Re: [asa] Believing Scripture but Playing by Science’s Rules

From: Freeman, Louise Margaret <>
Date: Mon Feb 12 2007 - 13:48:15 EST

Iain wrote:
So why do we use a model that is based on
assumptions that we KNOW are false? Because (a) it works in practice
and (b) we can do the maths. If we had to model the states as
Gaussians, the resultant model would take many orders of magnitude
longer to process the data, and we wouldn't be able to do speech

So actually I see nothing wrong or dishonest about doing science based
on assumptions that we don't believe are true - we always state "given
the following assumptions:", and we are not beholden in scientific
papers to state whether we personally believe those assumptions to be

I don't know much more than basic statistic for psychology majors, so I
can't evaluate the example you give, but I can understand simplifying a
mathamatical model to make calculations workable. I think the key to your
example is that the model works in practice. Having to assume that the
marine reptiles you are studying lived, breathed then went extinct
64,990,000 years before you believe the planet they lived on was created
does not strike me as a practical, real-world solution.

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Received on Mon Feb 12 13:47:55 2007

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