Is Science Inevitable?
Alan Cromer, a physicist, argues that there
is highly suggestive evidence to the
Objective thinking, Cromer thinks,
basically arose once in history, in Ancient
Greece, due to a number of factors that are
all arguably neces
The Darwinian Revolution was comparable to the Copernican Revolution in significance.
No one after ~1700 remained
Yet even today there remain
Question: Must there be
opposition between Science and
Early Theories of The Earth
Following the Copernican Revolution, thinkers began to speculate that the Sun was simply one
of innumerably many stars with planets.
Speculation that the earth was one of possibly many inhabited planets was rampant.
Evolution in the 18th Century
Christianity and Natural Science
Many thinkers hoped to reconcile christianity with scientific discoveries.
Three important features distinguished their views from later ones:
1. Arguments from design
2. A linear chain of bei
Erasmus Darwin was Charles'
In his Zoonomia, he proposed a
theory of evolution similar to
that of Lamarck.
Later critics of Charles Darwin
claimed that his theories were
essentially the same as those of
Erasmus and Lamarck.
Internalist vs. Externalist History
Bowler discusses two different approaches to the history of the Darwinian Revolution.
Externalist history emphasizes social, political, ideological factors in the revolution.
Internalist history emphasizes the role of e
Scientific Arguments Against Darwinism
By 1870, many scientists had been persuaded that some form of evolutionary theory was
preferable to independent special creation of species.
However, whether Darwin's theory was correct remained in question.
Gregor Mendel in 1865
published some results from
His results eventually were
rediscovered and led to a
revolution in genetics.
In a nutshell:
Each characteristic in an
individual's phenotype is
transmitted by a un
Theories of the Origin of Life
The Primordial Soup
In 1953, Stanley Miller mixed
methane, ammonia, water
vapor, and hydorogen gas, and
applied electric sparks to the
After about a week, Miller
discovered that the mixture
In order to see how bizarre reality appears to
be, we can imagine the following
experiment (first described by Erwin
We place a cat in a box containing a
When the atom decays, it causes a vial of
We all have innumerably many beliefs.
But some of our beliefs are more central to
our worldviews than others.
For example, suppose that you learned that:
1. An NBA player has a giraffe as a pet.
2. Some compounds in orange juice are bad
A nice quote:
There is no such thing as philosophy-free
science, only science whose philosophical
baggage has been taken on board uncritically.
Aristotles Four causes
Material cause: the stuff out of which something
Formal cause: the struc
The Tree of Life
Dennett asks us to visualize the tree of life, which
is constructed to represent all ancestor-offspring
connections in the history of the Earth.
The picture that we can construct makes a
number of points clear, including the artificiality
Inverting the Cosmic Pyramid
Recall that many thinkers have discerned a Chain
of Being, a hierarchy of levels of being.
Most put Mind near the top of the hierarchy.
Furthermore, as we saw with Lockes argument,
Mind is often thought as in some sense not
2. Platonic Form - Things exist in a perfect form inside of the realm of forms th
Two Common Argument Forms against NeoDarwinism:
1. Argument from personal incredulity: I dont
see how or why so and so could have evolved.
Example: (p. 38 Dawkins) Polar bears and
2. Argument from intuitive probability:
Example: Most organs ar
Each element has its own characteristic natural motions.
earth: rectilinear, down (towards the center)
water: rectilinear, down
air: rectilinear, up (away from the center)
fire: rectilinear, up
Puzzles for Classical Physics
1. Black-body radiation: According to
classical physics, the energy of the
electromagnetic field in the vicinity of a
blackbody (a chunk of matter that emits
whatever light it absorbs) is infinite.
In order to avoid this fals
When two or more waves travel through
some medium (water, for example), they
interfere with each other.
For example, when two wave crests come
towards one another and collide, they
become a single, higher wave.
This phenomenon is called
The Relationality of Quantum Attributes
According to Herbert, Copenhagenists claim
that quantum systems do not have certain
attributes in themselves, intrinsically.
Rather, quantum features such as position or
momentum are aspects of the relation