Essays

This section contains a number of essays I've written on various matters mostly related with science and philosophy, in particular epistemic relativism ('how do we know our way of finding out what is true is unique?'). The common themes here What is science? Where are its limits? What other frameworks exist to find out about 'truth'? How is it applied in practice?

Philosophers argue frequently that scientists are not qualified to talk about the foundations of science. I have no formal degree in philosophy, but I have the ability to think deeply about such fundamental questions and I suspect I still might have some relevant insights here.

What's wrong with science?

The scientific method as it should work ideally is not quite identical to what happens in present-day academia. In this essay, I try to investigate the dynamics that drives science from finding out how nature is more and more towards formulating interesting speculations how nature might be and why this is a problem. I illustrate this point of view both with personal experiences as well as with claims of science which made it into the general public. Click the book to find out about the less well known side of the natural sciences.

Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion - a critical view from a scientific perspective

In the essay, I argue that Dawkins overplays his hand in arguing there can not be a god because science says so - while science is a terrific framework to find out about some questions, this doesn't mean it works everywhere as Dawkins argues in his book. Especially when applied to phenomena of the mind or rare phenomena, the assumptions under which science works are frequently undermined. Click the book to find out what I have to say about the limits of science.

Comments on postmodern philosophy

A tenet of postmodern philosophy is that reality is created in social discourse, and that hence science is just one example of such discourses, but that scientific results have no claim to a more objective truth outside the scientific community. Arguments along these lines frequently appear in internet discussions. This essay takes a critical stance on them and investigates in more detail in what situations what we commonly call reality is really a mallable concept and in what situations it is not. Click the book to read about the various forms of philosophical relativism.

Mediocracy

In this text, I search for an explanation of the puzzling observation why so many users in online communities appear to strive hard to alienate the very people who make the community meaningful for them, i.e. the experts who are able to provide educated and largely correct answers. The fact of the matter seems to be that there are often very different standards of what constitutes rudeness, for instance knowledgeable people are frequently perceived as being rude for merely correcting mistakes while they are addressed without any attempt at politeness. Such behaviour is often even supported by moderators who by this action damage the community in the longer run. Click the book to read through my experiences and attempts at an explanation.

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