RE: Post-Empiricism Science: A little surprised

From: Alexanian, Moorad (
Date: Wed Sep 17 2003 - 16:16:38 EDT

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    The observations of Darwin that you cite means simply that he looked at one part of nature to guess other parts of nature. This feature is the consistency of nature and has nothing to do with Darwinian Theory. This is not an issue of time development whereby Darwin predicts what will be the future outcome of what he actually observers. Most of biology, if not all, has nothing whatsoever to do with Darwinian Theory.


    Chemistry deals with statistical behavior of systems of molecules and no one really care what one molecule does.



            -----Original Message-----
            From: on behalf of
            Sent: Wed 9/17/2003 12:55 PM
            Subject: Re: Post-Empiricism Science: A little surprised

            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 a
            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 evolutionary
            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 of
            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 the
            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 that
            any one particular molecule of H2O will take as it bounces around in a
            bottle of water.
                                Walter Hicks
                                <wallyshoes@minds To: "Alexanian, Moorad" <>
                      > cc:,,
                                Sent by: Subject: Re: Post-Empiricism Science: A little surprised
                                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 to
                 make predictions and not merely give explanations, which is pure
                      -----Original Message-----
                      From: [
            ] On Behalf Of
                      Sent: Wednesday, September 17, 2003 7:39 AM
                      Subject: Re: Post-Empiricism Science: A little surprised
                      In a message dated 9/17/03 1:46:31 AM Eastern Daylight Time,
                      The evolutionary paradigm is just as religious and sacred as a
                      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
                 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, who
                 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 to
                 resist after his whole
                 profession has been converted has ipso facto ceased to be a
                                        The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Thomas
                 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)

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