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RE: Refutations and the Middle J (was Re: Another Alxasaurus quer y & others)

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Dinogeorge@aol.com [SMTP:Dinogeorge@aol.com]
> Sent: Tuesday, February 09, 1999 7:14 PM
> To:   th81@umail.umd.edu; jjackson@interalpha.co.uk
> Cc:   dinosaur@usc.edu
> Subject:      Re: Refutations and the Middle J (was Re: Another Alxasaurus
> query & others)
> In a message dated 2/9/99 7:13:39 PM EST, th81@umail.umd.edu writes:
> << Point C-G, "refute" is typically used in the scientific circles in
> which I
>  am familiar (functional morphology, sed/strat, systematics, evolutionary
>  biology, etc.) as the antonym of "support" (and thus a synonym of
> "reject").
>  New evidence comes around and may either support a previous hypothesis,
>  refute/reject it, or be equivocal. >>
> "Refute" is by no means an antonym of "support," despite above-mentioned
> popular usage. Just because there is no support available for a hypothesis
> does not mean that the hypothesis is thereby refuted. Refutation removes a
> hypothesis from competition; mere lack of support does not.
        [Stewart, Dwight]  

           Normally, we use refute/support in describing how data relates to
a hypothesis.
        A given data set may tend to support or refute a given hypothesis,
but it does not
        necessarily settle the issue.  New data may do the opposite.
Absolutes are
        indeed rare in science, due to the very nature of scientific
investigation.  But,
        this is not a negative thing, as scientific knowledge isn't dogma
(or, shouldn't be)
        and is therefore a "work in progress".  
           Honestly, in Physics anyway, some of our theories experience a
        Syndrome". :-)  One would suspect that the other sciences experience