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