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Archiver > GENEALOGY-DNA > 2009-12 > 1260386201


From: "Lancaster-Boon" <>
Subject: [DNA] R-U152 and R-L21 on the European Continent
Date: Wed, 9 Dec 2009 20:16:41 +0100


Good philosophical point.

It is amazing how many followers of modern science, including some
scientists, actually think the same way as what I would call "sophisticated
creationists" (the ones you are presumably referring to) and therefore get
themselves into all sorts of dilemmas.

Reading Francis Bacon or David Hume is a good way to remember what modern
science really means, and how it originally made its own case against the
alternatives. These days there are no real alternatives which any takes
seriously. (Yes, yes, some people get serious in a purely superficial way,
but ask them if they want to get in an airplane designed on principles
opposed to modern science.)

If someone against modern science demands "but science can not even prove
that the sun will rise tomorrow: you can only say it is probable, and then
only based on your own experience of what happened in the past" the correct
scientific response is "yes, so what".

There are some people who seem to think that this is not the case. These are
the people who tend to make a big deal about whether something is a theory
or a hypothesis, and whether falsification was involved at some point.

Bacon did not even aim to get rid of metaphysics. He just swept it under the
table in order to deal with more modest human aims.

Most people think it is in fact a reasonable practical assumption to make,
that the sun will rise tomorrow. In his clever way of putting it (so it
would not offend too much) Bacon fills the position of metaphysics (the
theories about what causes the causes in nature) with "laws of nature" -
which made him sound like an Aquinas fan, except that these laws are just
any reasonable description of things which tend to happen the same way every
time. There is no discussion about the law-maker, and the laws are only
working hypotheses which can be changed whenever new data comes in.

Let me get back to the point a little. It is always possible, and always
pointless (unless you got new data), to wonder whether the sun will perhaps
not rise tomorrow.

Best Regards
Andrew

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From: "Lawrence Mayka" <>
Subject: Re: [DNA] R-U152 and R-L21 on the European Continent
Date: Wed, 9 Dec 2009 05:46:18 -0600
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This line of thought is almost identical to a fundamental element of
young-earth creationism: That we cannot know whether natural processes
occurred at the same rate in the past as they do today, and that therefore
all dating of the past is potentially deceptive:

http://creationwiki.org/Accelerated_decay

In a philosophical sense, this is clearly true. We cannot observe the past
directly, so all scientific assertions in its regard can never be more than
extrapolations from the present (or as David pejoratively called them,
"statistical manipulations").

Of course, sensible practitioners of scientific method do not claim to be
accumulating philosophical truth, but rather constructing models that
correctly predict further observations.


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