‘Induction over the history of science suggests that the best theories we have today will prove more or less untrue at the latest by tomorrow afternoon.’ Fodor, J. ‘Why Pigs don’t have wings,’ London Review of Books, 18th Oct 2007

Friday, 12 September 2008

Robert Winston Rejects Deterministic Science

Following Professor Reiss's comments, reported on this blog, Professor Robert Winston has now criticised 'science delusions' and 'deterministic' science at the British Association Festival of Science in Liverpool. He accuses militant atheists such as Richard Dawkins of damaging science with their rhetoric. It seems as though they are having an exiting time in Liverpool questioning some sacred cows.

Winston comments that; "Far too many scientists including my good friend Richard Dawkins present science as...factually correct. And actually of course that clearly isn't true." "I think that...it is actually...irresponsible. I think it poo-poos other people's views of a universe about which none of us know clearly or absolutely"

Rejecting a misplaced certainty in science, Winston commented further that the traditional "deterministic" approach to genetics is 'too simplistic.'

"We can't any longer have the conventional understanding of genetics which everybody pedals because it is increasingly obvious that epigenetics - actually things which influence the genome's function - are much more important than we realised . One of the most important aspects of what makes us who we are is neither straight genes or straight environment but actually what happens to us during development."

Clearly such evidence calls into question the type of neo-Darwinian explanation involving 'selfish genes' favoured by Richard Dawkins.

Winston also criticised the idea that science can be separated from technology and the application of science as he believes they are interconnected. Scientists must therefore have an eye on the application of science in their work.

Read the Guardian Science Blog 12 Sept. 2008 Winston - science delusions
Andrew S


Anonymous said...

what do you mean by deterministic?

Anonymous said...

Good to see some sense being promoted, but present it correctly in order to encourage respect: were they really having an "exiting time in Liverpool" (or an exciting one?) And you don't pedal conventional ideas, you peddle them.