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Testable Hypotheses

GJ Dyke wrote:
> I refer you to a quote that I think can be attributed to a paper by
> Nixon and Carpenter, 1996 _On simultaneous analysis_ Cladistics
> 12:221-241 - "Those who contrast _truth_ with explanatory power either
> misunderstand the difference between science and metaphysics, or have
> divine insight" ..... in short, we do _not expect_ to know the truth
> about the origin, and or, evolution of birds - the cladistic method,
> whether or not you choose to accept it, provides us with hypotheses that
> are, at least, testable.
        There is, however, some cloudiness in this issue with respect to 
the word "test."  That is to say that it is a bit messy to call cladograms
testable phylogenetic hypotheses when the "tests" are conducted in the same 
manner in which the hypotheses themselves are generated.  It is arguable 
that this is a bit circular.

        Then there is the entire argument as to whether or not nature is 
parsimoneous, but that's a different issue so let's not go there just yet...

Josh Smith
University of Pennsylvania
Department of Earth and Environmental Science
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