Wednesday, January 18, 2006

The Expert Weighs In

My little brother - the one who used to jump on me and bite me when he was mad - has been working on his Doctorate in neuro-science, so he knows a little about science and the scientific process. I guess he's been spying on us over here at Page 132 and here's what he had to say about our ID discussion.
  1. Expat keeps referring to an ecoli virus developing the ability to metabolize sugar when you delete a certain gene. What he really means is ecoli bacteria.....Because viruses don't metabolize anything....They are really little pieces of RNA that infiltrate cells and insert themselves into a cell's DNA and use that DNA to replicate their own RNA. Picky point, but I thought it was funny that you all were talking about biology and no one picked that up.
  2. Second point concerns the concept of falsifiability. I'm not sure if any body has gotten it completely right yet. That something is falsifiable in the scientific sense, means that you could imagine a hypothetical experiment, the results of which unequivocally mean that your theory can not be correct. I'm not sure that Hefe's example of how ID is falsifiable fits under this definition. Finding a mechanism by which a complex organism develops from a unknown process doesn't mean that ID doesn't happen, it only means that complex organisms can develop without design....and it certainly doesn't indicate that this "unintelligent" mechanism is the means by which things did or do happen. In the same vein, I'm not sure evolution is as falsifiable as people think. The theory of gravity is falsifiable because you can imagine an experiment that would unequivocally suggest the theory of gravity is incorrect (If we went to another planet in a far away galaxy and things fell up would be an example, albeit a cheesy bad one). What hypothetical experiment shows that a species evolved via natural selection? I think many people would be surprised how many "scientific" theories 1.)do not generate testable hypothesis and 2.) are therefore not falsifiable.