Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Science: Extraordinary Evidence?

A very good piece in Psychology Today about general standard of evidence science requires...

It starts by quoting the famous Carl Sagan's coinage that "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence". And you'd be excused for believing it to make sense. After all, it is intuitively "clear" that the more amazing the fact or theory the more amazing should both the explanation and the proof be. Only, as our Scientific Fundamentalist (aka Satoshi Kanazawa) points out, does not, in fact, make very much sense at all. Because in science all evidence should be expected to be of exactly he same standard, i.e. of the highest scientific standard possible - which is the highest. Things don't get better than superlative (apart from the colloquial "bestest", as in "my bestest friend"). To add my tuppence, this must also apply to both scientists (and others) refuting religious nonsense, and to religious people trying to rebuke science as the only discipline capable of explaining the world. Both sides too often forget this. So, next time someone tells you there is a god, don't ask them for parting of the waters. A much smaller feat would do, as long as it is a well conceived proof and/or evidence. Equally, the next time someone proves to you that, e.g. evolution is fact, don't just tell them they're wrong because there is a god. Rather, try to actually hear the evidence and proof.

Because, after all there is (no need for a) god. And you know it, deep down inside...