Re: Evolution Statement (corrected)

From: Moorad Alexanian (
Date: Fri Dec 07 2001 - 10:26:26 EST

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    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "Howard J. Van Till" <>
    To: "Moorad Alexanian" <>; "Dick Fischer"
    <>; <>
    Sent: Thursday, December 06, 2001 5:43 PM
    Subject: Re: Evolution Statement

    > >From: Moorad Alexanian <>
    > > Science is more than explanations. The overriding priority in science is
    > > prediction.
    > Predictive accuracy is only one of several epistemic values that function
    > scientific theory evaluation. The rest of the list includes: relevance of
    > theory to observation or measurement; internal consistency of a theory;
    > consistency of a theory with other relevant theories; explanatory scope of
    > theory; unifying power of a theory; fertility of a theory (its power to
    > suggest further observation and theorizing); + several aesthetic values.
    > pick any ONE of these epistemic values as "the overriding priority in
    > science" is a remarkably unscientific approach.

    The overriding priority in science is indeed prediction. One can not make
    correct predictions without a theory being relevant to observations and
    measurements. Inconsistent theories will give rise to wrong predictions. The
    notion of unification is primary for any theory---more data under one
    theoretical umbrella. Theories that make strong predictions are fertile
    theories and usually beautiful as well.

    > Want a prediction? One prediction of the the theory of evolution might be
    > that, since there are so many authentic contingencies in the historical
    > development of life forms, one cannot expect to predict the future course
    > evolution on a large or long-term scale.

    Then do experiments to test the validity of your claims. But do not rest on
    what nature has already done since that is history not science.

    > > The present model of the solar system allowed us to put a man on
    > > the moon. Such feat is based on the predictions that our theory makes.
    > > physics we used to call something phenomenology when we would cook-up
    > > explanations for experimental data for which there was no real theory.
    > Physics (my own territory) is NOT the model or ideal for all of the
    > sciences. Physics has chosen the luxury of limiting itself, for the most
    > part, to extremely simple systems -- systems whose behavior lends itself
    > the kind of prediction that you take to be the symbol or goal of all
    > science. Chemistry is daring enough to tackle systems as complex as
    > molecules. Biology, daring and ambitious in the extreme, dares to deal
    > living organisms -- systems not generally amenable to the simplistic
    > predictions of orbital mechanics.

    There is a division of labor in human knowledge and you cannot hold that
    against physics! In fact, physicists are more honest than the evolutionists
    who go beyond their scientific attempts and develop a theology out of their

    > > I think the theory of evolution is, at best, phenomenology and does not
    > > the credentials to be called a full-fledged scientific theory.
    > That tells me something about what (and perhaps how) you think, but I
    > think it tells me anything about the theory of evolution.
    > Howard J. Van Till

    There is nothing wrong with picking a subject matter and doing the best work
    in it with the aid of human reasoning. But let us not confuse hypothesis
    made with facts.


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