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Re: bauplan convergence (EXTREMELY SARCASTIC!)
>My point was that some, (not all), of the posts on
>this particular thread were so speculative as to have
>crossed the line into near fantasy - that's all.
That describes a lot of threads that pop up here sometimes. Sometimes
I think if another "how I can imagine flight evolving" thread starts on this
list I'm going to put my forehead through the keyboard.
>More importantly, this area of biology, (ie trying to
>reconstruct the history of life on this planet), by
>its very nature has to employ largely historical
>methods, not experimental.
The scientific method is usually given as something like: OBSERVE -->
FORMULATE HYPOTHESES ---> MAKE PREDICTIONS --> TEST HYPOTHESES --> COMPARE
RESULTS WITH PREDICTIONS --> DERIVE NEW HYPOTHSESES etc... give or take a
few steps. The "hypothesis testing" step is often given as "experimenting",
controlled recreation by humans of an actual event to observe it in action.
However, a more reasonable one is "hypothesis testing", of which
experimenting is just one type. Figuring theropod locamotion by examining
the leg muscles of modern birds and crocodiles and comparing scars to the
fossils is a form of hypothesis testing, even if we can't experimentally put
a dinosaur on a treadmill to experimentally observe its locomotion.
Stressing "experimetation" as a hallmark of true science is a popular bias
of physics and chemistry. Besides, even experimental results are far from
being rock hard; scientists can get different results, so saying that
experimenting gives us "absolute certainty" about anything compared with
other forms of hypothesis testing isn't really true.
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