John W Burgeson wrote:
> 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."
> A somewhat similar statement was made by Lord Kelvin: "When you can
> measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers, you know
> something about it; but when you cannot measure it, when you cannot
> express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meager and unsatisfactory
> kind; it may be the beginning of knowledge, but you
> have scarcely, in your thoughts, advanced to the stage of science."
> It would seem that a strict demarcationist might, on the basis of these
> two statements, have some difficulties with the Grand Evolutionary
> (microbe to man) theory. How would such a person be answered?
"Experience may suggest the appropriate mathematical concepts, but
they most certainly cannot be deduced from it. Experience remains, of
course, the sole criterion of the physical utility of a mathematical
construction. But the creative principle resides in mathematics."
(A. Einstein, "On the Method of Theoretical Physics")
Einstein is speaking here about physics, and more broadly one would have
to say "theoretical" in place of mathematical & "scientific" in place of
"physical". But the basic point is that you can't induce your basic
theoretical constructs directly from observation & generally can't test them
directly by experiement. What you can test is the consequences of your
theoretical starting point.
George L. Murphy
"The Science-Theology Interface"
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