"John W. Redelfs" wrote:

> After much pondering, Gary Smith favored us with:
> >No, it is postulating a theory. Once a theory is set out for all to read,
> >then it is up to the rest of us to disprove the theory by testing it
> >against known evidences. That does not yet make it a fact, as future
> >evidence can always refute a theory. Without theories, we would not
> >advance in science or knowledge. The danger comes when we convince
> >ourselves that a theory is a fact, when in fact, it isn't.
> So basically what you are saying is that I can forward any way out weird
> theory, maybe like something that Velikovsky or von Daniken might write,
> and the burden of proof is on us to use evidence to showing how wrong
> headed my theory is.

A theory has to be based on observable data, and it has to show its own
"falsifiability criteria," which is to say, "this is what it would take to prove
the theory wrong:." (Darwin did this in Origin of Species, for instance, when he
said that if intermediate forms were not found in the fossil record this would
present a major stumbling block to his theory. That intermediate forms continue
to be found all the time shows that his theory works, or in scientific parlance,
that it is "true". But that doesn't mean true in the ultimate, religious sense,
as tomorrow another theory could come along which explains the data better and is
better at predicting behaviour of the physical model. Velikovsky's problem was
that he didn't indicate how Venus and Mars could have changed their orbits from a
harmonic orbit with Earth (for which there is a precedent; namely Neptune and
Pluto) to their existing near-circular orbits. It also didn't account for the
thermal effects close flybys would create in the Earth, therefore it has been
rejected by scientists.

> I disagree that a person can responsibly postulate a theory and then expect
> it to be accepted unless someone can disprove it.  Even a theory needs to
> be supported with some kind of evidence.  Otherwise it isn't even a theory,
> just a wild speculation.
> John W. Redelfs                       [EMAIL PROTECTED]
> ===========================================
> You know what would make a good story?  Something
> about a clown who make people happy, but inside he's
> real sad. Also, he has severe diarrhea. --Jack Handy
> ===========================================
> All my opinions are tentative pending further data. --JWR
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Marc A. Schindler
Spruce Grove, Alberta, Canada -- Gateway to the Boreal Parkland

“The first duty of a university is to teach wisdom, not a trade; character, not
technicalities. We want a lot of engineers in the modern world, but we don’t want
a world of engineers.” – Sir Winston Churchill (1950)

Note: This communication represents the informal personal views of the author
solely; its contents do not necessarily reflect those of the author’s employer,
nor those of any organization with which the author may be associated.

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