X-Message-Number: 10033
Date:  Fri, 10 Jul 98 16:13:20 
From: Mike Perry <>
Subject: Scientific "Evidence"

Paul Wakfer, #10021, wrote,

> [snip] However, I believe that I dealt
> with him quite effectively, by simply replying to his statement that I
> "had shown no evidence that cryonics would work" (which from the
> traditional - and proper - scientific viewpoint of the meaning of
> "evidence" is quite correct. No one has yet shown any such evidence!)

What is this 'traditional - and proper - scientific viewpoint of the 
meaning of "evidence"'? To my thinking there is 
significant, scientific evidence cryonics will work, some evidence 
(also scientific) it won't work, so far no proof (again scientific) 
either way. In a sense, true scientific "proof" is impossible, though  
when the evidence for something is overwhelming enough, for practical 
purposes we say it has been proved. But "evidence" is not the same as 
"proof" or "almost-proof". Its criteria are less stringent and admit 
more in the way of contrary evidence. As a case in point, consider 
the evolutionary hypothesis. Today, perhaps, many scientists would 
consider it "proved" but certainly this was not always so. In 1800 
the objective--I would say scientific--evidence seemed strongly 
to favor the "design" hypothesis, i.e. creationism, though by now, 
with more and better evidence, we reach a different conclusion.

Mike Perry

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