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Prediction Is A Key Element Of

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Posted by Tim on October 1, 2003 01:47:52 UTC

the scientific method. in that it's part and parcel of the hypothesis the method needs before it goes on to the empirical step.

a theory though may or may not predict something and yet still have scientific value in that it can still provide understanding.

as an aside consider the stuff below.
quoting Stephen Hawking on predictability & science:

from:
http://www.hawking.org.uk/lectures/dice.html

"Does God Play Dice?"

"This lecture is about whether we can predict the future, or whether it is arbitrary and random"......
"To sum up, what I have been talking about, is whether the universe evolves in an arbitrary way, or whether it is deterministic. The classical view, put forward by Laplace, was that the future motion of particles was completely determined, if one knew their positions and speeds at one time. This view had to be modified, when Heisenberg put forward his Uncertainty Principle, which said that one could not know both the position, and the speed, accurately. However, it was still possible to predict one combination of position and speed. But even this limited predictability disappeared, when the effects of black holes were taken into account. The loss of particles and information down black holes meant that the particles that came out were random. One could calculate probabilities, but one could not make any definite predictions. Thus, the future of the universe is not completely determined by the laws of science, and its present state, as Laplace thought. God still has a few tricks up his sleeve."

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