design holds that certain features of theuniverse and of living things are best explained by an intelligentcause, not by an undirected process such as natural selection.(Discovery Institute, http://www.discovery.org/csc/topQuestions.php)

    Essentially, intelligent design is a edited version of creationism with allreferences to the Book of Genesis, the Christian religion, God, etcremoved.

    Christian Wthrich Topic 2

    http://www.discovery.org/csc/topQuestions.php

  • Relevance of demarcationEvolution v. Intelligent design

    The Scopes trial (1925)

    [Criminal Court of Tennessee]

    13 March 1925: Butler Act passed in TN (prohibitsteaching of evolution in public schools in TN)prohibited to teach in public schools any theory thatdenies the story in the Divine Creation of man as taught inthe Bible, and to teach instead that man has descendedfrom a lower order of animals21 July 1925: high school teacher John T Scopes foundguilty of teaching evolution and finedcase later dismissed on technicality

    Christian Wthrich Topic 2

  • Relevance of demarcationEvolution v. Intelligent design

    Epperson v. Arkansas (1968)

    [Supreme Court of the United States]

    in 1928, AR adopted law which prohibited any publicschool to teach evolutionno one ever prosecutedAR law was challenged in 1960sSupreme Court rules that AR law unconstitutional becauseit violated the Establishment Clause of the FirstAmendmentmajority of court held that a state is prohibited fromrequiring that teaching and learning must be tailored to theprinciples of prohibitions of any religious sect or dogma

    Christian Wthrich Topic 2

  • Relevance of demarcationEvolution v. Intelligent design

    Establishment Clause

    The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment states that:Congress shall make no law respecting anestablishment of religion

    Together with the Free Exercise Clause, (or prohibiting the freeexercise thereof), these two clauses make up what arecommonly known as the religion clauses.

    Separationist or no aid interpretation: prohibition of establishmentof national religion

    Non-preferentialist or accommodationist interpretation: prohibitionof preference of one religion over others or of religionover non-religious philosophies in general

    Christian Wthrich Topic 2

  • Relevance of demarcationEvolution v. Intelligent design

    Daniel v. Waters (1975)

    [US Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals]

    TN law requiring that evolution and creationism be givenequal time in teaching in public schoolsCourt struck this law down as violation of EstablishmentClausesimilar verdict in McLean v. Arkansas (1982)

    Christian Wthrich Topic 2

  • Relevance of demarcationEvolution v. Intelligent design

    Hendren v. Campbell (1977)

    [IN State Superior Court]

    ruling that a particular creationist textbook could not beused in IN public schoolsThe question is whether a text obviously designed topresent only the view of Biblical Creationism in a favorablelight is constitutionally acceptable in the public schools ofIndiana. Two hundred years of constitutional governmentdemand that the answer be no.

    Christian Wthrich Topic 2

  • Relevance of demarcationEvolution v. Intelligent design

    Edwards v. Aguillard (1987)

    [Supreme Court of the United States]

    at stake: LA law requiring that creation science [sic] betaught in public schools whenever evolution was taught(Balanced Treatment for Creation-Science andEvolution-Science in Public Schools Instructional Act)ruling: teaching creationism in public schools isunconstitutional because it attempts to advance aparticular religionhowever, the ruling also stated that teaching a variety ofscientific theories about the origins of humankind to schoolchildren might be validly done with the clear secular intentof enhancing the effectiveness of science instruction.

    Christian Wthrich Topic 2

  • Relevance of demarcationEvolution v. Intelligent design

    Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District (2005)

    [US District Court for the Middle District of PA]

    first direct challenge in federal courts against a publicschool district that required the presentation of intelligentdesign as an alternative to evolution as an explanation ofthe origin of lifeplaintiffs successfully argued that intelligent design is aform of creationism, and that the school board policy thusviolates the Establishment Clause

    Christian Wthrich Topic 2

  • Relevance of demarcationEvolution v. Intelligent design

    McLean v. Arkansas Board of Education (1982)

    [US District Court for the Eastern District of AR]

    Arkansas Act 590: requires teachers in public schools togive a balanced treatment to both evolutionary theoryand creationism in biology classesin fact, it stipulated that if evolution is taught, thencreationism is to be given equal timeruling: Act is unconstitutionaldefendants did not appeal decision

    Christian Wthr