Re: [asa] Origins of Life

From: David Campbell <>
Date: Mon Jun 15 2009 - 16:28:34 EDT

> Although they need not be explicit, or even can be not in accord with
> the metaphysics that the experimenter professes, in doing an
> experiment one makes several metaphysical assumptions, such as
> There is some sort of external reality.
> Experimenters can meaningfully study that reality.
> The external reality usually behaves in a regular manner.
> Studying the external reality is worthwhile.
> Claims about the external reality ought to be tested experimentally.
> Results of experiments ought to be reported truthfully.

These can easily seem to be self-evident truths; however, I would
argue that they are (1) outside the realm of science, being
assumptions about the nature of reality and (2) not all held under
many worldviews.

For example, serious polytheism generally holds that you never know
what some deity might be up to, a challenge to the premise that things
will behave regularly.

One reason that modern science didn't especially develop in ancient
Greece is that real work was for slaves and lower classes; thinking
was the ideal activity. This runs against the need to check ideas
against external reality.

While few would overtly claim that one ought to be dishonest, quite a
few views assert that conformity to the preconceptions of a system are
more important than scientific truthfulness.

Dr. David Campbell
425 Scientific Collections
University of Alabama
"I think of my happy condition, surrounded by acres of clams"
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Received on Mon Jun 15 16:29:06 2009

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