Originally from the US, Lewis began life in Australia as a postdoc at UNSW researching galaxy clustering on stellar populations and is now a staff worker of The Australian Fellowship of Evangelical Students. His particular role is as Director of The Simeon Network, a network of Christian staff and postgrads in Australian universities and other research institutions, seeking to live as ambassadors for Christ. Married to an Australian lass named Jenny, Lewis is having some success in raising his three, half-breed children in the ways of the Force, as evidenced by his 14-year-old’s first app released on the Microsoft Store, Star Wars Countdown. Lewis has recently enjoyed learning some liberal political theory through the eyes of Alasdair McIntyre and Idealism and the Philosophy of Science through the eyes of David Stove, which means he can now see what’s wrong with everything, but has no idea how to fix anything. He has an office at UNSW due to being one of the Presbyterian Chaplains, does some tutoring there in Leadership and Ethics for Engineers, and also serves on the UNSW Human Research Ethics Committee. Another hat that Lewis wears is as a member of the NSW Presbyterian Assembly. The committee seeks to develop resources to help churches understand the more technical side of issues facing our society and then to consider how applying a gospel-biblical framework will guide our ethical response. The Joneses are part of the family at Randwick Presbyterian Church in Sydney.
Description: “Much more is known now than was known fifty years ago, and much more was known then than in 1580. So there has been a great accumulation or growth of knowledge in the last four hundred years. This is an extremely well-known fact…”. So begins David Stove’s critique of Popper, Kuhn, Lakatos, and Feyerabend in Anything goes: Origins of the cult of scientific irrationalism. The philosophies of those authors, Stove claims, incline them to deny or make them reluctant to admit this seemingly incontrovertible fact of human history. Stove asks what has led them to this conclusion and how have they made it sound plausible to the rest of us. The nub of Stove’s answer is their consistent confusing of the History with the Philosophy of Science, or fact with logical value. Stove also identifies the methods used by our philosophers that allow them to seem to be saying what everyone knows, that there has been an accumulation of knowledge over the past 400 years, but deny it at the same time. These methods he titles “neutralising success words” and “sabotaging logical expressions”, practices that Lakatos refers to as “language breaking” and who hints, says Stove, “that all the very best people do it”. Stove is one of Australia’s greatest essayists. He is biting, hilarious, and certainly no respecter of persons. Indeed, in 1986, he described, in print, the Faculty of Arts at the University of Sydney as a “disaster-area…like a badly-leaking nuclear reactor”, the very faculty for whom he was working at the time; and he named names! The paper aims to be an introduction to David Stove, his wit and style, as well as an analysis of his critique of falsification. Believers in falsification, paradigm shifts, a flat earth, and other irrational tales beware!