Joined: Oct. 2005
|Quote (GaryGaulin @ June 08 2018,07:12)|
|In the Panda's Thumb topic is a useful PBS video for the definition of theory and hypothesis:|
It seems like everyone is essentially on the same page with what the video shows. Since the video did not go into detail on the subject I should though add that climate change theory goes back billions of years, not a post Industrial Age limited political issue.
There is upcoming tracksite work I need to prepare for. This is a bad time to argue over buzz words I don't see in a sentence and what's more intelligent than something else. But if you N.Wells want to test the model/theory then do something like (from the behavior of matter on up) program the inner workings of living things then show me what needs to be changed. That is what this theory must explain how to do.
I would though be interested in information on chemical detection of bone casts and where small animals decomposed inside siltstone deposits that were originally oxidative and possibly acidic, but had a good amount of iron.
Well, thanks for proving my point that your pile of stuff is not a theory.
The video is pretty good, but you aren't paying attention to what it says. Here are the relevant points that it makes, with [....] indicating my additional comments.
1) Facts = observations.
2) Hypothesis = something you test.
3) Once you've discarded all but one hypothesis, the one that is left over is a possible explanation, that is not as yet disproven.
4) Once you have enough non-disproven hypotheses and can synthesize them into something greater [i.e. a coherent larger explanation], then you have a theory, and the great thing about a theory is that it allows you to make predictions.
5) Someone's speculative idea is not a theory, but an hypothesis.
6) Law = statement [often mathematical] based on experimental observations that describe some phenomenon of nature
Your not-a-theory fails with point 5 - it's just speculative ideas. It also fails on point #4, because you haven't tested it yet. You haven't posed hypotheses, and you haven't tested them, and you haven't constructed your theory out of the framework of including as-yet not disproven hypotheses, while also excluding the disproven hypotheses. In fact, you have yet to provide any evidence at all that your not-a-theory is correct or even that the mechanisms you propose are real. (Note that hypotheses passing tests and predictions of theories proving correct are how hypotheses and theories garner the widespread support that I keep harping on.) Your not-a-theory is simply based on your ideas of the way things ought to be, which is not enough to qualify it as a theory.
Point 2 might APPEAR to offer you some support on hypotheses, because the video just says "something you can test", which is the same as your Dinosaur Train concept. However, this is incomplete. Note that the video says very little about hypotheses because its concern is justifying the Theory of Evolution as a well-supported conclusion rather than just a guess. Point 3 says that once you've excluded all but one of your hypotheses, the one that remains is a possible explanation. That implies that the others were also possible explanations, at least up until the point that they were disproven. Most, although not all, useful hypotheses are indeed potential explanations.
Note that your ideas also fail to qualify as hypotheses (good ones, anyway) because they do not consist of "something you can test". Most are not phrased well enough to understand what you mean, which is one way of making them untestable, and worse, they cannot be tested because you use terms in non-standard ways but do not follow that up with operational definitions so that the rest of us can know how to measure what you are talking about. The definitions that you provide are not operational definitions, and are so murky and problematic as regular definitions that we in fact frequently have trouble understanding what we should be measuring, quite apart from how to measure it.
The video is incomplete, though not wrong, about scientific laws. In contrast to theories, laws are much simpler statements about single principles or relationships. They vary from statements of general principles, more like axioms or postulates, that don’t require corroboration (like the Law of Superposition), to descriptions, often mathematical, of what regularly happens (e.g., Boyle’s Law, Newton’s Law of Gravity). Laws ideally have no exceptions (like the Laws of Thermodynamics), but exceptions usually turn up (especially for descriptive laws), or they turn out to be applicable only within specific contexts or situations. For example, Hooke's Law can be described only slightly tongue in cheek as "Materials extend linearly, except when they don't." Chemistry and physics have lots of laws, with most dating from their early days, when reductionism was able to easily reveal many fundamental principles. Geologists and biologists don’t use the term much anymore, in part because their subjects are too complex to be whittled down to simple mathematical statements, and also because so many biological and geological laws have turned out to be wrong, so they just tend to stick with “theory” as the top echelon.