The paper “ Charles Darwin's Evolution Theory according to Karl Popper, Thomas Kuhn, and van Fraassen“ is a meaty variant of a literature review on philosophy. While we continue to consider the theory of Charles Darwin as a relatively young archetype, the evolutionary worldview has been and will continue to be as old as antiquity. Let us take Anaximander for instance. He postulated the evolution of man from animals and that of life from non-life. And as long as his postulations still live with us, I have been assuming that Darwin just brought something unique to the already existing philosophy— a plausible concept he named “ natural selection. ” My own words will have a natural selection as the ability of other organisms to preserve a working advantage that can enable them competes favorably than others.
With this definition as the basis of my assessment, this paper intends to analyze Darwin’ s theory of evolution by natural selection and prove whether such theory carries with it any scientific theory that can be tested as suggested by Karl Popper, Thomas Kuhn, and Bas van Fraassen. Philosophical ideas of Karl PopperThe paper “ Charles Darwin’ s Evolution Theory according to Karl Popper, Thomas Kuhn, van Fraassen“ is a meaty variant of a literature review on philosophy.
Perhaps the most intriguing philosophical criticism of Charles Darwin’ s theory is what Karl Popper argues about. According to Asimov and Gish (1981, p. 82), Popper claims that the concept by Darwin is not a testable scientific theory; instead, a program that has a metaphysical approach in its research. The most direct interpretation I get from the above statement is that the concept of natural selection is unscientific because Charles did not prove how such a claim can be tested.
Before embarking on arguments, counter-argument and refutations brought by Popper later on his works, let us consider his subtle approach towards the theory. Popper argues that the concept of natural selection is simply non-existent. He sees the concept as merely a host of paleontological and biological observations. To add to this claim he argues, “ … there exists no law of evolution, only the historical fact that plants and animals change, or more to be precise, that they have changed… ” (Popper, 1963b, p.
340) According to his book, Objective Knowledge, he further argues that the theory of natural selection cannot be claimed to be scientific but metaphysical research program (p. 151). To conclude on his counter-argument regarding the theory, Popper tries to come up with the falsification criterion to solve the problem of demarcation. In my understanding, Popper argues that we find good science when hypotheses can be shown that they are false. Despite the above argument regarding Darwinian Theory, Popper later admitted that his points of contentions were wrong.
To correct his initial stance, Popper begins by saying that the concept of natural selection has been difficult to test. And so, many anti-Darwinists and he have believed that to some degree the concept is a tautology. And as quoted by Halstead (1980) Popper says, “ I have changed my mind about the testability and logical status of the theory of natural selection; I am glad to have an opportunity to make a recantation” (pp. 215-217). To make Darwinian Theory looks more of a science, he argues that the concept of natural selection is testable and strictly universally true.
Popper admits that modern Darwinism is the most successful that contains relevant facts and so he has always have interested in the theory and ready to accept it as fact.
Asimov, I., and Gish, D. T. (1981). The Genesis War: A Debate."Science Digest, p. 82. Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press.
Halstead, B. (1980). Popper: Good Philosophy, Bad Science?" New Scientist, 87: 215-217.
Kuhn, Thomas S.(1970). The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. (2nd. edition enlarged) Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Popper, K.R. (1972). Objective Knowledge: An Evolutionary Approach. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Popper, K.R. (1963a). "Science: Problems, Aims, Responsibilities." Federation Proceedings, 22:961-972. The Beacon Press.
Popper, K.R. (1963b). Conjectures and Refutations. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.
van Fraassen, B.C. (1980). The Scientific Image, Oxford: OxfordUniversity Press.