Re: Science - Data/Interpretations

From: Darryl Maddox (
Date: Thu Jun 14 2001 - 07:02:51 EDT

  • Next message: george murphy: "Re: Icons of Evolution"

    Good moring group,

    OK I give up. I am finally going to have to say something about this

    1) Opposing sides will never agree on which "theory" or "explantion" is
    correct until they first agree on the criteria by which the correct "theory"
    or "explantion" is to be determined. Such criteria may include:
       a) the criteria by which data are to be considered valid or invalid
       b) the criteria by which data are considered to be relavent or irrelavent
       c) the amount of valide and relavent data necessary to determine the
    answer one way or the other.
       d) whether there is suffecient data to detemine whether or not there is
    one unique right theory
       e) the rules of logic by which the inferences/conclusions are drawn from
    the data/information
       f) the number of exceptions (bits of valid and relevant data which
    support a contrary explantion) which may be allowed before a particular
    theory can no longer be accepted.

    2) As I see it Bill and his opponenets (as well as most young earth/old
    earth debators) have been having this discussion on a semi-regular basis for
    some time now without coming to a resolution because they do not agree that
        a) there is SOME data that indicates rapid processes and rapid events in
    earth history
        b) the is also currently a large amount of data which indicates slow
    processes and long term events, and that
        c) while (a) is compatible with an old earth (b) in incompatible with a
    young earth.

    3) And finally, there are dogmatists on both sides of this question just as
    it seems there are on both sides of every question anyone bothers to argue
    about. At least most of the folks in this group are pretty nice about their
    dogmatism. A bit of dogmatism may not be such a bad thing but you have to
    realize and be willing to admit that your favorite theory may not be
    supported by majority of the currently available evidence. Argueing for a
    non-traditional theory is not the same as argueing that it is the one most
    logically derivable from or supported by the current data. But reading and
    considering arguments for alternative theories one of the things that keeps
    me open to new interpretations of old data and on the lookout for new data.

    Thanks guys for pursuing this arugment. I didn't, and still don't , know
    much about coal when I first started noticing this line of argument a year
    or so ago. But now I have a file in which I place most of these posts so
    someday I may go back and learn something about it.

    Hope I was somewhat on point and didn't offend anyone. But it seemed to me
    this argument had gone on a long time without the participants realizing
    they were not discussing the heart of the issue. Perhaps I missunderstood.


    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "Bill Payne" <>
    To: <>
    Cc: <>
    Sent: Thursday, June 14, 2001 12:40 AM
    Subject: Science - Data/Interpretations

    > On Mon, 11 Jun 2001 10:42:02 -0700 David F Siemens <>
    > writes:
    > >
    > > On Sat, 9 Jun 2001 22:57:36 -0600 Bill Payne <>
    > > writes:
    > > > I think schools should teach empirical data and stay away from
    > > > interpretations, unless they are prepared to offer competing
    > > > interpretations.
    > > >
    > > Bill,
    > > If I understand your position, you are wiping out all of science.
    > Two comments:
    > 1) I make my living by collecting and analyzing data, making
    > interpretations, drawing conclusions and making recommendations. I
    > realize that interpretations are an integral part of science. You did
    > not understand my position.
    > 2) It is telling that several here seem to have assumed that I said
    > schools should not teach interpretations. What I actually said is that
    > schools should not teach only one side of an issue, that if they can't
    > bring themselves to teach both sides fairly, then they should not teach
    > either. It seems that rather than consider being fair, the evolutionists
    > here (most of us) would prefer to paint me as anti-science. I suppose
    > that is more comfortable than actually considering the alternative.
    > Bill

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