RE: [asa] forensic science and wrongful convictions

From: Alexanian, Moorad <>
Date: Tue Sep 12 2006 - 14:33:33 EDT

Purely physical devices by means of irreversible phenomena record the
data. Surely, someone can look at the data later on and proceed to
generalize the data to produce laws and subsequently develop theories
but the data is already extant. I think is best to characterize science
as the study of the physical aspect of Nature first and see how far we
get with that.





From: D. F. Siemens, Jr. []
Sent: Tuesday, September 12, 2006 2:13 PM
To: Alexanian, Moorad
Subject: Re: [asa] forensic science and wrongful convictions


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 devices.

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Received on Tue Sep 12 14:33:46 2006

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