Monday, September 29, 2014

My Year of Darwin 9/29/2014: Owen the Jerkasaurus

 Charles Darwin

"I added that I would endeavor to modify the 'believes' & 'convinced.' He took me up short, -'You will then spoil your book, the charm of it is that it is Darwin himself.' Charles Darwin, Letter to Charles Lyell, December 1859

Owen's beef with Darwin was that Darwin was too inductive - extrapolating conclusions without properly testing those ideas. We often get caught up in hypothesis testing. The National Science Foundation, seeks applications with "tight" hypotheses but we should never forget that the greatest advances in science were inductive leaps: the double helix of DNA, the big bang, and anything Einstein put forward. It isn't that all inductions are equal but those that are tested and whose metal proves toughest should be commended. 

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