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RE: Disparaging Popper

> From: owner-dinosaur@usc.edu [mailto:owner-dinosaur@usc.edu]On Behalf Of
> Stratigraphy@aol.com
> << Physics and other fields do make predictions which are
> impossible to test
>  immediately.  >>
> Just a thought...Physics, astrophysics, etc., do make hypothese
> which are at
> this time, and for all intents and purposes for all time,
> impossible.  Pea
> Instanton....give it a name, the thoughts on HOW the big bang
> happened are
> relatively hard to test, if not downright impossible.  The scope
> for such a
> project is, well, astronomical.  That does not stop us from
> thinking though...
Without prolonging this discussion (which we've done many a time before!),
please remember that while the Big Bang itself cannot be directly observed,
various models of the event predict observable phenomena (e.g., background
radiation of a particular level).  These predictions lend themselves to
observations, and hence to falsifiablility.

The same applies to historical events in the rock record: events or
phenomena for which we can predict some form of preservable record lend
themselves to observation, and hence to falsifiablity, and thus lie within
the realm of science.  On the other hand, events or phenomena which could
NOT in principle be recorded cannot be observed, and are non-falsifiable,
and therefore lie only in the realm of speculation.

There's nothing wrong with speculation, but just remember that speculation
and of itself is not science: only when that speculation leads to testable
hypotheses can we do our job!

Later, all...

                Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
                Vertebrate Paleontologist
Department of Geology           Director, Earth, Life & Time Program
University of Maryland          College Park Scholars
                College Park, MD  20742
Phone:  301-405-4084    Email:  tholtz@geol.umd.edu
Fax (Geol):  301-314-9661       Fax (CPS-ELT): 301-405-0796