Author Topic: Doing Science Backwards?  (Read 688 times)

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Offline Inactive_1

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Doing Science Backwards?
« on: October 28, 2008, 06:34:05 AM »
25 October 2008
The Intelligent design weblog of William Dembski
DaveScot

I just read an Insights article in the July 2008 edition of Scientific American. In a nutshell, biochemist Jeremy Nicholson billed as one of the world’s foremost experts on the metabolome (the collection of chemicals in the body which are byproducts of metabolic processes) is screening thousands of individuals to establish baseline amounts of different metabolites and then compares differences between individuals looking for consistent correlations between those differences and various kinds of diseases.

Seems like a good research plan to me. The noteworthy part that prompted the subject line of my article here is in the last paragraph of the first page of the SciAm article:

    It is kind of like doing science backward: instead making hypotheses and then devising experiments to test them, he performs experiments first and tries to decipher his results later. He must sift through the range of chemicals produced by the genes people have, the food they eat, the drugs they take, the diseases they suffer from and the intestinal bacteria they harbor.

It struck me that this is in fact the same methodology that ID researchers use - look at the raw data and try to find patterns in it. Raw data, especially in fields like comparative genomics, is being amassed at an incredible rate and little of it is explained at this point in time.

While some may call this “doing science backward” I call it straightforward “reverse engineering” wherein you have a black box (you don’t know what’s inside the box or how it works) and you begin by amassing all the external information you can about it then form hypotheses which explain the data. Comparatve genomics at this point is an exercise in reverse engineering. It is not doing science in the dogmatic short form of hypothesis first and gathering evidence second. It’s evidence first and hypothesis second.


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Offline velkyn

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Re: Doing Science Backwards?
« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2008, 12:37:46 PM »
Nicholson seems to be not starting with any conviction of what he will find.  Creationism does that. Dembski is desperately trying to convince people that ID isn't creationism when that boat sailed during the Dover trial.

Dembski is trying to co-opt real science in his delusions.  He fails again.
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Offline bahramthered

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Re: Doing Science Backwards?
« Reply #2 on: October 28, 2008, 04:02:01 PM »
This reseach seems to be a shot in the dark just to see what he might find. A lot of reseach is done this way.

BTW: This is probally the best way. He dosn't have a hypthosis to test or bend facts to fit. He is simply seeking patterns and will come up with an hypthosis later.

Offline Goodkat

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Re: Doing Science Backwards?
« Reply #3 on: October 28, 2008, 04:45:48 PM »
I thought with the scientific method, you look at the raw data, then form the hypothesis, then try to disprove it.

Offline MadBunny

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Re: Doing Science Backwards?
« Reply #4 on: October 29, 2008, 01:50:47 AM »
I thought with the scientific method, you look at the raw data, then form the hypothesis, then try to disprove it.

He can still do that.
Give a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a night.  Set a man on fire and he'll be warm for the rest of his life.

Offline bahramthered

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Re: Doing Science Backwards?
« Reply #5 on: October 29, 2008, 08:53:35 AM »
Lots of sceince is about the idea and then making it work.