Moorad Alexanian wrote:
> What I wrote and what you say I said are totally different. That is the type
> of rigorous thinking that is lacking in the speculative areas that deal with
> questions of origins. You "summarize" what I said with the phrase "How many
> times do you need to be told that there is more to science than physics?"
> Please explain to me, how does that logically follows from what I said?
My statement was based several conversations we have had in the past when you
have expressed statements to the effect that physics was superior to historical
studies. How does this lack in rigour? Your most recent statement supports
this. You certainly said "I judge the work in that area (ie evolutionary
biology and historical geology) 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." Therefore good physics is better than most or all
> Chemistry, biology, microbiology, etc. are sciences and I can assure you
> that every person that practices such disciples wants to do his/her science
> they way physicist do theirs!!
Every person? I don't know any biologist (or geologist) who wants to emulate
physicists. There may be some who might suffer from physics envy, but that is
> In fact, some will even say that those disciplines can be eventually reduced
> to physics.
Some may say this, but they are guilty of the most naive reductionism. In what
way can animal behavior be reduced to physics? In what way can a sequence of
historically contingent events in a sedimentary basin be predicted from
physics? In what way can physics allow us to determine the political norms of a
given society? Biology, geology, and the social sciences wrestle with questions
that physics cannot even begin to to answer.
What we need to recognise is that there is a taxonomy of disciplines we call
sciences. These share certain common characteristics, which is why we call them
sciences. These include being observation based, rational, attempts at
determining relationships in the material world. Common tools include
deduction, induction, falsifiability, repeatability, prediction, and explanatory
power. Within this larger taxonomic grouping there are differences in
methodology based on the object of study. So we have the theoretical,
experiment, observational, historical, and behavioural sciences. It is
pointless it fault the methodology of one because it does not conform to the
methodology of the other. The theoretical rationalism and even instrumentalism
of some theoretical physics works well in that field but is perhaps irrelevant
to biology. the historical principles of Steno are essential to archaeology and
geology but completely irrelevant to sociology or quantum theory.
> Did O.J. killed Nicole and her friend? Forensics science may say yes, but the
> answer may be no.
> How many shooters killed president Kennedy? So we really know!! Those are
> the sort of questions asked in historical sciences. Are the answers to these
> questions conclusive? You tell me.
Of course there are limits what we can know about the past. But the fact we do
not know everything does not mean we therefore know nothing. We may not (thanks
the obfuscation of the legal profession combined with insufficient data) know
who killed Nicole and friend , but I presume that even you do not dispute that
the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbour, that Napoleon lost at Waterloo or Jerusalem
was destroyed in AD70. How is this dissimilar to the situation in the physical
sciences. Because there is no TOE (and perhaps will never be a TOE), because of
quantum uncertainty, does this mean that it is impossible to say anything about
I ask again: How much work in historical geology (or evolutionary biology) have
you actually done and how much have you reviewed for you to make this judgment?
Have you actually done the morphological analysis of fossils through a
stratigraphic section? Have you looked at gene distribution and transmission
in isolated populations? Have you actually attempted to work out the geological
history of an area or even a single depositional unit? How wide a range of the
literature in these fields have you read? I don't mean popularisations, I mean
actual papers. Unless you have done this sort of work you have no basis for
your sweeping generalisations.
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