15. November 2009 at 18:17
“I just have no way of evaluating those proposals, as I am not trained in evaluating scientific evidence outside economics.”
You are trained in the use of certain tools. You do have a way.
1. Being highly skilled in statistics and quantitative measures you can test in a semi-formal way, better than myself, the implausibility of events being entirely independent.
2. Having first hand experience of academic life you ought to know that we can never favour incumbent paradigms. that ought to be the lesson of Hans Kuhns sociologically accurate study of the progress of science. Unfortunately everyone else, and perhaps Hans himself, appeared to have missed the point.
3. It is not necessary to have the final word or even a working hypothesis on physics to know that reification is unacceptable in science. And that Newton did not find the cause of gravity. Hence we at least know what we don’t know. I say this consciously copying the great philosophical statement of your former secretary of defense. That should be on the walls of many business and philosophy departments. He may have made mistakes but he was a genius in some ways.
4. One observation of Newtons that has never been found to be suspect is that forces come in equal and opposite pairs. Hence if gravity is altered in any way it will be the force of inertia-under-acceleration that will replace gravity in the depths of a planet should gravity be reduced even a tiny amount for the smallest fraction of a second.
5. Supposing we take a non-occult view of gravity. No occult action at a distance. No occult reification. To take a non-occult view is to reject the mainstream. Gravity is balanced by the upward equal force of compression. And obviously this is a massive force. If we find anything out there in the universe that is correlated with coronal mass ejections and Supervolcanic reactions we ought to put two and two together. There is no sensible theory of gravity that could possibly go against this contention.
6. Since we do not have the proven theory we scramble around looking for the right scientific tools to be able to make some confident statements about this matter. Surely some tools are useful to make a judgement here.
7. Turns out Scott, that the best tools we have to assess this dinosaur asteroid business, once the rock polishers have given us their findings, is precisely the tools you were trained in. I am confident that a straight application of statistics, probability and quant. methods would tell us of the implausibility, of the terrible punishments to the dinosaurs, being not based on a single root cause.
**** Note. I’m sure you all spotted I got mixed up between Thomas Kuhn and someone else. And I called him Hans.