I`ve read this artilce about Historicist Theories of Scientific Rationality. All the theories seem to state that the science is evolving over time, i.e. it changes in cumulative or revolutionary way (or somehow else). And the question is: Are there any aspects of science which do not change over time? If the answer is yes, please, give 2-3 examples from different fields of science.
Like many other professional philosophers of science these days, I'm highly influenced by the contemporary disunity of science movement. So I would say that there aren't any general aspects of science which do not change over time or which are shared across all fields of science.
I would also argue that there are significant counterexamples to all of the previous answers.
Contra Joseph Weissman, I would argue that there is no one general method of scientific inquiry. Fundamental physics (especially string theory), pre-Darwinian biology, contemporary systems biology, simulation-based climate modeling, and cultural anthropology all look very different from each other, and it's at least very difficult to see what one thing they might have in common.
"We value theories that are more 'convergent' in that they reduce a problem domain into overlapping sets of puzzles the solutions to which do not contradict the solutions to one another."
- First, not all fields of science aim at producing theories. For example, climate modeling generally aims to produce more adequate models of the climate, not high-level theories of how the climate works. If anything, climate modeling has generally gone in the opposite direction: early climate models were based on theories of fluid and heat dynamics taken from physics, and later models have incorporated chemical and biological details.
- Second, scientists reach contradictory conclusions all the time. Here is a paper of mine examining a disagreement among scientists over the yield gains of genetically modified crops.
- Third, convergence is not necessarily valuable if the scientific community converges on a problematic theory or conclusion. For example, convergence on Nazi race science would have been bad, not valuable.
"We value theories that more 'objectivising' in that they involve less subjective interpretation as they are practiced over time."
- This is not the case in many fields of social science, and some feminist historians and philosophers of science have argued that subjective interpretation is valuable even in fields such as biology. I recommend Evelyn Fox Keller's A Feeling for the Organism. Also, historian Theodore Porter has done a lot of work on the politics behind quantification as a way to promote objectivity; his classic book is Trust in Numbers.
"We value theories that are more 'efficient' in that they invoke fewer unobserved real entities .... We value theories that are more 'parsimonious' in that they explain more things with fewer principles."
- See again the case of climate modeling. Not only are climate modelers interested in models rather than theories, but also they have developed their models by adding different kinds of entities and processes.
- Something like this kind of efficiency or parsimony is controversial in medicine, toxicology, ethology, and many social sciences. In these fields, the "efficient" or "parsimonious" assumption was androcentric, or male-centered: research focused on men or males, either ignoring women or females or treating them as deviations from the men/male base case. This resulted in, for example, a greater risk for women of dying from a heart attack or overdosing on prescription drugs. Kourany talks about this and some other examples in the first chapter of her Philosophy of Science after Feminism.
"We value theories that are more 'intuitive' in that they more easily find parallel metaphors in everyday life or in mathematical models that allow them to be communicated effectively. "
- Since the development of quantum mechanics, it's become a cliché that physics is counterintuitive. Certain kids of social scientists also like to portray themselves as challenging intuitive ideas or common sense.
"We value theories that are more 'cosmopolitan' in that they rely less upon a given cultural embedding to retain their other preferred qualities."
- Methodological relativism seems to remain a topic of active debate in fields such as cultural anthropology. Within philosophy, standpoint epistemology's notion of "situated knowers" challenges the ideal of producing knowledge independent of a particular cultural embedding.
jobermark does acknowledge that these "standards of evaluation" can be inconsistent with each other, so maybe they didn't intend them to be universally applicable across all fields of science, past and present. But it seems like the question was asking for such universally applicable standards.
Cort Ammon asserts that "Science has always been an empirical discipline. I don't think that would ever change without fundamentally redefining science." However, as the practice that we would call science developed in Europe in the 15th-18th century, empirical methods were quite controversial. Descartes' rationalism is well known today — Descartes was willing to accept evidence from the senses, but only if they were put on a foundation of certainty by the kinds of arguments he gives in The Meditations. Thomas Hobbes was also a rationalist, and was involved in a heated debate with Robert Boyle, who argued for an empiricist approach. I recommend Shapin and Shaffer's Leviathan and the Air-Pump.
Cort Ammon also suggests repeatability and reproducibility; but, as the comments below that answer note, these are only valuable for experimental fields. This paper by Carol Cleland discusses the differences between experimental and historical scientific fields.
Science has always been an empirical discipline. I don't think that would ever change without fundamentally redefining science.
Science strives to make predictive statements about the world which can be tested. Science has always been interested in two specific criteria:
- Repeatable - Can you repeat an experiment and achieve the same results?
- Reproducability - Can someone else reproduce your experiment and achieve the same results?
There seem to be standards of evaluation that do remain constant.
We value theories that are more 'convergent' in that they reduce a problem domain into overlapping sets of puzzles the solutions to which do not contradict the solutions to one another. (This is Kuhn's standard that a paradigm must support a long enough period of normal science.)
We value theories that more 'objectivising' in that they involve less subjective interpretation as they are practiced over time. (This is a variant of Popper's falsifiability constraint broadened to meet Lakatos' objection -- each failure to abandon a theory based on a failed prediction requires a subjective reason, and you eventually run out.)
We value theories that are more 'efficient' in that they invoke fewer unobserved real entities. (This is the literal version of Occam's razor.)
We value theories that are more 'parsimonious' in that they explain more things with fewer principles (through more complex interactions between the principles.) (This is the more common metaphorical interpretation of Occam's razor.)
We value theories that are more 'intuitive' in that they more easily find parallel metaphors in everyday life or in mathematical models that allow them to be communicated effectively. (This is Lakatos' standard that a real proof can be broadly promulgated.)
We value theories that are more 'cosmopolitan' in that they rely less upon a given cultural embedding to retain their other preferred qualities. (This is the standard of modernism, which seems to be included in all of science well before modernism.)
Unfortunately, these criteria are not true of one another or of themselves. So when we have a crisis of belief in an underlying theory, these principles go to war with one another, with different preferences favoring different candidates for future research directions.
depends on what you mean by "aspect of science". i'll offer this as constant: we cannot say exactly what science is. it's entirely possibly that science in the future will be very different than what we call science today. but nobody will ever be able to say definitively, for all time, "THIS is science!," since future scientists may prove that wrong.
in short, i think the only reasonable answer is "we do not know."
Yes, for "this" science. Our current science is set in a frame of reference. The boundaries of that are things like the Plank numbers. Essentially these say everything smaller or larger than the smallest and largest Plank sizes and times are outside of our science. So by saying "science" you are essentially saying explanations for things within the Plank limits. So to follow on @CortAmmon, we would be redefining science if the Plank numbers changed. There may or may not be universal constants, but if there are, they are outside the Plank limits of our science.
These are the aspects of science which most likely won't change over time:
The universe is mechanical.
Atomic theory is a scientific theory of the nature of matter, which states that matter is composed of discrete units called atoms
All matter is unconscious.
There is no consciousness, no spirit, no mind and nothing other than mechanical and chemical stuff. Consciousness is an illusory artifact of the chemical brain.Natural News
The total amount of matter and energy is always a constant. See: Mass–energy equivalence.
The laws of nature are fixed.
Most scientists take it for granted that the laws of nature were fixed at the moment of the Big Bang, and many assume that the fundamental physical constants were fixed as well. Open Sciences
Nature is purposeless, with no goal or direction.
The Darwinian framework of biological science assumes that nature achieves highly complex biological structures, social structures, mechanical engineering and behavioral cultures simply through the process of natural selection. While natural selection is constantly taking place throughout nature, it alone is not sufficient to explain the ability of plants, animals, humans and possibly even universes to achieve remarkable end goals purely through chance and inheritance.Natural News
All biological inheritance is material, carried in DNA.
DNA controls your health, your behavior and all your inherited attributes.
See also: Heredity
There is no such thing as a "mind" other than an artifact of brain function.
Modern-day scientists still do not dare acknowledge the existence of the "mind" -- a non-material awareness / presence / consciousness that coexists with the brain but is not derived from the mechanics and chemistry of the brain.Natural News
Memories are stored chemically in the brain and disappear at death.
Modern scientists believe that memories are stored chemically, using the brain as some sort of biological hard drive, and that if they could only find the location of the brain in which these chemicals are stored, they could literally "read your mind" like copying files from a thumb drive.Natural News
See: Neuroanatomy of memory.
Unexplained phenomena such as telepathy are illusory.
Mechanistic medicine is the only kind that really works.
Mechanistic medicine is what's practiced in developed world. Mechanistic medicine looks at pathology in terms of chemicals, tissues, bacteria, viruses, DNA, physical injuries, etc. anything you can see on a scan, grow in a petri dish, detect in a sample down at the lab, or feel, hear, or see during a physical exam. Treatment is focused on correcting defects with surgery, or interrupting the disease process chemically, or using medications to manage symptoms.
Mechanistic medicine differs from, say, shamanistic medicine, which prescribes songs or exorcisms for a variety of different illnesses.
Source: What is mechanistic medicine?