Re: Post-Empiricism Science: A little surprised

From: Michael Roberts (
Date: Wed Sep 17 2003 - 15:28:55 EDT

  • Next message: Howard J. Van Till: "Re: Evolution and Salvation"

    A very wise reply. I would add that geology is also predictive as when
    geologists are working in an area they make predictions on aspects of the
    geology they expect to find. If these predictions are fulfilled then it
    supports their theorising. If not they have to revise their ideas.

    People who comment on science should ensure that they have a proper grasp on
    how that science operates. If they do not have a proper grasp they cannot
    complain if the likes of George, Glenn, Howard or myself bluntly point that

    George stay on the list to provide some sensible comments! And Allen Roy
    please do not falsely accuse geologists of starting with the assumption of
    old age. If you look at early geologists they began with assumptions of a
    young age and then changed to old age as the evidence pointed that way.

     Some Members of this list are going round in circles because they do not
    understand that basics of geology and evolutionary biology and set up a
    straw man of them.

    There are times when nonsense should be called nonsense. And that will make
    some bleat

    ----- Original Message -----
    From: <>
    To: <>
    Sent: Wednesday, September 17, 2003 5:55 PM
    Subject: Re: Post-Empiricism Science: A little surprised

    > Walter:
    > This is a common caricature and misunderstanding about evolutionary
    > biology. Evolutionary biology is extremely predictive. Darwin himself
    > hypothesized (predicted) that there would have to be a form of inheritance
    > that could allow for evolution. He struggled to formulate a mechanism.
    > Later that mechanism was discovered. Darwin also made very specific
    > predictions about particular characteristics. For example, I think I am
    > remembering correctly that he predicted the existence of a butterfly with
    > very long tongue to account for the known existence of a certain flower
    > with a very deep tubular shape.
    > Most of what many evolutionary biologists/ecologists do every day is to
    > make predictions about the basis of a particular ecological or
    > situation or process and then test that by examining the
    > geographical/genetic distribution or breeding relationships or genetic
    > basis of the traits in question. It's true that we cannot really go back
    > in time and repeat past historical events, but that is true at some level
    > of any field of science. All we can do is predict and test specific
    > conditions about the processes involved and then evaluate how the action
    > those processes match the physical record of biological diversity.
    > For example, in many plants, chloroplast DNA is inherited maternally
    > (directly from the mother plant). This knowledge can be used to predict
    > pattern of genetic variation that would arise among two related species
    > that are capable of hybridizing in geographical areas where they occur
    > together. By then sampling and testing sequences sampled from among
    > populations of the two species, the prediction can be tested. Making the
    > valid assumption that these same scientifically confirmed processes have
    > operated throughout the entire history of the two species, fairly detailed
    > and accurate understanding of the biogeographical evolutionary history of
    > the two species can be acquired.
    > To say that evolution is not a predictive science is like saying that
    > chemistry is not predictive because it cannot tell me the precise path
    > any one particular molecule of H2O will take as it bounces around in a
    > bottle of water.
    > Douglas
    > Walter Hicks
    > <wallyshoes@minds To: "Alexanian, Moorad"
    >> cc:,,
    > Sent by: Subject: Re:
    Post-Empiricism Science: A little surprised
    > asa-owner@lists.c
    > 09/17/03 09:12 AM
    > Does that mean that evolution is not a science? I have not heard of any
    > predictive aspects of it.
    > "Alexanian, Moorad" wrote:
    > Ancients used to explain eclipses and why the sun rises but could not
    > make predictions. The essence of a scientific theory is the ability
    > make predictions and not merely give explanations, which is pure
    > phenomenology.
    > Moorad
    > -----Original Message-----
    > From: [
    >] On Behalf Of
    > Sent: Wednesday, September 17, 2003 7:39 AM
    > To:
    > Cc:
    > Subject: Re: Post-Empiricism Science: A little surprised
    > In a message dated 9/17/03 1:46:31 AM Eastern Daylight Time,
    > writes:
    > The evolutionary paradigm is just as religious and sacred as a
    > Creationary
    > paradigm. The only difference is that the evolutionary paradigm
    > is based upon
    > and accepted by blind faith. It is blind because it cannot be
    > confirmed by
    > anyone who could know.
    > T. Kuhn wrote that the strength of a hypothesis is in its explanatory
    > value. The explanatory value of evolutionary theory is so strong and
    > there is so much evidence for it that to dispute it at this point is
    > to dig your head in the sand.
    > "If a paradigm is ever to triumph it must gain some first supporters,
    > men who will develop it to
    > the point where hard headed arguments can be produced and multiplied.
    > And even those
    > arguments when they come are not individually decisive.
    > Because scientists are reasonable men, one or another argument will
    > ultimately persuade many
    > of them. But there is no single argument that can or should persuade
    > them all. Rather than a
    > single group conversion, what occurs is an increasing shift in the
    > distribution of professional
    > allegiances.
    > At the start, a new candidate for paradigm may have few supporters,
    > and on occasion the
    > supporters' motives may be suspect. Nevertheless, if they are
    > competent, they will improve it,
    > explore its possibilities and show what it would be like to belong to
    > the community guided by
    > it. And as that goes on, if the paradigm is one destined to win its
    > fight, the number and
    > strength of the professional arguments in its favor will increase.
    > More scientists will then be converted and the exploration of the new
    > paradigm will go on.
    > Gradually the number of experiments, instruments, articles and books
    > based upon the
    > paradigm will multiply. Still more men, convinced of the new view's
    > fruitfulness will adopt the
    > new mode of practicing normal science, until at last only a few
    > elderly hold-outs remain.
    > Though the historian can always find men, Priestley, for instance,
    > were unreasonable to
    > resist for as long as they did, he will not find a point at which
    > resistance becomes illogical or
    > unscientific. At most he may wish to say that the man who continues
    > resist after his whole
    > profession has been converted has ipso facto ceased to be a
    > scientist."
    > The Structure of Scientific Revolutions,
    > S. Kuhns
    > Chapter: Resolution of Revolutions
    > rich faussette
    > --
    > ===================================
    > Walt Hicks <>
    > In any consistent theory, there must
    > exist true but not provable statements.
    > (Godel's Theorem)
    > You can only find the truth with logic
    > If you have already found the truth
    > without it. (G.K. Chesterton)
    > ===================================

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.4 : Wed Sep 17 2003 - 15:24:00 EDT