From: Walter Hicks <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Howard J. Van Till wrote: .
Natural science is a disciplined and systematic human activity that includes
observation, measurement, experimentation, theory formulation and theory
evaluation. Activity in any one of these categories is likely to stimulate
fruitful action in the others. The goal of the natural sciences is to
understand what our physical universe is like, how it functions, and how it
got to be the way it now is. To that end the sciences seek to craft theories
that give an adequate/satisfying account of what can be observed
(qualitative) and measured (quantitative) in our world.
Given this concept of the natural sciences, the formulation and evaluation
of the Grand Evolutionary Theory on the basis of what can now be observed
and/or measured falls well within the scientific domain.
> I believe that Pasteur and Thompson were attempting to say that a valid
> theory should be both quantitative and predictive in nature. If not, then
> it just is not good science.
Fair enough. The theory evaluation criteria (for what constitutes an
adequate/satisfying theory) now in effect include such epistemic values as
"predictive accuracy" (which covers both qualitative and quantitative
predictions, as well as retrodiction). On that basis alchemy and astrology
would not fare well.
> Insofar as the "grand evolutionary theory" goes. I did a phrase search
> using Google and came up with only ONE hit on the web
> (http://www.cpjustice.org/stories/storyReader$552) . For "unified field
> theory" I got 12,700. Both of these theories share something in common in
> that neither of them exist yet. Both are pie in the sky notions that
> science might some day realize. (IMHO)
Rather than tagging them with the "pie in the sky" label I would be more
inclined to compare them with partially assembled jig-saw puzzles -- lots of
areas open or with only a few pieces in place, with little idea what the
details will be like in those regions; but the regions that are assembled do
provide a basis for proposing what the broad features of the completed
puzzle may eventually look like. Some interesting surprises are likely in
Howard Van Till
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