Re: Pasteur quote

From: Gordon Simons (gsimons@email.unc.edu)
Date: Fri Dec 28 2001 - 14:28:00 EST

  • Next message: george murphy: "Re: Pasteur quote"

    Burgy writes:

    > A Metanexus article today includes this quote: "In one short sentence
    > he (Pasteur) proclaimed a motto for Science: "Do not posit anything
    > that you cannot prove by experimentation."

    Based on this, most astronomers are not scientists. I guess it depends on
    what one means by "experimentation." Most statisticians distinguish
    between "observational studies" and "controlled experiments." The latter
    permits the use of Pasteur's word "prove." But, strictly speaking, the
    former does not. (The Tobacco Institute for years was quick to point out
    that it had never been proven that cigarette smoking causes human cancer.
    No controlled study has ever been made.)

    I think Pasteur was being too restrictive.

    Gordie



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