----- Original Message -----
Sent: Friday, December 14, 2001 2:23 PM
Subject: RE: Evolution Statement
> Moorad wrote:
> >No scientist can make any scientific statement without objective data. I
> >ask you what constitute objective data in your field? You will see that
> >what makes something objective is that it is determined or can in
> >be determined by physical devices. If you see something that nobody can
> >verify, then you are hallucinating. If you see the same something next
> >time, my advise to you is to take a picture of it! Moorad
> Well, I already suggested some measurements taken with physical devices.
> For example, micrometers and rulers are generally a good choice for
> bone lengths and depths beneath sedimentary layers. Mass specs are the
> instruments of choice for determining isotope abundance. DNA sequencing
> is a physical process: Originally, human eyeballs determined the order of
> bases in the gels but now automation handles most of the work. DNA
> and sequence comparisons are done by computers. Similar software packages
> are often applied to morphological comparisons as well. All those are
> measurements that are readily verifiable.
You are repeating what I have already said. The data collected in your field
is based on physical devices.
> ***** ***** ***** ***** *****
> In another letter:
> >I am glad you all dig me! :) But don't forget you heard it from me first:
> >If something cannot in principle be measured by means of physical
> >then that something is not the subject matter of science. Moorad
> To be honest, I've seen similar statements that predate your birth.
Please give me the relevant references!
> As we all know, science isn't just data but _synthesis_, or 'making
> connections' between data. In essence, it's about finding and syutdying
> correlations within the data in the hopes of determining causitive
> relationships. Our efforts never conclusively 'prove' causative links
> but instead establish correlations to various degrees of confidence.
> When we talk about "objective measurements" being important in science,
> what we mean is that the data and the processes used to evaluate
> correlations and inferences are, in principle, transparent or visible
> to all. Using instruments to collect and report data is one method of
> producing 'transparent data' (This assumes the instrument is collecting
> the data in the way we expect. Another, downstream assumption is that
> the data collected is pertinent to the phenomenon in question -- but
> that's a whole other discussion). This is in contrast to things like
> revelation and personal perception, that are not readily available for
> others to experience.
One must separate the data from the human analysis. Humans can analyze many
things but in science what they analyze is data obtained by physical
devices. Again, I have said that humans are detectors not only of the
physical but that which is beyond the physical.
> FWIW - I've never proposed that evolutionary history can't in principle
> be studied by means of physical measurements. In fact, it can be and
> it is studied that way. How do you think phylogenetic reconstructions
> are evaluated? Data from physical objects. If it was simply a matter of
> hallucinating, why do zoologists group humans, chimps, and gorillas
> closer together than say, humans and dogs? Why would one anticipate
> finding fossils resembling intermediates between terrestrial mammals
> and whales within a particular epoch?
I have never said that evolutionary science cannot in principle be study by
means of physical devices. If I thought so I would not add the word science
to the word evolutionary. There is no other way to study evolutionary
theory---no more or no less than in forensic science. Moorad
> Tim Ikeda (firstname.lastname@example.org)
> mail2web - Check your email from the web at
> http://mail2web.com/ .
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