Re: Data & Predictions (was: "The Fourth Turning" - A Must Read)

Lee Daniel Crocker (
Fri, 14 Mar 1997 23:01:39 -0800 (PST)

> Strauss & Howe's theories can clearly be tested against statistics
> as quantifiable as that. For example, opinion polls that measure
> how protective U.S. adults feel about children should, if Strauss &
> Howe are correct, show an increase in protective attitudes over the
> 1982-2003 period and a decrease from about 2030 to 2050.

If they have done such research--and to be statistically valid,
announced publicly the research they intended to do before they
actually did it--then putting those numbers somewhere on their
Web site can only strengthen their theories, and they have no
reason no to do so. That's what Web sites are for--there are
no constraints on book size, audience level, marketing needs.
Since only those who go looking will find it, there's no reason
not to put up /everything/ that might help your case.

Their web site contains not one piece of verifiable information.
If they want to put it there, I'll go back and look at it.

> Note that the statistic you have adopted is so weak that creationism
> passes easily - any of those million species can be explained by the
> assertion that god designed them that way. (If you think evolution has
> provided anything more than a post-hoc rationalization of how those
> million species came to be, show me).

Freshly-constructed algorithms, with absolutely no programmed goals
other than existence, based on the underlying mechanisms of duplication,
mutation, and selection that we can observe today, exhibit the
phenomenon of adaptation in quite remarkable and unexpected ways.
This is not post-hoc, since the phenomenon emerged from something that
was not programmed to produce it, and the few simple instructions the
programs were given are directly obsevable, not postulated. It is a
waste of my time to repeat the whole case against the absolute idiocy
of creationism; Dawkins _Blind Watchmaker_ and a dozen other sources
do that quite competently. But I point this out to specifically
counter the question you asked.

> >your social theories to that test: if you postulate that some age
> >was "the age of heroes" or some such nonsense, show me that /everyone/
> >on the planet at that time fit some definable profile.
> I'll do that after you show that all of those millions of species
> are perfectly adapted to their environment. See how easy it is to
> attack straw men?

You mistinterpret my claim. To be precise, it is (1) Evolution is
quantitative, testable, and falsifiable. (2) Not one single fossil
falsifies it. I did not claim that (3) every fossil /confirms/ it,
or (4) that we understand how every feature of every species came
about. Nor do I, or does evolution, claim that (5) every feature of
every species is an adaptation. That's nonsense; any engineer knows
that mamy features of even the most carefully designed systems are
historical accidents.

Creationism, as you correctly point out, passes test (2), but then
so does every other theory. That's why you need to add (1) for a
theory to be meaningful, otherwise it's not even a valid hypothesis.
You can attack (3) through (5) all you like.

Lee Daniel Crocker <>