"The man of science is a poor philosopher." -- Albert Einstein

John Smith posted this quote from Einstein on Facebook. The full quote is from 1936:
It has often been said, and certainly not without justification, that the man of science is a poor philosopher. Why then should it not be the right thing for the physicist to let the philosopher do the philosophizing? Such might indeed be the right thing to do a time when the physicist believes he has at his disposal a rigid system of fundamental laws which are so well established that waves of doubt can't reach them; but it cannot be right at a time when the very foundations of physics itself have become problematic as they are now. At a time like the present, when experience forces us to seek a newer and more solid foundation, the physicist cannot simply surrender to the philosopher the critical contemplation of theoretical foundations; for he himself knows best and feels more surely where the shoe pinches. In looking for an new foundation, he must try to make clear in his own mind just how far the concepts which he uses are justified, and are necessities. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Einstein’s Philosophy of Science.
Granted he was speaking about the philosophy of science, which is a legitimate philosophical inquiry. But think on this. Maybe not, I say. Science has solved a multitude of philosophical problems, and will continue doing so. Given that success rate scientists are good philosophers. By contrast, by the same standard, philosophers have been poor scientists.

This comment of mine drew a bit of fire on Facebook.

Brett Graham Fawcett: Which philosophical problems has science solved?

Kenny Nipp: name a science problem any philosophy can solve.

Jack Baird: Brett Graham Fawcett Science has made significant strides in addressing questions that were once the sole province of philosophy, transforming them through empirical evidence and rigorous reasoning. For instance, the long-standing philosophical debates about the structure of the cosmos were settled by scientific discoveries, moving from the Earth-centered models of the ancients to the sun-centered reality clarified by Copernicus, Galileo, and Kepler. Similarly, the nature of matter, once a speculative topic of natural philosophy, became the domain of chemistry and physics, culminating in the modern atomic theory. The mystery of life's diversity, which had been a subject of philosophical and religious speculation, found a new grounding in Darwin's evolutionary theory. Even our understanding of diseases, historically attributed to imbalances of bodily fluids or supernatural influences, has been revolutionized by the germ theory of disease. In these ways, science has resolved many puzzles by providing concrete answers to questions that were once answered through abstract reasoning alone, though it often opens new avenues of inquiry that keep the philosophical dialogue alive and evolving.

John W. Loftus: Brett Graham Fawcett almost everything in this reference book with over 700+ pages!

But more interesting stuff ensued.

Tim Bos: However, science is the end product of thousands of years of philosophical work in epistemology. Philosophers invented science. Even Newton was still called a philosopher in his time. So I don’t buy the science vs. philosophy distinction. Science just is successful philosophy.

John W. Loftus: Tim Bos philosophy is not science, agreed? At some point they diverged when the need for objective evidence became paramount.

Tim Bos: John W. Loftus I think it’s more complicated than that.

Tim Bos: In my view, most philosophy is not science, but all science is philosophy.

John W. Loftus: Tim Bos we may not know the exact demarcation point between them both but we generally know the difference.

Tim Bos: John W. Loftus Yeah, once philosophers figured out how to best combine empiricism with rationalism (I.e, using methodical observation in combination with mathematical modeling), they gave birth to science, the best epistemology we have for figuring out the general nature of reality.

John W. Loftus: Tim Bos was Aristotle not a scientist?

Tim Bos: John W. Loftus He was more of an empiricist than Plato, that’s for sure. I’d say he really got the ball rolling. But it isn’t until the scientific revolution that philosophers really figured out how to submit empirical data to quantitative analysis.

John W. Loftus: Tim Bos here's where I say I think it’s more complicated than that.

Tim Bos: John W. Loftus Well, I am simplifying things a bit, sure. It’s hard to properly encapsulate the history and development of science within the confines of a Facebook response. But I think it’s accurate to say that Aristotle set the precedent for careful and methodical observation of the natural world in order to gain knowledge, as opposed to Plato’s more a priori metaphysical speculation. But we didn’t really get modern science until the Aristotle-inspired scholasticism from the Medieval period got challenged by modern philosophers like Descartes and Bacon (and others), who also made the brilliant move of submitting the empirical data to quantitative analysis, thereby combining the a priori methodology of math and geometry with the a posteriori method of empirical inquiry. But did you have something more specific in mind when you said it’s not as simple as that? Just curious!

John W. Loftus: Tim Bos you could expand further if you wish. Or, you could call it a day. 😉

John W. Loftus: For instance we didn't get modern science until we got "modern" science.

John W. Loftus: Tim Bos all science is not philosophy. All science involves reasoning, but to call it philosophy is speaking of a discipline of learning that has generally accepted ideas and schools of thought which are not necessarily experimental in nature and scope.

John W. Loftus: Tim Bos to conflate reasoning as philosophy and vice versa, without addition or subtraction except depth and breadth of understanding, is to render the word "philosophy" superfluous and unnecessary.

Tim Bos: John W. Loftus I’m not conflating reasoning as philosophy. Rather, the aim of philosophy has always been to understand the nature of reality, and to do that, we need to develop our epistemology to make that possible. Science also has the aim of understanding the general structure and content of reality, and it is very successful at doing that, precisely because of the epistemology developed by philosophers during the scientific revolution. This is why I see science as just a natural progression within philosophy itself.

John W. Loftus: Tim Bos so Empiricist Philosophy led up to and discovered science? Why didn't Rationalist Philosophy succeed? Because evidence can and does get us to the truth about nature. Philosophy itself didn't produce this evidence or settle this dispute. The evidence proved Empiricist Philosophy was better and more fruitful.

Tim Bos: John W. Loftus Empiricist philosophy says exactly that - we need empirical evidence for propositions about the nature of reality, not a priori speculation. And I mostly agree with empiricism here. Rationalism by itself is pretty useless if you want to discover the underlying principles of the natural world. But it isn’t empiricism alone which gets us science - we also need math and geometry, which are strictly speaking not empirically derived. So my view is that science, construed broadly as philosophy, distinguishes itself from purely rationalist philosophy by actually being successful in the perennial philosophical aim of understanding philosophy. I.e., science is philosophy with a successful epistemology.

John W. Loftus: Tim Bos the successful Philosophy of Empiricism is the result of science, not Philosophy.

Tim Bos: John W. Loftus Science didn’t just appear out of thin air. It was developed by the the philosophers of the modern era. Philosophy has traditionally been about understanding the nature of reality. Philosophers have argued long and hard about what epistemology works best for this. In the modern era, one epistemology proved itself successful - what we would now refer to as the methodology of science. The mere fact that science has a particular epistemology doesn’t make it not philosophy. It still has the same end goal of figuring out the nature of reality.

John W. Loftus: Tim Bos Asserting something doesn't make it sound different. I don't suppose either of us can agree on everything here. Cheers!

John W. Loftus: Tim Bos but...while I can agree with what you say up until when scientists found the evidence that shows empiricist epistemology works better than alternatives (voodoo epistemology?), it was due to luck that empiricist epistemology won the day, the luck that science supported it whereas it did not support Rationalism. Therefore, it was not Philosophy proper that produced science. For if the evidence did not support either Philosophy they would still be butting heads with no hope of a solution.

Tim Bos: John W. Loftus I maintain that science is the result of philosophers tinkering with epistemology until it worked.

John W. Loftus: Tim Bos until what worked?

Tim Bos: John W. Loftus until the epistemological framework actually produced reliable results.

John W. Loftus: There is a great deal that science discovered that wasn't anticipated by anyone.

Tim Bos: John W. Loftus: I’ll write a book someday

John W. Loftus: Tim Bos Good! Write your book. Let me read it.

Then there was a debate on the nature of phiosophy itself.

Ron Morales: John W. Loftus Logic is still a part of philosophy, and mathematics and science need logic, and hence needs philosophy.

John W. Loftus: Ron Morales yes, Logic is as you say, considered to be philosophy and used in philosophy. Scientists use math and reasoning too. Philosophy on the other hand, has an agreed upon content, grouped by Analytical, Existential, Continental, and Oriental divisions, and a multitude of other schools. Reason crosses all intellectual disciplines and is in a different category than philosophy proper, since it isn't separated in groups and schools of thought.

Ron Morales: John W. Loftus Logic is not just "used in philosophy." Logic is one of the subcategories of philosophy, along with ethics, philosophy of science, epistemology, philosophy of religion, etc. And logic is necessary for mathematics and scientific reasoning, and hence a subcategory of philosophy is necessary for science, but neither the scientific method nor any scientific discipline is necessary for philosophy. And you can add epistemology to that, since scientific investigation makes epistemological assumptions, but philosophical investigation doesn't necessarily make scientific assumptions. Hence, at least some aspects of philosophy are more foundational to human knowledge than science.

John W. Loftus: Ron Morales you confuse categories. I suppose you might say that Western Literature is philosophy, and that Music composition is philosophy too, and all other intellectual disciplines. Philosophy is not to be equated as reasoning, or vice versa.

Even more comments ensued.

River Wood: Science long ago debunked mind-body dualism, but philosophers are still arguing about it.

Tim Bos: River Wood most philosophers in Philosophy of Mind are functionalists, not dualists

Marvin Neil Wallace: River Wood no, dualism has not been debunked and still remains the most plausible account of mind.

River Wood: Marvin Neil Wallace Hate to be rude, but you're just plain on the wrong side of the facts. And you could learn this in an introductory neuroscience class. Every bit of science we have done on the brain so far indicates that only physical processes are at work, and no evidence has ever been found to corroborate any other explanation. That's where we're at. That's the state of the science. The fact that we can imagine dualism to be an explanation does not mean that it actually is the explanation.

Marvin Neil Wallace: River Wood there are four major groups of mind body advocates. Functionalists, Type Identity theorist, Reductive Physicalists and dualists. The science of what the brain does is consistent with them all. I might even add panpsychism to that list. In fact the main challenge for physicalists like functionalists is how to avoid reintroducing dualism into their systems. One example is mental to mental causation, I suppose you are arguing that that can't occur?

Ron Morales: Philosophers don't do science, but scientific success at solving philosophical problems has been limited. But I'm with Tim. What's with the reflex to the "science vs philosophy" dichotomy? Why does it need to be a competition?

Ron Morales: Scientists are generally not the best philosophers even when they try to do philosophy (like Dawkins and Harris) just like philosophers are generally not the best scientists, just like orthopoedic surgeons are generally not the best eye doctors and eye doctors are generally not the best car mechanics. The best of any discipline generally show their brilliance in their own discipline. They often embarass themselves when they venture into other disciplines and try to opine intelligently in that field (like Einstein on economics or entomology).

Bob Seidensticker: Scientists doing philosophy (perhaps Heisenberg and his Uncertainty Principle) can work. Philosophers doing science (like William Lane Craig) doesn't.

Gary Newberry: Rigorous methodological inquiry and measurement vs argumentation. It's a landslide which method has produced worthwhile results. Scientists don't need to do philosophy.