Re: preposterous

From: Moorad Alexanian (
Date: Tue Apr 03 2001 - 09:09:03 EDT

  • Next message: Moorad Alexanian: "Re: preposterous"

    Thanks for you comments Tim. My comments were on evolutionary theory and
    the history of the earth and not about biology nor geology, which are big
    fields in which questions of origins are very minor subfields. My field of
    study is statistical mechanics. One must realize that physics is an
    experimental science while evolutionary theory and history of the earth are
    not! Newton did not study the origin of the solar system but took what was
    and described its time development. Studies of the origin of the solar
    system are speculative. The beauty of physics is that outlandish claims
    cannot be made and smaller claims can be disproved rather readily. Magnetic
    monopoles were claimed to have been observed in one event, but such claim
    will be part of physics only if confirmed by other physicists. However,
    claims of this sort are commonplace in questions of origins. Moorad

    -----Original Message-----
    From: Tim Ikeda <>
    To: <>
    Date: Tuesday, April 03, 2001 12:05 AM
    Subject: Re: preposterous

    >Moorad wrote:
    >>I do not know what I would think of evolutionary theory and the
    >>history of the earth if I were not a Christian. But I judge
    >>the work in that area and compare it with the rigor that
    >>is needed to do good physics and realize that most, if not
    >>all, is very speculative and may border on bad science.
    >Well, as we know I'm not a Christian, and if I were one to
    >overgeneralize, that comment would might lead me to suspect
    >that being Christian can be a serious impediment to one's
    >ability to appreciate science. But as Ernst Mayr notes, this
    >is a chauvinism not uncommonly found in physicists (religious
    >and otherwise), so one's religion can't necessarily be blamed.
    >I really don't know how unfamiliar one must be with biology
    >and geology to authoritatively comment that "most [evolutionary
    >theory and earth history], if not all may border on bad science."
    >The field experiments on natural selection are intense and difficult,
    >and often subjected to months of rigorous statistical analyses. Most
    >good field biologists and evolutionary researchers are far better at
    >statistical mathematics and experimental design than either Moorad
    >or I. Granted, the signal to noise ratio in biological results tend
    >to be greater than in the simple physical systems which physicists
    >routinely study, but that doesn't make biology any less of a science
    >or less rigorous. And earth science *is* physics.
    >I've never met a physicist or chemist who has done a sabbatical in
    >a top biology laboratory that ever came away anything less than
    >great respect at how science was done by biologists. However,
    >if Moorad has the spare time and some specific cases in mind,
    >perhaps he could help the evolutionary biologists and
    >geologists by critiquing some of their papers and firing off a
    >couple letters to their journals. And then we can move on and
    >discuss why it is that large, multinational teams of physicists
    >have often published and then retracted claims of finding a
    >particular sub-atomic particle or of quantitating the flux of
    >neutrinos originating in the sun. It kinda makes me doubt whether
    >subatomic particles actually exist or whether the sun fuses hydrogen
    >when the physicists can't seem to come up with the right numbers.
    >Ah, but what do I know of physics to comment with any degree of
    >authority, I've only had a few semesters of it years ago and only
    >follow the occasional article that appears in Nature or Science.
    >If I assumed that such passing familiarity made me an expert on
    >the state of physics as a science, most physicists might die
    >laughing at my expense. And who knows what I might think about the
    >"science" of physics were I a Christian scientist as opposed to
    >being just a scientist.
    >- Tim Ikeda (

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