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Darwin-L Message Log 5:62 (January 1994)

Academic Discussion on the History and Theory of the Historical Sciences

This is one message from the Archives of Darwin-L (1993–1997), a professional discussion group on the history and theory of the historical sciences.

Note: Additional publications on evolution and the historical sciences by the Darwin-L list owner are available on SSRN.


<5:62>From BOTCFNR@vm.uni-c.dk  Tue Jan 11 18:52:54 1994

Date: Wed, 12 Jan 94 01:11:30 DNT
From: Finn Rasmussen <BOTCFNR@vm.uni-c.dk>
Subject: Fantastics and parsimony
To: Darwin-L@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu

David K Hill wrote that it is wrong that the most parsimonious explanations
are also the least fantastic. OK, - I actually mentioned the heliocentric
world view as an exception. I would still think that it works as a rule  of
thumb. The "established scientific" explanations of various phenomena are
often a good deal more parsimonius than the alternatives suggested by popu-
lar fantasy writers. But it is of course difficult for the readers to decide
if von Daeneken is a new Copernicus or just another crank.
  The reason why I think that political/religious analogy is a more dangerous
source of inspiration is that it make people wish that one particular expla-
ation is true, rather than just wishing to know a parsimonious explanation.
  May be some the historically oriented list members can explain what was at
the core of the heliocentric/geocentric world view controversy.
                Finn Rasmussen, Botanical Lab, Copenhagen.

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