Saturday, October 05, 2013

Where I'm at with evolution and science

First of all science - To me the gold standard on science and scientific theories is "the prediction of new facts". Not to be confused with model fitting the data, this predicts what future data will be. If a climate model predicts global temperatures correctly in advance, then it is of a gold standard compared to if it would have predicted current temperatures correctly given past data.

The basis of modern technology is this ability to know that a design will work before going to the effort of building it. 

Modern evolutionary synthesis of itself does not predict new facts. It has been built from a consensus of scientists to explain how evolution works, but is not a basis in itself for predicting new facts. It does show that surviving species will be more adapted to an environment than species in which the environment causes them to become extinct or depleted. However, a teleological approach to genetic variation will lead to the same new facts, ie. species, than an approach based on random variation. Thus, the modern evolutionary synthesis has not reached the gold standard by me. This makes me very impatient with some types of evolutionary articles and theses.

Astrobiology - ie. the research and study of organics and biology in space allows us a unique opportunity to test competing theories on abiogenesis and evolution. The "strong" version of panspermia espoused by Wickramasinghe etc. will predict different future facts than geogenesis or other alternative theories on the origin and distribution of life. Whether a prediction about what a robotic spaceship's experiments will show in advance of that experiment being made will give credence to the narrative behind that prediction.

Predictions about what spacecraft would find looking at comets up close have been very wrong based on the narrative that they are pristine and unchanged from the birth of the solar system. The narrative won't change, however, as it is too entrenched. It is more convenient to fit unexpected facts into the same narrative than to think of a new narrative that would have predicted these facts. The narrative is very vague on details anyway. Virtually any new discovery can be fitted into it - It is, for the most part unfalsifiable. I can see why Wickramasinghe prefers to be on the fringe, and outside of the consensus. He is not disputing any of the data from say NASA scientists. For the most part, other scientists are not  disputing his data and rigour. It is a battle of narratives, and the prediction of future facts should be the gold standard in the battle of narratives.

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