Re: [asa] forensic science and wrongful convictions

From: D. F. Siemens, Jr. <>
Date: Tue Sep 12 2006 - 14:13:27 EDT

First, demarcation has been shown to be insoluble. In fact, time after
time, someone has figured out how to look at something in a new way and
developed a new science, or a new branch. Psychology separated from
philosophy most recently. Quanta have no place in classical physics. A
moving earth cannot be fitted into Ptolemaic and Tychonic astronomy,
neither of which allows for elliptical orbits.

Additionally, although sloughed over, one event at a time is observed. In
some experiments, measuring x precludes measuring y, yet there is the
claim both function in certain ways. Only by ignoring the nature of human
observation can one draw an absolute line between various sciences. Note
that a physical measuring device is irrelevant to physics until somebody,
maybe a ways down the line given the current dependence on computers,
takes a look. Devices, on their own, do not generate science. Phrenology,
on the basis of measurement alone, has a better claim to be scientific
than psychology--either version.

On Tue, 12 Sep 2006 10:00:42 -0400 "Alexanian, Moorad"
<> writes:
Mano Singham's Opinion article "Philosophy Is Essential to the
Intelligent Design Debate" emphasizes both the importance of "the
demarcation problem"--that is, the unambiguous distinction of science
from nonscience--and the nature of "origins science."
Science deals with the physical aspect of reality; its subject matter is
data that, in principle, can be collected solely by physical devices. If
physical devices cannot measure something, then that something is not the
subject matter of science. Of course, the whole of reality encompasses
more than the physical.
Physics is the prototype of experimental science, which yields laws of
nature based on data collected from repeatable experiments. In contrast,
origins science is more akin to forensic science, because it deals with
unique, nonrepeatable events. Nonetheless, for origins science to qualify
as science, extant evidentiary data must also be collectible by physical

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Received on Tue Sep 12 14:17:45 2006

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