On today’s ID the Future philosopher of science Paul Nelson discusses a new paper in Nature making waves in the scientific community, “Papers and Patents are Becoming Less Disruptive over Time.” According to Michael Park and his fellow researchers, the rate of groundbreaking scientific discoveries is declining while the percentage of consolidating (or incremental) science is coming to dominate. Is the spirit of groundbreaking scientific discovery withering, and if so, why? Nelson notes a 1997 book by John Horgan, The End of Science. Nelson credits Horgan for seeing the trend a generation ahead of the Park paper, but Nelson breaks with Horgan on the diagnosis. Horgan posits that groundbreaking science is declining because we have already made most of the big breakthroughs there are to make. Nelson begs to differ. He suggests the problem lies elsewhere and likely is multifaceted. Tune in to hear his analysis and his prescription for reinvigorating the scientific enterprise in the twenty-first century. Crowther and Nelson discuss two other papers during their conversation. For Nelson’s paper on disruption and consensus in science, “The Paradox of Consensus,” go here. For the Thomas Gold paper on the problem of the herd effect in science, go here.
On today’s ID the Future, host Jay Richards talks with Eric Holloway about his recent Mind Matters article, “Can Darwinian Theory Explain the Rise and Fall of Businesses?” Why would anyone think Darwinian theory could explain business ups and downs? Holloway explains, and also notes that there’s an entire sub-discipline, organizational ecology, dedicated to studying business from a Darwinian framework. Richards, who has published on Darwinism, design, economics, and entrepreneurship himself, also weighs in. Darwinism sees business as survival of the fittest, with natural selection playing an obvious role, but where do the businesses and the innovations come from in the first place? Here is where Darwinism really founders as a tool for understanding business and entrepreneurship, says Holloway. It’s a mistake shared by Communism and to disastrous results. If we’re to look for a framework that can make sense of creativity and innovation in business, we need to look to a very different framework, he and Richards argue. Here they draw on the perspective of tech entrepreneur Peter Thiel, author with Blake Masters of Zero to One.