Re: preposterous

From: John W Burgeson (
Date: Wed Apr 04 2001 - 11:37:11 EDT

  • Next message: Adrian Teo: "RE: preposterous"

    Jonathan, with whom I have, BTW, very little disagreement, posted, in

    "This is true. But one should not fault a table for not being a chair.
    Nor should people who have never seen chairs presume to instruct those
    who make them until they have seen and sat on) a lot of them."

    If I come to your house and you offer me a table to rest my 69-year old
    bones upon, although I cannot make a decent chair, I may still comment
    upon the inability of your table to seat me comfortably.

    Me:> Coming, as Moorad does, from a background in physics, I think I >
    understand his position, although I am not about to call another person's
    > field of expertise "bad science." Well -- in the case of JB Rhine,
    maybe. < G >
    >But I have always been concerned about the level of quantification in
    the evolutionary theories. That does not make them "bad," of course, let
    alone "untrue." But "uncomfortable" is a word that does come to mind.

    Jonathan went on to say: "Perhaps you need to be more specific. By
    evolutionary, do you mean "organic evolution by natural selection",
    "descent with modification" or any theory of the earth and universe that
    involves naturalistic origins?"

    A fair question. I was thinking in generalities, of course. I have no
    problem with any of the three categories above, however, as a person
    trained in quantitative physics, I am uncomfortable with the lack of
    quantification in the first two of these. By "uncomfortable," I do not
    mean to denigrate, only to understand that I don't really know how to
    defend them (the various theories) without a quantitative model to appeal

    Since evolutionary biology is far outside my area of expertise, it may
    well be that I have simply not studied those theories adequately. I can
    live with that assessment. It also may be that evolutionary biology is
    inherently a science in which quantification is simply not possible to
    the extent I'd like to see it. Certainly meteorology and economics fall
    into this category. And That's OK too. I would have to say I am
    "uncomfortable" with both of these sciences too -- much on the same
    basis. As for psychology and such -- no, I'll refrain from addressing
    these. I'm in enough trouble already.

    It is very likely the case that as a physics student, too many years ago,
    I was brainwashed into thinking that physics is the "queen of the
    sciences" and that all other fields of science are, somehow, second rate.
    I know I did believe that once; I am older and wiser now. Well -- older,
    Burgy (John Burgeson)

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