Re: Bipedalism and theorizing... was Re: Morgan and creationists

Thomas Clarke (
8 Jul 1996 12:43:12 GMT

In article <4r7cus$> (david l
burkhead) writes:
> In article <>

> >> Copernicus may be "universally recognized" for something in the
> >> popular mind, but that doesn't mean he contributed anything of value
> >> to the scientific community.

> >This is an utterly fatuous statement. You'll find no backing from any
> >astronomer.

> <no one> considers Copernicus' work of any real _scientific_
> (in astronomy) value. It was not until Galileo and Kepler came along
> that any real progress was made in that field, and their work swiftly
> became the standard among the scientific community for one simple
> reason--they fit the data better, and more simply, than competing
> theories.

My what a rich load of debate this post is. Over the weekend
I addressed a point concerning Wegner, now that I have my mouse-driven
newsreader at hand, I find a similar point in the above snippet.

There is a good parallel here with the Wegener debate.
David Burkhead seems to consider mechanism essential to science.
Without a good mechanism - like Wegener, like Copernicus -
you are not doing science.

I guess that this is a valid position, but then I think
Mr. Burkhead for consistency would have to say that
Darwin was not doing science. After all Darwin did not
have a mechanism for how variation and selection operated.
He could only point to animal breeding as a kind of analogy, but
no one even understood how animal breeding worked in Darwin's day.
It wasn't until decades later that he work of Mendel began to
elucidate the mechnisms of heredity.

Returning to Copernicus, he said the earth moved, just as Wegener
said the continents moved, and ust as Darwin said that species were
not constant - they moved. Once the possiblity, the probability
of the earth's motion was admitted then others - Galileo, Kepler etc
were freed to find mechanisms for the motion.

Tom Clarke