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LWN.net Weekly Edition for June 13, 2013
A report from pgCon 2013
Little things that matter in language design
Intellectual self deceit
Posted Oct 18, 2008 13:27 UTC (Sat) by rev (guest, #15082)
Compare it to an airliner crash investigation. There is exactly one sequence of events that caused the demise of the airplain. What was it? The envistigators' job is to find out the actual sequence of events that caused the plain to crash. In the process of their job, the collect all available evidence, formulate hypotheses that the evidence give rise to, conduct experiments to put their hypotheses, reject these if these don't pass the test and formulate alternative hypotheses.
There is only one sequence of events that brought about the earth and the universe as we know it. Exactly one. Unraveling what that one way is, is the task that a range of scientist have set themselves to. Thus far, the evidence has led them to the Big Bang, cluster formation, galaxy formation, stellar evolution, planet formation and biological evolution and all that.
Creationism and it variations are like insisting that AA 587 crashed due to terrorism, even though the people that actually studied the remnants in detail reached an entirely different conclusion.
Is it the hypothesis that God created the earth as we know it and everything around it several thousands of years ago, fossils, coal deposits and what have you included, that you have in mind, per chance? I propose a competing hypothesis: God did so just 10 minutes ago. Heck, I can propose a multitude of competing hypotheses: God did so an hour ago, God did so a day ago, a year ago, 100,000 years ago, a billions years ago, 120100018934.899 years ago.. that Wodan did so 10000 years ago, that Thor did so 3000 years ago, that Taaroa did so 7000 years ago. ad infinitum. Which one is it? How could we possibly decide which of these overcountable (yes, in the set theory sense of the word) amount of hypotheses corresposnds to the one that corresponds to the one way in how earth and the universe actually came about? Why the choise in favor of Genesis?
Evolution does not need special assumptions. Not only has evolution been observed in the laboratory, it is a simple hypothesis that explains a wide range of phenomena: from the existance of life on earth, the increase in complexity of organisms over time, to the emergance of novel deseases, entire populations showing more immunity to certain deseases than others, germs becoming immune to antibiotics.
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