Re: Patriarchy: Re: What Matriarchy?

Bryant (
16 Aug 1996 10:05:26 -0600

In article <>, @#$%!?! <> wrote:
>Bryant said:
>: Here are my supposedly inconsistent statements:
>: 1. Science makes no claim to absolute Truth.
>: 2. Scientific methods better "approximate" reality than non-hypothesis
>: testing ways of knowing.

>How do you measure better or poorer approximations without reference to
>some absolute truth?

Nice question. I think that varying degrees of confidence, never
reaching the Absolutely Positive stage, can be achieved by testing the
predictive power of a model/hypothesis. If your model doesn't help you
predict how a system (or components of a system) work, it deserves
relatively little of your confidence.

An example I'm probably over-using in this thread is that the better we
understand the biochemistry, genetics, ecology, and vector ecology of a
virus (for instance), the better we can predict how to stop an epidemic.
An ecologist in Bolivia stopped the Machupo epidemic in one village with
mousetraps (in the 1960s), for instance.

A model with predictions which are consistently contradicted by evidence
(e.g., that the universe is geocentric, that the earth is flat, that
evolution doesn't occur, that the earth is 4000 years old, etc.) has less
of my appreciation than a system that predicts correctly (e.g., mousetraps
will stop mice from spreading Machupo with virus-contaminated urine).

But that's a long, long shot from my saying that We Know Everything or
even that We Can Know Everything.

Cheers, Bryant