Friday, 10 September 2010

A new demarcation problem

The demarcation between science and non-science (or science and pseudoscience) isn't clear.

That's been a source of worry for philosophers of science as long as there have been philosophers of science. Abstractly, the problem is one of splitting hairs: the very lifeblood of (some) philosophy. But answers to the demarcation question have definite and important implications far beyond the groves of academe. I won't bother rehearsing those implications now.

Swans on Tea points me to David Brin's take on things, which cuts against the grain. Rather than distinguishing between science and non-science, why not distinguish between skeptics and a deniers.
What discrete characteristics distinguish a rational, pro-science “climate skeptic” who has honest questions about the AGW consensus from members of a Denialist Movement that portrays all members of a scientific community as either fools or conspirators?
I urge you to read the whole thing.

See also this, from my colleagues at The Bubble Chamber.

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