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Re: Color revisited (was Re: Origins (was: Re: Sharovipteryx))



I wrote:
> Wouldn't you say that there is a difference in the testing of your
hypothesis that dinosaurs had color vision and the testing of the hypothesis
that a particular virus in your lab causes a particular type of influenza?>
You responded:
<In principle, no.>

Hmmm.
One experiment is to infect a volunteer (feeling frightened, cold, alone,
but game after encouragement) with a virus and observe that the flu
contracted is the expected type.  Then take another volunteer (reassured by
the promise of time off from work and his/her contribution to science) and
use a different sample of the same virus and produce the same effect.  Then
take a third volunteer (an unpleasant person, just spray him and go) using
still another sample of the same virus and producing the same effect.
The underlying assumptions are that you have successfully distinguished the
virus and the type of influenza.  These can be independently verified all
over the world.

Contrast this with an experiment in which the volunteer was 65 million years
too early for his appointment.  The steps used include, no, among the
assumptions used are, no, these three assumptions are included among those
required (ready the comfy chair!! [non-Monty Python fans will just have to
be confused] : -) :
-the accuracy of phylogenetic brackets, and the place of dinos therein as
related specifically to pigments,
-the fact that modern visual pigments are derived from a single molecule and
-the diversification of those visual pigments between and within many
lineages still leaves the dinosaur version of those pigments parallel enough
to the modern versions that you are able to draw a single acceptable
conclusion.
Are these reasonable?  Is the 'best evidence' used for other assumptions
good enough?  Yes, probably even compelling for people who know more than I.
Are they as immediately persuasive as the test of a virus in the lab on a
person in the lab with a result visible in the lab?  Not wanting to bring in
metaphysics and semantics, the obvious answer appears to be 'no'.

The AIDS example shows an example of successful indirect analysis.  How is
the analysis supported?  The emphasis is as much as possible on examining
people with HIV and AIDS, and not by proofs that the logic used is
consistent with established principles.  Indirect approaches can produce
results as true as direct experimentation, but direct results usually settle
matters scientific more immediately and thoroughly, no?