[Taxacom] Monkey Community greatly relieved

Frederick W. Schueler bckcdb at istar.ca
Wed Jan 13 16:08:31 CST 2010


Stephen Thorpe wrote:
> A general schema for testability in science goes something like this: a hypothesis plus a bunch of assumptions implies a conclusion. If you arrive at a conclusion that "seems wrong", you can either reject the hypothesis, and/or reject one or more assumptions, and/or "bite the bullet" and reject the conclusion, depending on "how much faith" you have in any of these things. One person's "surprising new result" is another person's rejection of the hypothesis or assumptions. Let's face it, science works best in the context of technology (i.e., either it works or it doesn't). Pure science, on the other hand, is somewhat less grounded in anything concrete. I doubt that evolution is "testable" in any rigorous sense. It is way to vague. I am not aware that we know the exact mechanism by which evolution occurs, and it likely involves a lot of random events (mutations, vicariance, and dispersal events) buried deep in the past. Phylogenetic analyses, often touted by those of the Henn
igian religion as the very essence of "hard science", suffer fatally (in my view) from incomplete data, since only a minute fraction of all the species that have ever lived have been preserved as fossils, and with the rejection of gradualism, it is most likely that the crucial transformations took place too rapidly to have any chance of being preserved in the fossil record ...

* this may be the place to introduce my "Collected definitions of 
Science" to TAXACOM - http://pinicola.ca/kitchen.htm#scidef

I'd be glad to have more pointed out to me, as they no doubt will be. 
The first definition is mine, and in the above context Stephen may 
especially enjoy the last one.

fred.
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          Frederick W. Schueler & Aleta Karstad
Bishops Mills Natural History Centre - http://pinicola.ca/bmnhc.htm
Thirty Years Later Expedition - http://pinicola.ca/thirty/
Longterm ecological monitoring - http://fragileinheritance.ca/
Portraits of light - http://www.aletakarstad.com/
Mudpuppy Night in Oxford Mills - http://pinicola.ca/mudpup1.htm
     RR#2 Bishops Mills, Ontario, Canada K0G 1T0
   on the Smiths Falls Limestone Plain 44* 52'N 75* 42'W
    (613)258-3107 <bckcdb at istar.ca> http://pinicola.ca/
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