Posts Tagged ‘scientific method’
The status of evolution as a science is verging closer to extinction following a work shop in Germany last month. The essence and definition of science was on center stage at this historical convening of the leading physicists and philosophers of science last month. The meeting convened in the Romanesque-style Ludwig Maximilian University lecture hall. Science writer Natalie Wolchover covered the story for Quanta Magazine entitled “A Fight for the Soul of Science” and later reprinted by on TheAtlantic.com entitled “Physicists and Philosophers Hold Peace Talks.”
The fundamentals of physics currently face a critical problem, explained Nobel laureate David Gross to the three-day work shop attendees – a watershed moment for science. Wolchover explained, “desperate times call for desperate measures.” Specifically, at stake is whether the new concepts in emerging in physics – specifically, the string and multiverse concepts – is true science or just a philosophy. The pivotal issue centers on whether empirical evidence is still required to establish a scientific theory. Since science standards apply across the spectrum of the natural sciences, the outcome also determines the evolution’s science status.
A “Darwin Day” resolution by Democratic New Jersey U.S. Representative Rush Holt was re-introduced on the house floor in late January. The proposed legislation attempts to again designate Charles Darwin’s birthday, February 12th as a day for the nation to honor Darwin. In a Huffington Post interview, Holt explained that Darwin’s birthday should symbolize “the importance of science in the betterment of humanity.”
“It was his thirst for knowledge,” Holt elaborated, “and his scientific approach to discovering new truths that enabled him to develop the theory of evolution.” Science historians, however, will undoubtedly challenge Holt’s “science” assertion and Holtz’s “betterment of humanity” assertion.
In a survey of more than 600 board directors by lead researcher Chris Bart, professor of Strategic Market Leadership at the DeGroote School of Business of McMaster University in Canada, found women to perform better as corporate leaders than men.
Bart, along with Gregory McQueen, senior executive associate dean at Western University of Health Sciences in Arizona, published their results in the International Journal of Business Governance and Ethics.
Java Man is the common name the first human-like fossils discovered by Eugene Dubois in 1891 following the publication of The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin in 1859 on the banks of the Solo River located on Java island, an island in Indonesia.
Dubois claimed, based the size and shape of a tooth, the fraction of a skull, and a femur, found a year later located roughly forty feet from the tooth and skull, to have discovered the first elusive human missing link. Dubois named the fragments Pithecanthropus erectus−erect ape-man. Two views of these are pictured.
Anti-Science, evolution and climate change are now at the center of the 2012 Presidential campaign. The answers to the head-turning question, “Do you believe in evolution?” gets top media attention even though few politicians have biology training beyond Biology 101. Of course, “does life have meaning and purpose?” is the real core of the question.
The use of the term Anti-Science today has evolved to mean anti-evolution and anti-climate change. How candidates manage the “evolution” question will likely leverage an effect on the final vote next year.” Question like “Do you believe in evolution” are now one of the most dreaded types of questions on the political campaign trail. But, what is Anti-Science? As we will see, the history of the Anti-Science is an amazing saga of irony.
At the core of the Anti-Science debate is the definition of Science. The Oxford English Dictionary says that science is “a method of procedures that has characterized natural science since the 17th century, consisting in systematic observation, measurement, and experiment, and the formulation, testing, and modification of hypotheses.” Continue Reading
In The Origin of Species, Charles Darwin developed his revolutionary theory of “slight, successive” evolutionary changes. During the mid-nineteenth century, however, knowledge about genes and genetics was speculative at best, no less the evolution of genes.
In fact, Darwin abandoned the scientific method and declared that his theory of evolution was based on speculation –
I am quite conscious that my speculations run quite beyond the bounds of true science.
The following is a book review by Lisa Lewis on Darwin Then and Now, The Most Amazing Story in the History of Science recently published in the May-June 2011 issue of Home School Enrichment Magazine:
“Looking for a textbook that teaches your high school science students about the fallacies of the theory of evolution? Darwin, Then and Now challenges the evolutionary theory with a critical examination of the science and history of evolution. Written by Professor Richard William Nelson, this book is an in-depth study of the most amazing story in the history of science, the rise of the evolutionary theory. Darwin, Then and Now, is a must-read for the home school science student. Continue Reading
For Charles Darwin, natural selection was the key natural law driving evolution, as reflected in the title, On the Origin of Species, by Means of Natural Selection. Natural selection was envisioned as the mechanism for the origin of species—evolution.
Darwin declared – “I do believe that natural selection will generally act very slowly, only over long periods of time…. natural selection acts slowly by accumulating slight, successive, favorable variations.” In essence, natural selection was simply founded on a belief.
Stressing the importance of the fossil record to the theory of evolution Charles Darwin wrote – “If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ exists which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.”
Evidence for these “numerous, successive, slight modifications” in the fossil record remains a cornerstone to establish scientifically the theory of evolution. Darwin recognized, however, that the fossil record, “not being blended together by innumerable transitional links is a very obvious difficulty.”
Since 1859, the unsuccessful search through the fossil record for the expected intermediate or transitional links has produced a legacy of fraud. Continue Reading
Charles Darwin, desperate to discover how evolution keeps going, in 1865, sent his good friend, Thomas Huxley, a thirty-page manuscript under the heading “The Hypothesis of Pangenesis.” Huxley’s response must have been discouraging, since Darwin replied, “I do not doubt your judgment is perfectly just and I will persuade myself not to publish. The whole affair is much too speculative.”
Pangenesis extended Aristotle’s concept of “spontaneous generation,” later popularized by French naturalist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck. Still anxious, two years late in 1867 Darwin sent a letter to American scientist, Asa Gray at Harvard University –
The chapter on what I call Pangenesis will be called a mad dream, and I shall be pretty well satisfied if you think it a dream worth publishing; but at the bottom of my own mind I think it contains a great truth.