Geological calibration of molecular clocks

Thomas G. Lammers lammers at UWOSH.EDU
Mon Jul 11 11:11:59 CDT 2005

At 11:10 AM 7/11/2005, John Grehan wrote:
>How can it be a test of the hypothesis (of the geological age of the
>islands?) if it cannot give you a decision one way or the other as in
>this case?

I would think that any *potentially* falsifiable statement is a good

The geological evidence states this group diverged in the late Cretaceous.
If that is so, then the molecular clock evidence should likewise indicate a
late Cretaceous divergence.
If the predicted results obtain, we accept / support the hypothesis.  If
they don't, we reject / fail to support the hypothesis.

>I see nothing necessarily creationist in asking what is the value of a
>study that cannot reach a decision

Not creationist per se.  Merely reminiscent of the underlying attitude
evinced by many of them, which seems antithetical to the
science-as-method-of-enquiry view.  "Glory lies not in the thing sought but
in the manner of the search."

Tom Lammers

Thomas G. Lammers, Ph.D.

Associate Professor and Curator of the Herbarium (OSH)
Department of Biology and Microbiology
University of Wisconsin Oshkosh
Oshkosh, Wisconsin 54901-8640 USA

e-mail:       lammers at
phone:      920-424-1002
fax:           920-424-1101

Plant systematics; classification, nomenclature, evolution, and
biogeography of the Campanulaceae s. lat.

"Today's mighty oak is yesterday's nut that stood his ground."
                                                               -- Anonymous

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