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How Do You Test an Origin Theory?
By: Peter Bocchino

 

NOTE: This document is a proposal written by Peter Bocchino that was presented to the Director of Science, Gwinnett County, Georgia. Peter also wrote an application of the following principles to the study of evolution: Origin Theory Test Applied (560K, PDF).

Gwinnett County Proposal for Testing Any Origin Theory

To the Director of Science—Gwinnett County:

Per your request, I have written the following summary:

Scientific investigations must begin with scientific laws and principles that have been established and used as the fundamental part of the criteria to sanction any credible origin model. The primary laws and principles that are used by scientists and are included in the GA-DOE QCC standards ought to be used as the framework for basic and forensic scientific investigations (see the Quality Core Curriculum standards on the attached page). Here is a summary of the first principles of science and the foremost laws:

1. The first principle of all scientific investigation is the principle of cause and effect: The causality principle states that every finite, dependent, and contingent thing (effects) must have had a beginning and therefore needs a cause.

2. The first principle of forensic science is the principle of uniformity (analogy): Present causes of present effects, must have been similar to the past causes of the same kind of effects. The fewer the number of present causes, the higher the probability of a similar past cause.

3. The foremost law of science is the second law of thermodynamics: The amount of usable energy in a closed isolated (finite) system runs down.

4. The foremost law of molecular biology is the law of specified complexity (Information Theory): This law provides the line of demarcation between life (biology) and matter (physics). It is also the basis for binomial nomenclature—species—and describes the nature of the information content that was discovered in the DNA molecule (the genetic code).

The Basic Scientific Method: The discipline of science provides us with knowledge in the sense that it deals with the present observation and operation of the physical world through repeatable cause and effect relationships. From these observations and the application of scientific principles and laws, science can discover the probable causes of those repeatable effects. This method concerns itself with the causes (actions) and effects (reactions) of the present workings of the physical world. However, when it comes to dealing with past events that are no longer happening in the present, another kind of scientific method must be applied. This kind of scientific method is known as forensic science.

The Forensic Scientific Method: This method superintends the kinds of investigations of events that were not observed and are not repeatable. This kind of event is called a singularity. Homicide detectives use this method to investigate murders and answer questions such as: What was the cause of death? Was it an accident, or was it the result of an intelligent agent? In order to apply forensic science to discover the cause of a past event, the first principles of both basic and forensic science must be utilized—causality and the uniformity principle (or principle of analogy). If present observations indicate that it always takes a certain kind of cause to produce a certain kind of effect, the principle of uniformity tells us that the same kind of effect in the past must have had the same kind of cause as observed in the present. The lower the number of possible causes in the present, the higher probability of the same kind of cause in the past.

Test Criteria For A Valid Theory: Stephen W. Hawking holds Newton’s chair as Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge University and is regarded as the most brilliant theoretical physicist since Einstein. Hawking said, “A theory is a good theory if it satisfies two requirements: It must accurately describe a large class of observations on the basis of a model that contains only a few arbitrary elements, and it must make definite predictions about the results of future observations" (Stephen W. Hawking, A Brief History of Time (New York: Bantam Books, 1992), 9, emphasis added).

1. The Theory Must Explain A Large Class of Observations: E.g., The Global Cambrian Explosion.

2. The Theory Must Predict Results of Future Observations: E.g., Expected Fossil Record Findings

Evidence To Be Analyzed:1) The nature of the universe from astronomy (cosmology and cosmogony). To determine if the universe is finite or infinite—caused or always existed. 2) The nature and cause of the first life form: non-living matter to single cell organism. 3) The cause of the appearance of new life forms, making the distinction between micro-evolution and macro-evolution (see QCC, 9-12 – Biology/Theory of Evolution; Standard 12.2). 4) All fossil record discoveries, including the rapid burst of diversification known as the Cambrian Explosion (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/evolution/library/03/4/l_034_02.html).

Once agreement concerning the principles and laws of science and the basic and forensic science method has been reached, the test criteria can be established. Then teachers should have students apply them to the data and let them decide for themselves the scientific credibility of origin theories. This project could be assigned as a team effort for this part of the course.

This would hopefully do away with the arguing and fighting that happens when conflicts between origin models arise. In fact, we do a disservice to our young people when these debates go public. It only serves to undermine the discipline of science and the hard work of educators and parents with respect to the education of our children.

QCC-Standards:

Course: Astronomy (Origin of Cosmos)

Topic: Cosmology / Standard: Investigates possible beginnings of the known universe. Develops ideas concerning origin of the universe. / Investigates beliefs concerning the universe from ancient to modern times.

Course: Physics (Laws of Science)

Topic: Thermodynamics Standard: Relates the effects of thermal energy to kinetic molecular theory.

Course: Science, Technology and Society Laws Applied)

Topic: Environment / Standard: 5.4 States the First Law of Thermodynamics. 5.6 States the Second Law of Thermodynamics. 5.7 Identifies examples of energy loss in nature systems. 5.8 Identifies examples of increasing entropy in natural systems.

Course: Biology (Origin of Life & Species)

Topic: The Theory of Evolution: Origins of Life & Universe / Standard: Describes & applies concepts of origins. 12.1 Explains historical and current theoriesof origins(e.g., Big Bang, evolution, and others).

12.2 Compares micro- and macro-evolution. 12.3 Explains natural selection and how it is affected by environmental changes.

Course: Earth Science (History and the Fossil Record)

Topic: The earth's place in the universe / Standard: Relates the universality principle. / Explains how data is gathered from deep space. Analyzes the Big Bang Theory and its relation to the expanding universe concept.

Course: Earth Science (Fossil Record)

Topic: The earth's history Standard: Distinguishes the principles of uniformitarianism (analogy), superposition and fossil correlation. 21.5 Models the Geologic Time Scale. 21.6 Cites the Geologic Time Scale from Cambrian to the present.

 


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