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Title: Realism, Antirealism and Naturalism AND Evolution


1

Naturalism
Realism,
Antirealism,
AND Evolution
and Implications
Expositions
2

PART I
Expositions
3
Section A Realism
4
A Brief Summary of Realism
  • Realism in modern philosophy is a doctrine
    according to which ordinary objects perceived by
    senses, such as tables and chairs, have an
    existence independent of their being perceived.
  • It is contrary to the idealism of philosophers
    such as George Berkeley or Immanuel Kant.
  • In its extreme form, also called as full-blown
    and naïve realism, the things perceived by the
    senses are believed to be exactly what they
    appear to be. In more sophisticated versions,
    known as critical realism, a relationship between
    the object and the observer is establish in order
    to account for perceptual errors (such as
    illusion, hallucination, and sensory
    physiological degenerations)

5
What Full-Blown Scientific Realists Hold about
Science
  • Scientific realism is a philosophical doctrine
    that advocates acceptance of the most secure
    findings of scientists "at the face value. and
    as the "only conceivable explanation" of
    science's predictive and manipulative successes.
  • Full-Blown SR trust that both Theories and Data
    reflect or correspond to the world.

6
Support for Scientific Realism ?
  • Atomic Theory
  • For many centuries people envisioned an
    elementary particle atom, and were theorizing
    about atoms.
  • Only recently atoms could be seen under the
    microscope and proved to correspond well to the
    more refined modern atomic theories.

7
SR and Theory of Rabbit in the Hat
  • What is in the hat ?
  • ???
  • Clue It moves.
  • Worm in the hat
  • Clue Its warm
  • Baby Pig in the hat
  • Clue Its furry
  • Cat in the hat
  • Clue It has long ears
  • Rabbit in the hat
  • YES IT IS A RABBIT IN THE HAT !
  • Scientific Realist Conclusion Good Hypothesis
    brings one closer and closer to reality, until
    the hypothesis equals the truth.

8
Section B Antirealists
9
Are all Antirealists alike ?
  • No. There are those who accept data but not
    theories and they are called instrumentalists.
    Many positivists are instrumentalists.
  • And there those who reject both data and facts,
    so called full-blown antirealists.

Theory Data
FB Realists Accept Accept
Global Antirealists Reject Reject
Instrumentalists Reject Accept
10
A Brief Summary of Antirealism
There are two types of antirealists
instrumentalists and global antirealists. Instrume
ntalism A variety of pragmatism developed at the
University of Chicago by John Dewey and his
colleagues. Thoughts, spooky ideas and
theories are considered by instrumentalists as a
mean to an end (way to solve difficulties and
cope with new situations). And these do not bear
resemblance to reality. While empirical
observations do indeed provide us the accurate
sense of reality. Global AntirealistsA variety
of extreme skepticism. Global Antirealists deny
not only the resemblance to truth of theories,
but of data and observations as well. While a
healthy doze of skepticism is not only important
but essential for science, extreme skepticism
produces no science (like in taxes dilemma 0
tax rate skepticism no public goods science
as no money for public goods will be available
no one will sort among tons of rubbish to
identify ounces of good science while 100 tax
rate skepticism means no public goods science
either as no one is willing to work to pay taxes
all science will be discarded and no produced)
11
Global Antirealism Anti-science ?
  • Ironically while moderate skepticism (like that
    of Carl Sagan one of the founders of Skeptical
    Inquire magazine) is very healthy for science.
    Extreme skepticism, instead of being extremely
    healthy, is extremely harmful to science. This is
    because by denying everything as real, anything
    can be real.
  • Thus for true global antirealists there is no
    distinction on truth between modern cosmology
    and medieval church cosmology and accept any
    theories on matter of belief my intuition say
    so, traditions my bible say so or
    convenience my publisher and advertiser say
    so. Indeed global antirealists scientists are
    anti-science. And being such is as paradoxical as
    being a nihilistic ethicist.

12
What Instrumentalists Hold about Science ?
  • Instrumentalists trust that only Data reflects or
    corresponds to the world.
  • Theories are often useful heuristics to discover
    Data, but ultimately fictions.

13
Support for Instrumentalists Position Ether Case
Ether
  • To explain how light moves through cosmos
    scientists hypothesized of a all-penetrating
    substance called ether.
  • Eventually a storm created by earth as it
    frictions with ether was predicted but that
    wasn't observed and Einsteins Special Theory of
    Relativity replaced ether.
  • Before ether was declared a fiction it was
    factored out in equations by physicists and the
    concept often proved useful, even if false.
  • INSTRUMENTALISTS CONCLUSION Theories are just
    crutches, they help support ones walking science
    progress but can never replace legs data.

No Ether
Ether ?
14
Instrumentalists and Theory of Rabbit in the
Hat
  • What is in the hat ?
  • ???
  • Clue It moves.
  • Worm in the hat
  • Clue Its warm
  • Warm worm in the hat (due to heat in the room)
  • Clue Its furry
  • furry warm worm in the hat (due to fur in the
    hat)
  • Clue It has long ears
  • furry warm worm in the hat with long ears (due to
    radiation in the room).
  • NO, IT IS A RABBIT, NOT A FURRY WARM WORM WITH
    long EARS IN THE HAT !
  • Instrumentalists Conclusion Therefore All
    Hypothesizes and Theories are Fictional

15
Global Antirealists and Theory of the Rabbit in
the Hat
  • What is in the hat ?
  • ???
  • Clue It moves.
  • ???
  • Clue Its warm
  • ???
  • Clue Its furry
  • ???
  • Clue It has long ears
  • ???
  • IT IS A RABBIT IN THE HAT. TAKE A LOOK!
  • ???
  • Global Antirealists Conclusion By being
    presented with the facts our knowledge about
    truth doesnt increase. Even seeing, does not
    mean believing.

16
Section C Naturalism
17
A Brief Summary of Naturalism
  • Naturalism conceive nature as the whole of
    reality and can be understood only through
    scientific investigation.
  • It denies the existence of the supernatural and
    reduces metaphysics, which studies the ultimate
    nature of reality, and theology which suggests
    design and metaphysical necessity in nature to
    little relevance.
  • Since the naturalism denies a transcendent
    ultimate end for humankind (ultimate is beyond
    discovery), it suggests that values must be found
    within the social context, a form of social
    contract (which preferably is humanistic and
    utilitarian).

18
  • According to naturalism realism and anti-realism
    miss the point when the conceive a dualistic
    relationship between theories on one side, and
    "the world" on the other . According to
    naturalists, theories are human are indeed
    constructions as antirealists suggest but we
    experience the world us through our theories as
    realists suggest. Thus it is irrelevant in
    comparing theories to the world, as it is
    irrelevant in comparing drivers view of car
    with eagle eye view of car. (a driver can never
    be an eagle, and once he/she exits the car, cease
    to be a driver, similarly a human can never have
    a god eye view (or god-of-the-gaps eye view)
    and once one ceases to be a human it cannot have
    any perceptions at all.

19
Some Myths about Naturalists
  • All Naturalists are Relativists.
  • Naturalists are NOT relativists Some theories
    are more coherent to and correspond better with
    current knowledge than others.              
  • All Naturalists are extremely skeptical.
  • Naturalists are NOT hardliner skeptics  while
    naturalists generally agree that our perception
    is not perfect, they think that with advancement
    of technology microscopes telescopes our
    perception of reality increase.
  • All Naturalists are Communists/Nihilists/Social
    Darwinists
  • Naturalism is a conception about scientific
    theories not economical or social theories. While
    some naturalists are communists. Some are
    nihilists. And some are Social Darwinists. Many
    are not. In fact most naturalists leave a
    fruitful and happy life as naturalistic
    conception of the world redeems one of from fear
    of afterlife retribution (and even reward, as
    Isaac Asimov putted in one of his science fiction
    novel the hope for death is what keeps me
    alive) and reconciles one with the best truth a
    human can perceive.

20
Naturalism and Theory of Rabbit in the Hat
  • What is in the hat ?
  • Insufficient data.
  • Clue It moves.
  • To the best of my knowledge it is probably a worm
    in the hat.
  • Clue Its warm
  • To the best of my knowledge it is probably a baby
    Pig in the hat
  • Clue Its furry
  • To the best of my knowledge it is probably a cat
    in the hat
  • Clue It has long ears
  • To the best of my knowledge it is probably a
    rabbit in the hat.
  • YES IT IS A RABBIT IN THE HAT !
  • Naturalist Conclusion Good Hypothesis brings one
    closer and closer to reality, until the
    hypothesis equals the truth, but until that point
    we need to maintain a doze of healthy scientific
    skepticism and make our conclusions tentative.

21

Implications
PART II
22
Realism and Evolutionary Theory
  • According to full-blown scientific realists
    theories that Charles Darwin presented were more
    or less accurate, and in correspondence with
    reality, if not complete. And data that seems to
    support evolution is quite accurate and in
    correspondence with reality as well.

23
Thus Scientific Realist Would
Accept current classification of animal kingdom
as accurate and real (matches data)
Accept macroevolution as accurate and real
(matches data).
Accept microevolution as accurate and real.
(matches data observable)
Accept English Peppered Moths as real evidence
for microevolution. (observable)
Accept fossils of Archaeopteryx as real evidence
for macroevolution (observable)
24
Instrumentalism and Evolutionary Theory
  • Instrumentalists are likely to reject
    macroevolution theory as real, as it can be
    observed, however accept microevolution
    (variations within species) as it was observed in
    finches and bacteria.
  • However while rejecting macroevolution theory, as
    real, they will admit its usefulness for modern
    biology. they will accept the evidence that
    support. They will also accept visible evidence
    for macroevolution, as fossils of Archaeopteryx
    (some concerns might arouse among
    instrumentalists about carbon dating techniques
    used to determine age of Archaeopteryx whether
    they are theoretical or factual)

25
Thus Instrumentalism Would
Reject current classification of animal kingdom
as accurate and real (unobservable)
Reject macroevolution as accurate and real
(unobservable)
Accept microevolution as accurate and real
(observable in bacteria and birds).
Accept English Peppered Moths as real evidence
for microevolution (observable).
Accept fossils of Archaeopteryx as real evidence
for macroevolution (observable)
26
Global Antirealism and Evolutionary Theory
  • Global Antirealists will reject evolutionary
    theory unambiguously. They will reject tenets of
    the theory as well the evidence that supports it.
    For them evidence are mere Darwin Icons (or
    worse devil icons) and are irrelevant on
    establishing truth. In fact truth cannot be ever
    established (so lets us pray).

27
Thus Global Antirealists Would
Reject current classification of animal kingdom
as accurate and real.
Reject macroevolution as accurate and real.
Reject microevolution as accurate and real (as it
can be observed).
Reject English Peppered Moths as real evidence
for microevolution.
Accept fossils of Archaeopteryx as real evidence
for macroevolution
28
Naturalism and Evolutionary Theory
  • According to naturalism the occurrence of both
    macroevolution and microevolution is plausible.
    And we can accept theories that support evolution
    as readily as facts. However our acceptance
    should be tentative, and as we gather new
    evidence for or against evolution our theories
    should change accordingly.
  • That is not to say that in the face of the facts
    Intelligent Design merits to be mentioned along
    evolution, nor could be ever a place for
    supernatural creation though if we gather enough
    evidence, which highly implausible, for alien
    creation then alien creationism can constitute
    a completive theory to evolution.

29
Thus Naturalism Would
?
Question current classification of animal kingdom
as accurate and real (as it is likely that there
would be many changes to it in the future)
?
Tentatively Accept macroevolution as accurate and
real.
?
Tentatively Accept microevolution as accurate and
real.
Accept English Peppered Moths as real evidence
for microevolution.
Accept fossils of Archaeopteryx as real evidence
for macroevolution
30
Conclusion
Evolutionary theory seems to be better supported
by the naturalistic conception of the world as it
integrates harmoniously a doze of healthy
skepticism from instrumentalists with a doze of
acceptance or reality from realists. Plus it
brings its own wise different approach to
science, instead of deluding ourselves that we at
look science objectively through objective
senses, or deluding ourselves that we look at
science subjectively through subjective senses,
we should know that our senses are subjective,
but nonetheless try to look at science
objectively.
31
Credits
  • Lynn Hankinson Nelson
  • Professor, Department of Philosophy
  • University of Washington
  • Microsoft Encarta 2003
  • http//plato.stanford.edu/entries/scientific-reali
    sm/
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