I was reading this article about the multiverse and found a really profound statement and an area of common misunderstanding. So… blog!
To me, the key point is that if theories are scientific, then it’s legitimate science to work out and discuss all their consequences even if they involve unobservable entities. For a theory to be falsifiable, we need not be able to observe and test all its predictions, merely at least one of them. – Max Tegmark
This is some pretty potent stuff when you start thinking about it.
When Einstein penned his theories of Special and General Relativity, there was no way to test them. Were they unscientific? No, there was a considerable degree of math involved. That math was based on known to be true principles and was not wrong (i.e. no math errors).
Therefore it is reasonable to assume that Einstein’s work had already passed one major hurdle. Einstein’s work could easily have been proven wrong by someone finding a mistake in the math.
Even before the actual aspects were testable, there were ways to prove it wrong (falsify it).
This applies to evolution as well. Evolution is the system that makes predictions. If those predictions are observed, then evolution is supported. This has been shown to happen. Evolution makes predictions about everything from anti-biotic and pesticide resistance to effects of parasites and predators on populations. These observations have all matched the predictions made by evolutionary theory.
Therefore evolution is science.
Global warming notions predict that certain things will happen as the atmosphere warms. These things can be observed. It, in principle, predicts what would happen if the carbon dioxide level were to drop. While this may not happen for a long time, the fact that the predictions exist and are observable (if the conditions ever come about) make this science too.
Intelligent design. Well, as soon as I hear a prediction or a falsifiable position or even a notion about how things came to be like they are, well, then we can start looking for it. We haven’t seen any of this yet, at all.
I predict that my internet stalker (Joe) will attempt to put the blame back on evolution and/or claim that ID does make testable predictions. It’s an even money bet that he will use ‘junk DNA’ as evidence. Of course, scientists (Gould in the early 70s) predicted that junk DNA would contain useful material long before the earliest ID proponents said it (Behe in roughly 1994).
We’ll see what happens.
In conclusion. Science is hard. But it still works. It’s also the only thing that works.