Culture of science the essays and issues for writers

      Science and Unobservables  (a summary for Section 5 )
      A positivist (an empiricist * ) believes that scientific theories should not postulate the existence of unobservable entities, actions, or interactions.  By contrast, empirically based hypothetico-deductive logic allows "unobservables" in a theory, if this theory makes predictions (or retroductions) about observable outcomes.  { * empiricist is not the same as empirical }
      Positivism is rare among scientists, who bristle at the constraints, who cherish their intellectual freedom and welcome a wide variety of ways to describe and explain.  Many modern theories include unobservable actions and entities — such as thinking (in psychology) or electrons and electrical force (in chemistry) — among their essential components.
      { * terminology:  In the 1830s Auguste Comte, motivated by anti-religious ideology, invented positivism.  In the early 1900s a philosophy of logical positivism combined positivism with other ideas.  Currently, "positivism" has many meanings;  I use it to mean a "no unobservables" constraint, but it can also refer to anything connected with logical positivism (logical empiricism), including the "other ideas" and more. }
      The question, "Should scientists think about unobservables?", is discussed in Section 5 .
 

bullet Adult DNA cloning (. cell nuclear replacement): This involves removing the DNA from an embryo and replacing it with the DNA from a cell removed from an individual. Then, the embryo would be implanted in a woman’s womb and be allowed to develop in to a new human whose DNA is identical to that of the original individual. This method has been used to clone a sheep. The initial steps of the procedure were tried using human DNA in 1998-DEC. Adult DNA cloning cannot ethically be used to produce a human clone, because experiments on animals have sometimes produced defective specimens.
bullet Therapeutic cloning: (. Somatic cell nuclear transfer or research cloning): This starts with the same procedure as is used in adult DNA cloning. The resultant embryo would be allowed to grow for perhaps 14 days. It’s stem cells would then be extracted and encouraged to grow into a piece of human tissue or a complete human organ for transplant. The end result would not be a human being; it would be a replacement organ, or piece of nerve tissue, or quantity of skin. The first successful therapeutic cloning was accomplished in 2001-NOV by Advanced Ce
ll Technology, a biotech company in Worcester, MA.

Culture of science the essays and issues for writers

culture of science the essays and issues for writers

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