Posts tagged ‘philosophy of science’

November 23rd, 2015

Personal and Research Updates

by Max Andrews

Since the site has been down for approximately three months and is slowly getting back up, I’d like to give an update on what has been happening and some changes in the direction of my doctoral research.

Over the last couple years a lot of things have happened but the details will have to remain absent for now. One series of events led to several medical bills from the States needing to be paid. Due to some government policy changes they were moved to the forefront, which required immediate attention and affected much of my financial situation over here. A friend of mine, Alfonso Alvarez created a fundraising page, which completely blew me away.

So many friends and strangers helped me exceed my goal to help with the circumstances. I’m very grateful for everyone who helped. For those who prayed, gave financially, and even gave food, thank you! I’m truly humbled by what happened and it was quite encouraging. To see how a community of like-minded people can come together and help out another person is inspirational. I’ve given ebook copies to all those who helped that wanted them. Some were anonymous and if you’d like to get in touch with me and get your copies, please do.

August 13th, 2015

What is a Scientific Explanation?

by Max Andrews

Scientific Explanation

  • If scientific explanation is causal explanation, and causation is law-governed sequence, then it follows that scientific explanations require laws.  However, a problem with this (i.e. the ideal gas law: PV=nRT) is that instead of making things clearer, it threatens to involve the analysis of scientific explanation in a thicket of “metaphysical” issues that several philosophers and positivists sought to avoid.[1] Scientific explanation requires a causal explanation, which requires a law-governed explanation.
  • Natural law describes but does not explain natural phenomena.
    • Consider the use of D-N: Newton’s law of universal gravitation described, but did not explain, what caused gravitational attraction.  Newton claimed that he invented no hypotheses but deduced them from observations produced by rationalistic positivism, which engulfed contemporary European science.  Even though Newton’s law does not explainthe data, it is still scientific but offers no scientific explanation.  Many scientific theories do not offer an explanation by natural law.  Instead, they postulate past regularities to explain presently observed phenomena, which also, in turn, allow for predictive capabilities
  • Our knowledge of cause and effect relationships, which can sometimes formulate as laws, will often guide the inferences that scientists make about what happened in the past and will influence their assessment of the plausibility of competing explanations.
    read more »

August 10th, 2015

My E-Books: From Molinism to Existentialism

by Max Andrews


I have gathered my four e-books that I’ve published through Amazon in one convenient spot. Although it would be advantageous to set up a proper author’s page with Amazon but I have yet to do that and simply searching ‘Max Andrews’ isn’t sufficient for finding all the literature (unless you type in another keyword or the title).

If you haven’t already, please share and/or buy these books that you or a friend or a family member may be interested in. The profits go towards keeping this site up and running.

  • Screen Shot 2014-08-07 at 11.45.38 PMAn Introduction to Molinism: Scripture, Reason, and All that God has Ordered (The Spread of Molinism Book 1)
    • The task of a Molinist perspective of middle knowledge is to remove the perceived dilemma between human freedom and divine foreknowledge. Middle knowledge is the second logical moment of God’s omniscience. There are three logical moments, the first being natural knowledge. With natural knowledge God knows everything that could logically happen. The third moment is God’s free knowledge; God knows all true propositions of the actual world. Middle knowledge lies logically in between these, which affirms that God knows all true counterfactual propositions, or possess hypothetical knowledge of future contingents. The following is an attempt to provide reasonable grounds for affirming divine middle knowledge.

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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