Thursday, October 20, 2005

What is science?

Meanwhile, down in Harrisburg, PA, they are still debating in court the definition of science, as if that will make the slightest difference as to how scientists ply their trade. The always entertaining intelligent design enthusiast Michael Behe admits to being comfortable with a definition of science so broad as to make astrology also a candidate for our public school science classrooms.

Here is my litmus test for science.

In the October 7 issue of Science, the weekly journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Robin Allshire, of the prestigious Wellcome Trust Centre for Cell Biology at the University of Edinburgh, offers a retraction for a paper previously published in the journal, titled "Hairpin RNAs and retrotransponson LTRs effect RNAi and chromatin-based gene silencing." He admits that his laboratory and others have been unable to reproduce the results reported in the paper.

When we see the first peer-reviewed experimental data supporting intelligent design or astrology that is reproducible in other laboratories by skeptics and believers alike, then these hypotheses can make a legitimate claim to being sciences.

When we see the first published retraction, we will know that intelligent design or astrology has reached maturity as a science.

It's as simple as that.