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Are Scientific Models of Life Testable? A Lesson from Simpson’s Paradox

Bandyopadhyay, Prasanta S. and Grunska, Nolan and Dcruz, Don and Greenwood, Mark (2019) Are Scientific Models of Life Testable? A Lesson from Simpson’s Paradox. Sci, 1 (2). ISSN 2413-4155

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Abstract

We address the need for a model by considering two competing theories regarding the origin of life: (i) the Metabolism First theory and (ii) the RNA World theory. We discuss two inter-related points. (I) Models are valuable tools in understanding both the processes and intricacies of the origin of life issues. (II) Insights from models also help us to evaluate the core objection to origin of life theories
called “the inefficiency objection” commonly raised by proponents of both the Metabolism First theory and the RNA World theory against each other. We use Simpson’s paradox as a tool for challenging this objection. We will use models in various senses ranging from taking them as representations of reality to treating them as theories/accounts that provide heuristics for probing reality. In this paper,
we will frequently use models and theories interchangeably. Additionally, we investigate Conway’s Game of Life and contrast it with our Simpson’s Paradox (SP)-based approach to emergence of life issues. Finally, we discuss some of the consequences of our view. A scientific model is testable
in three senses: (i) a logical sense, (ii) a nomological sense, and (iii) a current technological sense. The SP-based model is testable in the logical sense. It is also testable nomologically. However, it is not currently feasible to test it.


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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Bandyopadhyay, Prasanta S.psb@montana.edu
Grunska, Nolanngrunska@gmail.com
Dcruz, Dondonwallacedcruz@gmail.com0000-0001-8209-0502
Greenwood, Markgreenwood@montana.edu
Keywords: emergence of life; game of life; inefficiency objection; simpson’s paradox; astrobiology
Subjects: General Issues > Confirmation/Induction
Depositing User: Don Dcruz
Date Deposited: 15 Nov 2019 00:35
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2019 00:35
Item ID: 16627
Journal or Publication Title: Sci
Publisher: MDPI
Official URL: https://www.mdpi.com/535574
DOI or Unique Handle: https://doi.org/10.3390/sci1020054
Subjects: General Issues > Confirmation/Induction
Date: 16 September 2019
Volume: 1
Number: 2
ISSN: 2413-4155
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/16627

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