My regrets to my wonderful commentators that have been having quite a discussion on the Intelligent Design threads – largely without my participation. I tried to make time to contribute this week, but ended up spending over six hours of my scarce time fighting spam. I have new sympathy for Napoleon's quote Go sir, gallop, and don't forget that the world was made in six days. You can ask me for anything you like, except time.
I've asked my MT technical advisor to turn off all my comments at once. Many thanks for the fast and gracious support! All comments will be turned off while I travel. Sorry for the inconvenience, but I dread coming back to literally thousands of spam comments. I will work on a long-term solution to comment spam when I return.
Best wishes to all and to all a good night.
What do we mean when we use the term "Science" anyway? Most people use it to mean something reliable, something a rational person can have confidence in. Unfortunately, the term is so broad and vague, it is almost useless. Here are some definitions. Coleridge simply defines Science as knowledge in general while Princeton begs the question a bit with their first definition 1. science, scientific discipline -- (a particular branch of scientific knowledge; "the science of genetics") and points out how vague the term may be with their second definition 2. skill, science -- (ability to produce solutions in some problem domain; "the skill of a well-trained boxer"; "the sweet science of pugilism"). I am not satisfied with any of these definitions and believe these vague definitions allow less reliable studies to mask themselves with the same respectability as other sciences. This is part of the reason I find it laughable to compare Darwin's theory of (macro) Evolution with the Theory of Gravity – or to be less confrontational, to compare the Theory of Gravity with the Theory of the Sims (e.g., we are not really alive, we are just simulations in a quantum computer). Scientific knowledge should be knowledge that is obtained by experiments and verifiable.
Here are some definitions of Science that more closely reflect my own thoughts. This site defines Science as The enterprise by which a particular kind of ordered knowledge is obtained about natural phenomena by means of controlled observation and theoretical interpretation. Even better is this definition: Science: the process of gaining knowledge based on making repeated observations about nature in controlled conditions (experimentation) and attempting to explain what causes those observations (theorizing) through constructing hypotheses that can be tested experimentally. Science's only purpose is to gain knowledge. Sometimes that knowledge may eventually lead to things mankind finds useful technology. This process of experimentation, combined with theorizing, is one of the key parts of Science.
The scientific method also has almost as many definitions as science, but most scientists that I have met would be comfortable with this definition: scientific method: the procedure scientists follow to understand the natural world: (1) the observation of phenomena or the results of experiments; (2) the formulation of hypotheses that describe these phenomena and that are consistent with the body of knowledge available; (3) the testing of these hypotheses by noting whether or not they adequately predict and describe new phenomena or the results of new experiments; (4) the modification or rejection of hypotheses that are not confirmed by observations or experiments.
Theory-Driven Science In earlier discussions, Drew stated that The important thing here is making the prediction, _then_ getting the new data. You can’t look at the old data and make the theory based on that old data, and say the theory fits the old data which you already had. That isn’t predictive. But the data can be something that happened a long time ago, just so you didn't have it before you made the theory. I agree with Drew in some circumstances. I think theory-driven "science" is vital when you do not have the opportunity to replicate the results. I put science in quotes because I do not put this type of science in the same league as any area of knowledge where people can empirically test their theories.
Data-Driven Science is what occurs when researchers use data to develop their theories. This is not always bad, I encourage this type of research in new fields if the theory allows ample methods to falsify it. Many advances in molecular biology are the results of a scientist seeing what would happen if they did X.
Well, that is a lot to get us started. Before I spend any time on the implications of this, let me first get some comments from our prolific writers and see what they think.
I'm going to go watch some mindless entertainment and crash. I hope to surface in a day or two to respond to some of the great comments in the Intelligent Design thread.
As you probably have been reading Ukraine has had a very controversial election. I think this would be a good forum to discuss what the UN, center of international law and the body which validates world governments, is doing to resolve this crisis.
If anyone has notices the UN doing anything, please let us all know.
According to Bill Kristol on Fox New Sunday this morning the Bush administration wants Joe Lieberman to be the US ambassador to the UN, and has allegedly contacted him for the job.This is not going to happen. If this rumor is true, then President Bush is just stroking Lieberman’s ego and looking bipartisan at no cost to himself. In the remote chance Lieberman said yes, gaining another Republican senate seat would be well worth any Republican flack Bush might take over appointing a Democrat. I doubt there would be any flack at all, most conservatives would be giddy over gaining another vote in the Senate. (Connecticut just elected a Republican governor, so I'm naturally assuming she would appoint a Republican to Lieberman's position).
I would love to be proven wrong about Lieberman accepting this offer, but I'm convinced this is a non-story. It is not going to happen. Period.
I bring this up because I wrote down a prediction I have about what scientists will be debating in the latter half of this century. The big debate in 50 years will be ID vs ID. Who created us? A supernatural power (i.e., God) or aliens? Crick, one of the co-discoverers of DNA, believed aliens created life on Earth – he did not believe in God, but he knew better than most how flawed the idea of evolution really is. While I disagree with Crick, his theory is far more viable than Darwin’s old theory. As more and more scientists dump Darwin, the naturalists amongst them will not adopt creationism. So I expect to see a plethora of other ID theories coming down the pike along with seeing many people follow in Crick's footsteps.
Question for the economists in the audience:
Why can't a US state (California, for example) run a current accounts deficit relative to another US state while a country (the US for example) can run a current accounts deficit relative to a foreign country?
Let's postulate an economy that consists only of shirts and oranges.
The US consumers purchase more shirts (all of which are made in China) than the Chinese purchase oranges (all of which are grown in the US). So there is a trade/current accounts imbalance. There is a net inflow of goods and services into the US and a net outflow of money out of the US.
Now let's say Californians purchase more shirts (all of which are made in Vermont) than Vermonese purchase oranges (all of which are grown in California). There is a net inflow of goods and services into California and a net outflow of money out of California.
What is the difference between those two situations? Is it that California and Ohio actually do have exactly the same currency and exactly the same debt market, so there can be no correction, whereas even if China pegs its currency to the dollar and even if China does most of its borrowing in the US bond market it has the option not to do so, so a correction (dollar vs yuan) and a collapse of one credit market but not all possible credit markets for Chinese borrows can eventually occur?
The situations seem rather similar. Why can the Californians consume outside goods and services without limit from Ohio, but not from China? How do you draw the limiting circle around an economic unit that has to be self-contained in terms of production/consumption/savings (Production == Consumption + Savings)?