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Author Topic:   What is the power of prediction?
subbie
Member (Idle past 71 days)
Posts: 3508
Joined: 02-26-2006


Message 31 of 34 (293923)
03-10-2006 10:27 AM
Reply to: Message 30 by Chiroptera
03-10-2006 9:55 AM


Re: Different kinds of predictions
I agree 100% that the breadth of phenomena that evolution encompasses is staggering. But, is this better thought of as "predicting" or "explaining?"


Those who would sacrifice an essential liberty for a temporary security will lose both, and deserve neither. -- Benjamin Franklin
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Chiroptera
Member
Posts: 6532
From: Oklahoma
Joined: 09-28-2003


Message 32 of 34 (293944)
03-10-2006 11:10 AM
Reply to: Message 31 by subbie
03-10-2006 10:27 AM


Re: Different kinds of predictions
I don't know if there is a distinction between the two in scientific terminology. I know that I will often use the two words interchangeably.

When I do make a distinction between the two (and this is my own idiosyncratic distinction), I think of a prediction as a phenomenon that would cause a problem for evolution if it were not observed, whereas an explanation is a phenomenon that can be explained by evolution if it exists, but would not pose a problem if it is not.

The heirarchical classification is a prediction: if the species could not be classified in a unique nested heirarchical pattern, this would be a pretty serious problem.

On the other hand, I think the existence of an intelligent species can be explained by means of evolution, but I don't think there is any reason to have expected, simply from the assumptions of common descent through small variations, to expect that intelligent species should exist. (Of course, recognizing that intelligent species do, in fact, exist, one can then make predictions as to what further phenomena should be observed....)

However, as I said, these are my own idiosyncratic definitions.


"Intellectually, scientifically, even artistically, fundamentalism -- biblical literalism -- is a road to nowhere, because it insists on fidelity to revealed truths that are not true." -- Katha Pollitt
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Modulous
Member (Idle past 215 days)
Posts: 7789
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 33 of 34 (293954)
03-10-2006 11:29 AM
Reply to: Message 28 by mike the wiz
03-10-2006 8:47 AM


Re: Example: Einstein's famous prediction
I almost brought Einstein's prediction up the OP, but it looked a bit cluttered so I deleted it. The question now is, how does this compare with being able to predict the structure of the relative genetic similarity of all organisms that exist...ten years before the first realistic methods of sequence comparisons came about?

Is Einstein's work 'real' science and the prediction above not 'real' science? What seperates the two?


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subbie
Member (Idle past 71 days)
Posts: 3508
Joined: 02-26-2006


Message 34 of 34 (294000)
03-10-2006 12:59 PM
Reply to: Message 33 by Modulous
03-10-2006 11:29 AM


Re: Example: Einstein's famous prediction
I would say that the genetic similarity prediction is exactly like the Einsteinian prediction; a claim about certain characteristics of the real world before the truth of that claim is known that is borne out through subsequent observation.


Those who would sacrifice an essential liberty for a temporary security will lose both, and deserve neither. -- Benjamin Franklin
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