The problem is that a lot of blowhards who set themselves up as "philosophers of science" have no clue as to what science actually is and how it operates. Many pursue a decidedly post-modern (PoMo) agenda, and one can't help but wonder if it is *jealousy* that drives them, rather than academic rigour. Others are trying to elbow in a little space for their private fantasies (often religion-based - science is rather hard on space pixies). There are of course some very good and honest philosophers of science, and scientists have a great deal to learn from philosophy. Many philosophers would do well to return the favour and pay attention to the science.
PZ has an interesting post on a related issue (as always).
Examples of serious facepalms by so-called "philosophers of science" include the devious but dopey "God's Undertaker" by John Lennox, Mary Midgley's spectacularly idiotic 1976 review of Dawkins' "The Selfish Gene" and Jerry Fodor's amazingly confuddled "On Darwinism".
Medical students should indeed learn about the philosophy of science in order to combat such exuberant ignorance. The key skill is *critical thinking*, and I would heartily recommend "Straight and Crooked Thinking" by RH Thouless, now astonishingly out of print, but gettable second hand on ebay & elsewhere. It rocks in a really rocking way.
We're doing it again! This time we are biking from Petra in Jordan up to Nazareth in Israel, to raise money for the Nazareth Hospital CT Scanner appeal. Last year we raised over £50,000 for the Children's Unit! Nazareth is the largest Arab town in Israel; the people are lovely, and the kids are awesome. Nazareth also treats kids in the West Bank of Palestine who have very limited access to healthcare. They need your help! Go to my sponsorship page to find out more and see what you can do! Maybe even join us..?
30 December 2009
Here is a little snippet of something I posted on the Doctors.Net.UK forum, but I thought could do with a wider airing. Agree? Disagree?
Posted by Shane at 22:58
23 December 2009
We made it to the top of the pass that leads to Jerash. This poor old donkey didn't. Please take a moment to remember this once-proud little beast of burden, and the final journey that finished it off.
The great news is that thanks to your help, I've managed to raise over £3000 for the Nazareth Hospital! Good work, everyone. The little donkey did not die in vain.
Posted by Shane at 22:10
20 December 2009
Religion is a funny thing. Over 5000 years ago, long before Yahweh was invented, the people of Egypt developed a sophisticated (and oft-misunderstood) religious system that lasted far longer than Christianity, yet vanished without a trace.
Yes, elements of Egyptian religion became incorporated into the new religion of Christianity (the Trinity is one example; much of the Gnosticism that ended up making its way into *mainstream* Christianity is also traceable to concepts directly related to the old Egyptian religion), but by and large it was forgotten.
At Christmas time, let's celebrate what came before. Let's raise a toast to the Egyptians, and make our snow-sphinxes (weather permitting) with pride.
Posted by Shane at 16:19
03 December 2009
Meet Luay, our indomitable Bicycle Repair Man for the Jordanian leg of our journey. Very fine chap. We were very sad to leave him at the border. Luay - if you read this, drop me an email - I lost your email address, and I need to ask you about some of the finer points of Arabic grammar...
Posted by Shane at 22:21