Feature Article - May 2016
by Do-While Jones

Sharpening the Point

Last monthís satire can easily be misunderstood.

We received more than the usual amount of email praising last monthís April Fools feature article; but perhaps for the wrong reason. Several of the emails contained even stronger arguments against the multiverse theory, which indicates that we may have failed to make the point we really wanted to make.

Our spoof of the multiverse theory was really about science, and how it has become confused with philosophy. If a scientist believes something that has no experimental proof, it isnít scientific. Some scientists do believe in other universes in other dimensions which cannot be observed. Since they cannot be observed, their existence cannot be proved or disproved. It is a philosophical notion which may or may not be true. Itís not science.

Furthermore, it is inconsistent to say that belief in an invisible heaven in another, spiritual dimension is not scientific, but belief in another invisible physical universe is scientific. There really is no difference between believing in invisible universes and believing in unknown common ancestors, either. Belief in other invisible universes, invisible heavenly realms, and imagined ancestors, are all equally philosophicalónot scientific. Science is based on observation of natural phenomena and observation of experimental results. Other universes, heavenly realms, and imaginary common ancestors have never been scientifically observed.

Computer Models

Many people in our society blindly accept anything a scientist says, or a computer model predicts. Some of my professional career was spent developing computer models of weapons. But when tested, some of those weapons did not perform as our models predicted. We often had to revise our models to make them give results that matched what really happened in the tested scenarios. Computer models can only be trusted after they have been experimentally verified.

Computer models of what happens inside a black hole, or how stars form, or how the global climate will change in hundreds of years, or how macroevolution works, have not been verified. Models are no better than the assumptions they are based upon, and the skill of the programmer converting those unverifiable assumptions into executable code.

The Jurassic Park series of movies used realistic computer generated animation showing how dinosaurs movedóbut just because a computer makes it look realistic doesnít mean it really happened that way. Computer models tell us how dinosaurs would have moved IF their muscles were as strong as assumed, and their body mass index was correctly estimated, et cetera. The simulation of the fictional Indominus rex looked realistic, even though it never existed. Convincing simulations donít prove anything really happened that way.

Scientists use computer models to estimate how DNA and physical features might have evolved; but that doesnít mean it really happened. Computers can calculate what a common ancestor of two creatures might have looked like; but that doesnít mean the common ancestor actually existed.

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