This Atheist Examiner piece - with relevant links in case you don't know what I'm talking about - reports an apology from Lawrence Krauss for his incautious words about philosophers recently. Just as well, because I met Krauss briefly when I was in Melbourne and kind of liked the guy. I have yet to read his new book, A Universe From Nothing, however, and I'll be looking at it dispassionately.
I must admit that a lot of philosophy seems like pretty crazy stuff to me - as does most theology. But, once again, I'm not referring to, say, Peter Singer, or Daniel Dennett, or A.C. Grayling.
For any wild idea you care to imagine, you'll probably find a philosopher to take it up. That may not be a bad thing. Perhaps more importantly, for every piece of common sense, you'll find a philosopher to doubt it. But then again, I'm sometimes one of those who do the doubting. For example, I doubt (to say the least) that there are objective moral truths of the sort: "X-ing is morally wrong." I doubt lots of other things that are widely believed. I dispute the existence (and even intelligibility) of libertarian free will (though I also doubt that this is the folk conception of free will ... and it's not the philosophical meaning of "free will"). I dispute the existence of gods, which was an unthinkable position in the West only a few hundred years ago. The sceptical doubts of philosophers have been of enormous value to our culture, and I'm glad to be in that tradition.
However, I do agree with Krauss that philosophers generally do best to follow the science where it leads. Scientific arguments are, of course, always open to criticism on the basis of the soundness of their logic. Still, we generally have to rely on what science reports back to us about the empirical facts of the universe, rather than thinking we can do better in our armchairs.