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The Sciences

A question regarding the Popper Cult

Gene ExpressionBy Razib KhanJune 23, 2006 6:59 PM

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This is a question I'm throwing out to the philosophers out there, what is the current thinking in regards to Popper in philosophy of science? My own impression is that Popper is considered passe. I find this interesting, because in my personal experience when workings scientists mouth philospophical platitudes, it is almost purely in a Popperian language. A friend of mine who is a systematist was at a conference, and she recounted to me how a cladist badgered her after her presentation because she had violated "the Popperian method." Another time I read a paper which explored the evolution of molecular genetic systems under the impact of drift and selection where the authors formulated their model in an explicitly Popperian fashion. The emergence of cladistics which allowed for the application hypothetico-deductive model and phylogenetics is and was inspired by the Popperian demand for objective falsification. So what's the story? You tell me, are scientists standing on philosophical ruins?

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