January 26, 2015 by Zerub Roberts
1.Methodological naturalism – Experimental results are supposed to have no divine interference. You cannot disprove that some wacky anti-scientific demon interfered with your data, but science would be completely futile if this weren’t presupposed. Although you may not be able to justify such a position, it’s what philosophers call “a properly basic belief” – a person holding such a belief would be justified, even if there’s isn’t any positive support for it, as long as there are no defeaters (or contrary evidence).
2. Science isn’t a mere model-making quest – it attempts at understanding the true nature of reality (realism). The objects of scientific knowledge are real entities, as opposed to just fictional constructs to better explain observations. There are a few who would disagree with this, however.
3. Scientific laws are uniform and comprehensible – They don’t vary across space and time. The human brain is capable of understanding the patterns and laws that frame the world. This too, has no way of being justified. There’s so much of the unobserved universe around. There is no reason why gravity shouldn’t work differently at the other end of our universe. However, for the purpose of doing science, this view is taken to be granted.
4. Occam’s Razor – You do not multiply causes beyond necessity. You could have an infinite number of explanations for any phenomena, literally. But explanatory parsimony is a well-sought virtue for scientific theories. You always chose the simpler model.
- I could have eaten the chocolate and forgot about it.
- My dog ate it.
- My brother stole it while I wasn’t looking around.
- A monkey entered my home and took it. (which isn’t so rare where I used to live before, btw)
- The FBI could’ve invented a time-machine, froze time, warped space and stole my chocolate.
5. Nature is not inexplicable – If it were, the whole scientific enterprise would be rendered useless.