Posts tagged ‘philosophy of science’

April 8th, 2015

Explanation, Teleology, and Efficient Causation in Science

by Max Andrews

Inference to the Best Explanation Revisited (Our Method of Inquiry)

  • When using certain theoretical terms, as in the inference to quarks, the epistemic process cannot restrict explanations to only natural or empirical explanations. If one attempts to strip science of all metaphysical import then material causation is the only sufficient form of scientific explanation. However, this has an unnecessary restriction on science and is incongruent with one’s epistemology (if it is to be robust). The robust epistemology certainly accounts for inferential explanations that are not necessarily required to be material. The epistemic methodology may be identical to a non-scientific context but when this methodology is applied in a scientific context then the explanation is ruled out a priori with no [apparent] justification (hence the removal of efficient and final causation from science). Thus, scientific explanations must not necessarily be material explanations. Remember, by using inferential explanations such as quarks and protons we observer their effects and infer as to what the best antecedent causal explanation may be. It’s an issue over the identity of what antecedent causes could be. (In a normal epistemic process the antecedent may be agency).

March 3rd, 2015

Can Laws of Nature Evolve?

by Max Andrews

Given that we live in an evolutionary universe where stars are born from a cosmic dust and the gravitational affects on such dust particles form intense, massive, hot stars and where life can evolve from simplicity to complexity, or so it’s postulated; could the laws of nature evolve as well? It’s an important question. If we say the universe and life evolves does that mean everything can evolve or evolution is only possible with a given consistency of a non-evolutionary framework?

The following are a few questions raised in light of Rupert Sheldrake’s The Science Delusion: Freeing The Spirit Of Enquiry. 

The argument that he advances in the chapter involves something he calls ‘habits’, which are “a kind of memory inherent in nature”. (From what I understand, he has also advanced this within a theory of ‘morphic resonance’ in his other published works.) Putting aside his case for these ‘habits’, three questions that he poses to materialists at the end of the chapter caught my eye:

1) If the laws of nature existed before the Big Bang, and governed the Big Bang from its first instant, where were they?

2) If the laws and constants of nature all came into being at the moment of the Big Bang, how does the universe remember them? Where are they ‘imprinted’?

3) How do you know that the laws of nature are fixed and not evolutionary?

February 3rd, 2015

Discovery Institute’s Summer Seminar 2015

by Max Andrews

Discovery Institute Summer Seminar 2015The Discovery Institute’s next summer seminars are from July 10-18, 2015 in Seattle.  I attended the seminar in 2010.  Once you’re labeled as an ID proponent your academic career is potentially slowed down or halted, unfortunately. Thankfully, I haven’t had any problems even though I’m still agnostic in many areas concerning intelligent design. I’ve gone on to become a Philosophy PhD Candidate at the University of Edinburgh and a I teach two classes in the philosophy of science as a tutor (academic freedom is written into my contract and have had great support from people within the university in regards to my research: fine-tuning and the ontology of many worlds scenarios). I’ve already outed myself as it’s not hard to find it in a quick Google search (I’m a philosopher so it’s not as academically persecuted).

I have no negative comments concerning the DI’s seminar.  In fact, I have more respect for the institute and fellows.  There were two concurrent seminars (natural and social sciences [now the CS Lewis Fellows Program]) that interacted with each other on a regular basis and combined on many occasions.

December 15th, 2014

VIDEO: The Thomisitic Abductive Cosmological Argument (TACA)

by Max Andrews

November 19-21 was this year’s annual Evangelical Philosophical Society’s conference. I coauthored a paper with Dave Beck of Liberty University. This is the third year in a row I’ve had a paper accepted for presentation at EPS.

Title:  “A New and Abductive Thomistic Cosmological Argument”

Abstract:  Due to advances in cosmology and theoretical physics the origin of the universe is being relentlessly debated. Nevertheless, whether there is one universe or even an infinite plurality of universes, Thomas Aquinas’ argument for the existence of a first cause from contingency circumvents the debate of temporal beginnings to the universe; such as those that are embedded within the kalam cosmological argument. Tensed, tenseless, dynamic, static, endurantist, and perdurantist theories of time will be irrelevant or be peripheral at best. Physical science as a system will always require further explanation, not mere description, and that explanation will always have to appeal to something outside of itself. This is true for any philosophical and/or theological explanation of science. In this paper we will attempt a consilience of Thomas’ argument from contingency and modern cosmology to show that regardless of whether the universe had a temporal beginning, or what the nature of that beginning might have been, it would still be best explained by a first uncaused cause. We will defend Thomas’ notion of radical contingency and argue against a necessitation understanding of Thomas that is often misattributed to him. This metaphysic will be used as a plausible and defensible abductive cosmological argument, which will appeal to the radical contingency of constituents of the universe, and thus take the form of an argument to the best explanation.

October 31st, 2014

10 Things That Annoy Philosophers

by Max Andrews

If you want to get under the skin of a philosopher there are a few ways to irk us. There’s more that just the annoyance of telling someone you’re a philosopher and they respond, “Oh, I took a psychology course in university!” Yes, that type of misunderstanding warrants the philosopher’s incredulous stare… just as these will:

10. “So, how will you make money? What do you do?”

Okay, so I’m not an engineer. I’m not a research chemist for a Fortune 500 corporation and I may not be able to work most blue collar tasks… However, I, and other philosophers, think (but there’s more!). For the philosopher, the act of philosophizing is not a mere intellectual exercise that could exist solely in consciousness. To the contrary, philosophy is a procedure and inquiry to the self, a “discovery and self-liberation.” The intellectual and cognitive acts of philosophy are participatory in their inquiry of the world. This would be very similar to the understanding that Socrates is the philosopher. He not only taught and philosophized, but he understood that the very act of philosophizing was an act of engagement with the world and it was a way of life.

9. The university administration putting philosophy in the periphery

Philosophy departments aren’t typically the big money-makers at university–typically. However, the university system needs to understand that the philosophy faculty, the philosophy students, and the discipline of philosophy in general is an investment rather than a moneymaker. I’ve seen firsthand that a university can divest in the philosophy department. Academia, the provost, the administrators, et al, need to view philosophy as the foundation by which a university is built and sustained.

October 6th, 2014

Google Hangout – “God and the Multiverse” Oct. 11

by Max Andrews

This week on Oct. 11 I will be doing a public talk via Google + Hangout with the Christian Apologists in Calgary, Canada. The topic of my talk will be on God and the multiverse. This promo video will outline what I’ll be speaking on. There will also be a Q&A afterwards.

No matter where you are in the world you can tune in and watch/listen to the lecture here.

It starts 7pm MST, which is 2am my time. The talk, including the Q&A interaction, will last about an hour and a half.

September 14th, 2014

Podcast: What Kinds of Multiverses are There?

by Max Andrews


Contemporary physics seem to indicate that there are good reasons, theoretically and physically, for an idea that there is a plurality of worlds. This concept has come to be understood as the multiverse. The multiverse is not monolithic but it is modeled after the contemporary understanding of an inflationary model of the beginning of this universe. Max Tegmark has championed the most prominent versions of the multiverse. Tegmark has made a four-way distinction.

Levels of the Multiverse

September 3rd, 2014

The Podcast Archive

by Max Andrews

I’ve created an archive to store my Eavesdropping podcasts from SoundCloud and have made them available in the Archive Tab just below the site banner. Once I add a podcast I’ll be updating the archive as to not continuously flood the posts with the podcasts as the podcasts are coming out more frequently than the normal posts.

Eavesdropping is the podcast for Sententias. Eavesdropping is a conversational, informal podcast that is sometimes a monologue, or dialogue with guests, on various topics including philosophy, theology, science, contemporary events, and random meanderings of a philosopher. The primary focuses are, of course, philosophy of science, multiverse scenarios, and Molinism. I’m also an American living abroad in Edinburgh, Scotland so listeners will likewise get to hear about the European/British/Scottish experiences.

All content is copyrighted to Max Andrews with and the music for the podcasts have been used with permission by its composer and creator, Sam Andrews, who is studying music at Longwood University in Virginia, USA.

Please consider donating via my PayPal (also the yellow donate button on the right column) to help me continue my research and online presence. I’m always very grateful. Thank you.

For listening on the go, download the SoundCloud App:

Apple SoundCloud App

Google/Android SoundCloud App

Once you’ve downloaded the app from your respective store (free) then go to then open it up, find the search button and search for “Sententias”. Then you’ll find my podcast page and you can subscribe and listen from there an on the go!

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Below is the episode archive:

Eavesdropping Ep 1: AUG 7 2014

Eavesdropping Ep 2: AUG 8 2014 Affirmations & Denials

Eavesdropping Ep 3: AUG 9 2015 Tyler McNabb on Catholicism

Eavesdropping Ep4: Ignorant People are Often Ignorant of Ignorance

Eavesdropping Ep5: Many Worlds and Modal Realism

Eavesdropping Ep6: Advice to Serious Students

Eavesdropping Ep7: What I Think About Police

Eavesdropping Ep8: Beginner Philosophers

Eavesdropping Ep9: Max Baker-Hytch on Culture and Religious Belief

Eavesdropping Ep10: Science and Pseudoscience

Eavesdropping Ep11: Top Ten Movies from a Philosophical Perspective (or Not)

Eavesdropping Ep12: The Quantum Scale

Eavesdropping Ep13: Scientific Theology and Thomas Torrance

Eavesdropping Ep14: The Relationship Between Philosophy And Science

Eavesdropping Ep15: Escaping the Beginning of the Universe

Eavesdropping Ep16: Constructive Empiricism

Eavesdropping Ep17: What’s A Scientific Theory?

Eavesdropping Ep18: My Position On Creation

Eavesdropping Ep19: Top Ten Podcasts for Your Brain

Eavesdropping Ep20: How To Argue For God’s Existence

Eavesdropping Ep21: The New Moral Argument

Eavesdropping Ep22: The Likelihood Principle

Eavesdropping Ep23: Fine Tuning Lecture

August 14th, 2014

Eavesdropping Ep10: Science and Pseudoscience

by Max Andrews

In this episode I discuss criteria for making the demarcation between science and pseudoscience–that is, what we should consider science and non-science. I use an example of “Creation Science” as an example and evaluate whether or not it is scientific.

Full Text:…nd-pseudoscience/

Max Andrews Eavesdropping Podcast Science and Pseudoscience Philosophy

August 10th, 2014

Eavesdropping Ep5: Many Worlds and Modal Realism

by Max Andrews

In Eavesdropping Ep5 I discuss my recent from Cambridge University where I presented a paper titled “The Ontology of Many Worlds and Thomistic Modal Realism”. This paper is a continuation of research from this summer’s forthcoming Philosophia Christi publication “God and the Multiverse” I coauthored with Dave Beck. The part of the paper that pertains particularly to the philosophy of science is also a part of doctoral research. There is another version of this paper that is more detailed though it excludes the initial theological/historical aspects. I included the theological preface for the presentation since it’s a continuation of “God and the Multiverse”. The current, more detailed technical paper has been submitted to a journal and is currently under review.

To view the paper please see:…dale-house-paper/