Re: Hyperthesis

Forrest Bishop (
Tue, 5 Aug 1997 13:53:14 -0500 (CDT)

[[Thom Quinn wrote:

I would love some feedback--the following is being published in this
months Evolutionary Theory. Sorry for cross-postings.

[[The abstract or the entire paper?]]

Thom Quinn

Hyperthesis: a new classification for qualitative scientific concepts
that are supported by overwhelming evidence

Scientific concepts are arranged within a flexible hierarchy
rigidly evaluated via the scientific method. The three main classes for
scientific explanations are hypotheses, theories, and laws. Although
scientific concepts are accepted on a provisional basis, the theory of
natural selection via differential reproduction is the highest regarded
concept in the life sciences because so many lines of modern evidence
support it. In fact, the revised, neodarwinian theory of natural
selection provides the intellectual backdrop for current biological
thought and research.

[[[You might mention that subsets of the Modern Synthesis
fuel or contribute to several rapidly growing hard engineering
evolveable hardware/software, memetics,distributed computation and

Unlike physics, scientific laws are rare in
biology because the complexities of living systems are not easily
reduced into simple rules or elegant formulas; therefore, qualitative
concepts like natural selection will never be replaced by any general,
mathematical Law of Evolution.

[[Um, isn’t *Evolutionary Therory* a journal with mathematical models
of various life system processes? Perhaps a general model is not
but the restricted problems might deserve mention.]]

Unfortunately, the term "theory" in
colloquial English also refers to an unproved idea that is likely wild
speculation, false conjecture, or pure fantasy. As a result, many
non-scientists, laypeople, and creationists misuse the word "theory" to
suggest that natural selection and other valid concepts might be
scientifically unsound.

[[Just so. The Third International list “imaginative contemplation”
and “belief” as first and second definitions of “theory”. Only in #3
and #4
are scientific definitions aired, which incidentally take up 2/3 of the
and require much more dedication to fathom.
Definition #5 is ...”something taken for granted esp. on trivial or
inadequate grounds...”.]]

Since the theory of natural selection is the
keystone principle of biology, there should be no discrepancy between
the general public and the scientific community on how important and
useful the concept of natural selection actually is.

[[This presumes a sanity and competency of the GP.]]

Therefore, I
propose the hyperthesis (Gr. hyper, above + tithenai, to put), a new
classification for scientific concepts which would currently be ranked
as well supported, qualitative theories.

[[A fair enough neologism, but it may lack market appeal (cf memetic
Do you have a list of snappier alternatives?

Forrest Bishop
Institute of Atomic-Scale Engineering