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Why Explanatory power is something we value and desire There are no explanations in science - C van Fraassen Have you ever thought about the way your car works The inner works of the engine how does the fuel make it work how does combustion lead to movement and is then passed to the wheels If you have what are you going to answer an 8-year-old kid when he asks Why does the car move Are you going to start explaining high school physics mechanics chemistry of combustion and the concept of friction Or are you just going to say Well the car eats up gas and that makes the engine move the wheels Granted the latter doesnt explain much about what a car is But it answers the question by the kids understanding doesnt it The question is answered the kid is happy and you did not have to spend a few weeks introducing what you just said Some may argue that this is misleading but despite the fact that when viewed generally the simple answer might seem false or incomplete in the context of the situation it is quite adequate That is what van Fraassen is trying to say with regard to scientific explanation According to him there are two problems about scientific explanation Both are very easily seen in our example The first is when is something explained Some argue that we should not explain a phenomenon unless we have the full unifying true-to-the-last-miniscule-detail explanation which will also cover all the cases which correspond to our case cases similar to our case or distant variants of our case In short what they want is a theory of everything which in itself is a noble goal but is hardy achievable Lets face it everything in our universe is connected in one way or another or through one another to everything else in it A
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