What is Science? From Global Warming to Evolution

Posted in Companies, Conferences on June 26, 2012

Google Tech Talk
July 21, 2010


Presented by Michael Vassar.

What is science? Are science and rationality the same thing? If science was something new, what sort of a new thing was science? I will discuss different ways of knowing, focusing on the differences between the analytic method of the enlightenment and the synthetic method of romanticism (and scholarship classically). These methods should be used together, but in fact their practitioners have been at war since Marx and Rousseau, leading to a schism in Western intellectual history with disastrous consequences. Darwin's theory of evolution is used as a case study of how these different methods of knowing manifest themselves, and can shape the practice of science in important ways.

Michael Vassar is President of the Singularity Institute for AI. Previously, he was a Founder and Chief Strategist at SirGroovy.com, an online music licensing firm. Prior to that, he held positions with Aon, the Peace Corps, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Michael has been writing and speaking on topics related to the safe development of disruptive technologies for a number of years: his papers include the Lifeboat Foundation analysis of the risks of advanced molecular manufacturing co-authored with Robert Freitas, and "Corporate Cornucopia", authored for the Center for Responsible Nanotechnology Task Force. He holds an M.B.A. and a B.S. in biochemistry.

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