Page 4 - MODES of EXPLANATION

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bring realism and constructivism into conflict. The editors will suggest throughout this volume
that the notion of conflict is less than helpful and that the notion of orthogonality works better.
Chapter 4 -- Case Study: Creationism
Zachary Kopplin
The creationism versus evolution debate that echoes throughout many of the United States is
perhaps an ideal case study to explore what the varying conceptions of explanation might mean in
practice. In the material that follows, Zack Kopplin, a pro-science anti-creationist activist in his
early 20s, provides a rather personal look at what this debate means to him and to his peers. When
reading Kopplin's account we urge the reader to remember that this issue has two sides and that
both believe that proper "explanation" is on their side. As Kopplin puts it: “I'm here to tell you all
about our fight for science in Louisiana and in the US.”
Chapter 5 -- Scientific Realism on Historical Science and Creationism
Abraham Graber
While noting that versions of scientific realism are many and varied, Graber opens by offering a
scientific realist’s understanding of creationism. Disagreeing with Kopplin, he argues that
creationism is a legitimate, though false, scientific hypothesis. He then argues that attempts to
defend creationism on the ground that evolution is merely
historical science
(as opposed to
observational science
) commit the creationist to a version of scientific anti-realism, a consequence
that is ultimately antithetical to the creationist’s goal. Having offered a particular realist response
to the creationism debate, Graber offers a more formal presentation of the realist’s commitments
followed by the brief consideration of a variety of naïve objections to the view. The resulting
chapter offers readers a rough-and-ready understanding of scientific realism as well as the ways in
which a commitment to scientific realism can inform one’s approach to other debates.
Chapter 6 -- A Pragmatic Constructivist Take on the Case
Michael Lissack
Evolution may be a product of science, but, as is clear from the creationist/evolutionist debate, the
notion of evolution triggers significant rhetoric about “belief.” The importance of the self-identity
and related cognitive and psychological functions of the protagonists in this debate are hard to
ignore. Pragmatic constructivists are all too aware that both the realists and the religionists have a
tendency to proclaim access to a revealed pre-given truth and a striking ignorance of the notion of
"as-if." This chapter expands on the question-generation model introduced in the Introduction, and
makes use of the terms fundierung, model, and affordance in synecdoche in an effort to explain a
pragmatic constructivist view of the creationism/evolution debate. To the “scientists”, to yield on
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