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Science Reporting Misses

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I don't think rats pay as well, though. I've never seen one tip.

Best tip I ever got from a rat: "Stay away from mazes."

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But those issues are not involved in verifying the theory. They are involved in developing the theory which is supposed to explain a range of phenomenon. A hypothesis is not a theory. The elimination of variables is one method for developing a theory from a hypothesis. Also, theories are not verified by how many predictions they make that can be tested. They are verified by how many observations they can explain.
Well, yes. You're right about the difference between an hypothesis and a theory. The theories you cite, Evolution, Relativity, Newton's Laws, are far more integrative and comprehensive and are based on careful observation and hypotheses tested and proven. Not all theories meet that high standard. They should, but somewhere on the road from hypothesis to theory, the proposition must be tested and proven. So maybe I'm talking about process and you're talking about the end result: Certainty in context. Something the Intelligent Designers can't accept because their 'certainty' comes from their gut, not cognition.

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Also, theories are not verified by how many predictions they make that can be tested. They are verified by how many observations they can explain.

I'd say they are verified by demonstrating what are the characteristics of the entity which account for the existence of the entity's actions or characteristics being explained -- i.e., what about the thing reduces its actions or characteristics to a statement about its identity.

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Also, theories are not verified by how many predictions they make that can be tested. They are verified by how many observations they can explain.

I'd say they are verified by demonstrating what are the characteristics of the entity which account for the existence of the entity's actions or characteristics being explained -- i.e., what about the thing reduces its actions or characteristics to a statement about its identity.

I'm not sure I understand you. Can you give an example of what you mean, for example, using the theory of gravity?

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But those issues are not involved in verifying the theory. They are involved in developing the theory which is supposed to explain a range of phenomenon. A hypothesis is not a theory. The elimination of variables is one method for developing a theory from a hypothesis. Also, theories are not verified by how many predictions they make that can be tested. They are verified by how many observations they can explain.
Well, yes. You're right about the difference between an hypothesis and a theory. The theories you cite, Evolution, Relativity, Newton's Laws, are far more integrative and comprehensive and are based on careful observation and hypotheses tested and proven. Not all theories meet that high standard. They should, but somewhere on the road from hypothesis to theory, the proposition must be tested and proven. So maybe I'm talking about process and you're talking about the end result: Certainty in context. Something the Intelligent Designers can't accept because their 'certainty' comes from their gut, not cognition.

The point I was addressing was ruveyn ben yosef point that

The figure of merit of -any- scientific theory is that it make testable predictions and they should be verified by empirical means.

Verification by other people (i.e. independent investigators who have no emotional interest in the conclusion) is the major means by which any scientific theory is evaluated. Witness is required, not optional.

Of course there are theories that are not as broad as gravitation or evolution. But testable predictions or verification by others is not the criterion for evaluating a theory. Testability and verification by others is a means to determine the applicability of the theory to the conditions of the object under considerations. Evidence either supports a theory or doesn't support a theory. Certainly, if a theory makes a prediction and it turns out that the prediction is wrong, then the applicability of the theory would come under question, not the theory itself. But the theory would still be applicable to those objects and events that it does explain. That light has an upper speed limit does not refute Newton's mechanics. In my opinion, integration with other knowledge is the primary means of evaluating a theory.

No scientist comes up with a theory and then says, "OK, let's go see what testable predictions I can make with this theory to evaluate it." Or "let's go form a committee of other people to verify my theory before I assert its truth."

If any theory explains an aspect of reality, then it is true within that context. No predicability, testability, or independent verification is required. Scientists confirm theories by testing.

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The point I was addressing was ruveyn ben yosef point

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The above link should actually be to this one. The one above points to my response.

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If any theory explains an aspect of reality, then it is true within that context. No predicability, testability, or independent verification is required. Scientists confirm theories by testing.

Or falsify theories by testing. For example, careful observation of the planet Mercury falsified Newton's law of Gravitation. It turns out that Einstein's General Theory of Relativity correctly predicts the motion of Mercury (it also does several other things too).

Newtonian Gravitation fails because it assumes instantaneous. gravitational interaction between masses. That is not how the world works.

ruveyn

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No scientist comes up with a theory and then says, "OK, let's go see what testable predictions I can make with this theory to evaluate it."

Huh? Of course they do, and they should. The true test of a good theory is its ability to predict the result of observations not yet made, which indicates that the theory accurately identifies broad principles. Of course a good theory comes from making sense of existing observations (true of Newton, Einstein, Darwin, etc.) but it must do more than simply "curve fit" existing observations. While one can argue about how it's funded, the motivation to build a machine such as the LHC is to further test whether particle theories make accurate predictions by actually creating new, higher energy conditions and observing the results, or whether they will need to be modified in order to explain the new observations.

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No scientist comes up with a theory and then says, "OK, let's go see what testable predictions I can make with this theory to evaluate it."

Huh? Of course they do, and they should. The true test of a good theory is its ability to predict the result of observations not yet made, which indicates that the theory accurately identifies broad principles. Of course a good theory comes from making sense of existing observations (true of Newton, Einstein, Darwin, etc.) but it must do more than simply "curve fit" existing observations. While one can argue about how it's funded, the motivation to build a machine such as the LHC is to further test whether particle theories make accurate predictions by actually creating new, higher energy conditions and observing the results, or whether they will need to be modified in order to explain the new observations.

But the principle has already explained a sufficient number of phenomena to be elevated to the status of a theory. The theory is not being evaluated by the predicted experiment, the experiment is determining the applicability of the theory to the event in question. That Newton's theories did not predict the precession of the perihelion of Mercury does not refute his theories.

Suppose I were to use the theory of evolution to explain the fluctuation of prices within the market place. Would I say that since the theory can't predict any result, the theory is invalid ("falsified"), or would I simply state that theory is not applicable? All theories have implications, and "predictions" are inevitable. But whether a predication is testable or not has no effect on the theory.

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Also, theories are not verified by how many predictions they make that can be tested. They are verified by how many observations they can explain.

I'd say they are verified by demonstrating what are the characteristics of the entity which account for the existence of the entity's actions or characteristics being explained -- i.e., what about the thing reduces its actions or characteristics to a statement about its identity.

I'm not sure I understand you. Can you give an example of what you mean, for example, using the theory of gravity?

I can't using the theory of gravity because, according to what Stephen told me, we don't yet have a causal mechanism that explains gravity. All we know is how gravity behaves in certain contexts, but not actually what gravity is that causes things act the way they do.

The theory of evolution, on the other hand, reduces to a tautological statement about entities:

Only entities that can survive and reproduce in a given environment (are adapted to that environment), can survive and reproduce in a given environment (have descendents). Therefore, all species are descended from ancestors that were adapted to their environment.

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The theory of evolution, on the other hand, reduces to a tautological statement about entities:

Not so. "Survival of the fittest" refers to those characteristics of an organism that promote the reproductive success of that organism and those like it (members of that species). Which characteristics promote success depends on the state of the environment wherein that organism dwells and such characteristics can only be determined by -looking- (investigating) the nature of the environment when and where the reproduction occurs. This is why species variation is sometimes caused by isolation of one part of a population from another. That is why the bonobo and the chimp are different species. Long ago a river emerged which separated the original population so the two subpopulations evolved separately.

This is NOT tautological. It is something to be determined empirically.

The current theory of evolution, a synthesis of Darwin's notion of natural selection and the science of genetics is supported by tons and tons of evidence and has yet to be falsified. This issue arose in the now famous Dover PA. affair. The advocates of intelligent design who alleged that the theory of evolution was mere tautology were shot out of the saddle by expert biological testimony.

The assertion that current life forms are the descendants of prior life forms is completely supported by the evidence. Some of the genes of humans are shared by the potato. Both species had a common ancestor billions of years ago, probably the cyanobacteria that transformed the planet from a methane planet to an oxygen planet. If we didn't have common ancestors with other life forms why do the same genes keep showing up in species after species?

ruveyn

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The theory of evolution, on the other hand, reduces to a tautological statement about entities:

Not so. "Survival of the fittest" refers to those characteristics of an organism that promote the reproductive success of that organism and those like it (members of that species). Which characteristics promote success depends on the state of the environment wherein that organism dwells and such characteristics can only be determined by -looking- (investigating) the nature of the environment when and where the reproduction occurs. This is why species variation is sometimes caused by isolation of one part of a population from another. That is why the bonobo and the chimp are different species. Long ago a river emerged which separated the original population so the two subpopulations evolved separately.

This is NOT tautological. It is something to be determined empirically.

What is to be determined empirically? The cause.

What is the cause? Whatever it is about an entity that makes it do what it does.

Once you know the cause you know what it is about what it is that makes it do what it does. Knowing the cause is what makes it possible to reduce a generalization to a tautology.

How do you find the cause? You have to observe reality. The cause is something to be determined empirically

So, we are both right.

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What is to be determined empirically? The cause.

What is the cause? Whatever it is about an entity that makes it do what it does.

Once you know the cause you know what it is about what it is that makes it do what it does. Knowing the cause is what makes it possible to reduce a generalization to a tautology.

How do you find the cause? You have to observe reality. The cause is something to be determined empirically

So, we are both right.

Have a look at this:

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-828270247063909484

Richard Dawkins presents answers to your question.

ruveyn

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What is to be determined empirically? The cause.

What is the cause? Whatever it is about an entity that makes it do what it does.

Once you know the cause you know what it is about what it is that makes it do what it does. Knowing the cause is what makes it possible to reduce a generalization to a tautology.

How do you find the cause? You have to observe reality. The cause is something to be determined empirically

So, we are both right.

Have a look at this:

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-828270247063909484

Richard Dawkins presents answers to your question.

ruveyn

Thanks for posting that Ruveyn. It was an excellent show. But it doesn't answer Betsy's questions because she's already provided the answers.

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