Thursday, April 24, 2008

hobbit debate

A recent item on the hobbit debate sent me over to John Hawks most excellent blog and I have added the link on the left. I think the current unresolved controversy over the hobbits provenance nicely contradicts the claim sometimes encountered in the global warming and creationist debates that dissenting views in the scientific community are stifled.
Incidentally I spotted the following follow-up link on scientists' beer drinking habits vs productivity: which settles that one IMO.
Lithoguru's site is great, he has a good essay on realism vs antirealism. I hadn't come across this distinction before and it intrigues me. To summarize: both realists and antirealists believe there is is an objective reality and that science can be used to model and make predictions regarding this. However antirealists make no claim as to whether or not the scientific model is true, but are concerned only if the model is useful. I liked the antirealist position initially, however further thought on the subject inclines me to think this may be a weak position. Surely if we agree for example that general relativity combined with classical physics gives us a more accurate representation of objective reality than classical physics alone then it is more "realistic"?
Still there is no doubt that, given the limitations of the human intellect, our scientific models will always be imperfect.

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