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Re: Origins

Dinogeorge@aol.com wrote:

> In a message dated 5/26/00 1:45:24 PM EST, smithjb@sas.upenn.edu writes:
> Whoa!  Although not often evident in the dinosaur world, this is supposed
> to be science.  We cannot prove hypotheses to be true, we can only falsify
> them
>  through testing.   The scientist who puts forth a hypothesis should be the
>  BIGGEST critic of it.  We are NOT supposed to be defending our hypotheses.
> We are supposed to be trying to blast holes in them--which is (paradoxically)
> the only way to "defend" them.  To get personally attached to a hypothesis
> that
> you have come up with is exactly the reverse of how one should go about it,
> and
> is exactly why so many scientific debates become so silly.  We have all been
> there, unfortunately, but it is to be avoided.
> It is to be hoped that a scientist will have tried to blast as many holes in
> a hypothesis as he or she can >before< becoming attached to it. One of the
> several reasons that I have not published much on BCF is that I am still
> trying to blast holes into it. Once I run out of these, >then< it's time to
> let others have their turn. If you are not passionate about your hypotheses,
> then I submit that you should be doing something else that might provide more
> passion and less boredom and ennui in your life.

    Your first two points in that paragraph are fine.  However, you seem to have
a nack for reading stuff into what I write.  Where did I ever say not to be
passionate about what we are doing or about ones hypotheses?  I meant personally
attached to....different than passionate about.  You can love a hypothesis
because you think it is really clever or because it feeds your ego to have your
colleagues taking shots at something you have thought up, but you are going to
have one hell of a time convincing me that you should be attached to it in the
sense of "defending" it.  You said yourself in your last post to Ralph that
nothing in science is nailed.  That is 100% true (and yes I agree including the
herbivory of hadrosaurs...).  My point is that it seems to me (and please
clarify if I am misunderstanding your view) that to "defend" a hypothesis is to
philosophically view it as being _correct_...something scientists shouldn't be
doing as it is impossible to prove said hypothesis AS BEING correct.   That is
different than loving the work.

Josh Smith
Department of Earth and Environmental Science
University of Pennsylvania
471 Hayden Hall
240 South 33rd Street
Philadelphia, PA  19104-6316
(215) 898-5630 (Office)
(215) 898-0964 (FAX)