Evolution, science, and story: a starting place
"Evolution in the sense of common ancestry might be true, but evolution in the neo-Darwinian sense -- an unguided, unplanned process of random variation and natural selection -- is not. Any system of thought that denies or seeks to explain away the overwhelming evidence for design in biology is ideology, not science" |
... Christopher Schönborn, New York Times, 2005
" ... scientific statements are not either claims or approximations to "Truth," but provisional stories, reflecting human perspectives, that get progressively less wrong. Whatever practical usefulness the stories have derives from and needs always to be understood in light of their provisional character ... Scientific stories are written not to be believed but to be understood, made use of as appropriate, and revised "
Science as process ... of Story Telling and Story Revision
|Linear science||Seriously loopy science|
|Science as body of facts established by specialized fact-generating people and process
Science as successive approximations to Truth
|Science as process of getting it less wrong, potentially usable by and contributed to by everyone
Science as ongoing story telling and story revision: repeated making of observations, interpreting and summarizing observations, making new observations, making new summaries ... individually and collectively
Science as skepticism, a style of inquiry that can be used for anything, one which everybody is equipped to to/can get better at/be further empowered by, and contribute to - a way of making sense of what is but even more of exploring what might yet be
Science as practical tool, continually being adapted and therefore
If "right" is understood as a unique/singular position, then "getting it less wrong" does not necessarily imply getting it "right" or even "more right".
Does science presume/depend on a long term aspiration to "Truth"?
|Scientific stories are frequently efforts to summarize the widest possible range of observations, always motivate new observations and hence new stories, should never be understood as "authoritative" or "believed in", do not compete with or invalidate other stories.
Key issues about scientific stories
Which of the following stories do you prefer?
Science = open-ended transactional cyclic observations/interpretation/creation; being wrong and conflict an important part of it; give up ideology/"definiteness", replace with commitment to "summary of observations", "getting it less wrong", continuing meaningful story creation/sharing/revision/evolution
Evolution? (to be returned to) Literature? Life? .... "Ever since Darwin, we live in a world of stories"?
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