How to Understand the Degree of Certainty in Key Discoveries
An international team of astronomers has recently determined the rate of expansion for the universe based on studies of HII regions (star-forming gaseous nebulae) in 69 galaxies over a broad range of distances. This seems to be a straightforward scientific determination, but it is loaded with philosophical implications. Here’s why: Since the cosmic expansion rate measured is at least approximately constant, the inverse of that rate: (1) establishes that the universe had a beginning, (2) yields the amount of time that has transpired since the cosmic beginning, and (3) implies that a cosmic Initiator must exist to have set the cosmos in motion.
Thus, if we can put confidence in the astronomers’ measurement, we will have strong scientific corroboration for the biblical view of creation. So just how much confidence can we place in it? How do we determine that?
Before putting any long-term confidence in a scientific discovery, one should always look for corroboration. Has any other independent research team, using different detection equipment and/or different detection methods, confirmed the result? Is the result confirmed both by observations over time and by experiments? Is there a theory that successfully integrates and explains all the observations and experiments?
Personally, I do not put a lot of confidence in a scientific result unless it has been established by experiments, observations, and theory, and I see consistency among all the observations and experiments. In addition, I expect to see the results becoming progressively better as the error bars, both random and systematic, shrink. More.
Curious that so many people who think themselves more “scientific” are reduced to campaigning against falsifiability in science.
Stay sane! Give/get Salvo for Christmas here. Special sale price $19.99/4 issues, yr
See also: Big Bang exterminator wanted, will train
Copernicus, you are not going to believe who is using your name. Or how.
Follow UD News at Twitter!