Criteria for IBE

Cisco Qid

Active member
I'm asking for your criteria. Maybe you don't understand what that means? It has to be some value or standard you can name independently of any specific theory, that you can then use to assess the quality of a theory being evaluated.

Here are some examples others have already given in the thread so far:
• Predictive power
• Falsifiability
• Parsimony
• Consistency (with existing knowledge and accepted theories)

What are your criteria for IBE?
I would add, explanatory ability of the event which would be foremost on the list.
 

Nouveau

Well-known member
I would add, explanatory ability of the event which would be foremost on the list.
The question is what makes one explanation better than another.

Don't you think 'explanatory ability' would need some unpacking to be of any actual use here?
 

Cisco Qid

Active member
The question is what makes one explanation better than another.

Don't you think 'explanatory ability' would need some unpacking to be of any actual use here?
If it can't explain then the theory can't be on the list - this makes it a vital criteria for any theory. For instance, a theory can be eliminated by further researched information that it is unable to explain. This falls outside falsifiability because the new information may not have been foreseen.
 

Nouveau

Well-known member
If it can't explain then the theory can't be on the list - this makes it a vital criteria for any theory. For instance, a theory can be eliminated by further researched information that it is unable to explain. This falls outside falsifiability because the new information may not have been foreseen.
I'm not denying that a good explanation has to be good at explaining. But you might as well say that we should evaluate athletes based on their athleticism, i.e. it's true but useless when it comes to providing the actual criteria by which it is to be judged.

I don't think a theory is worse for not being able to explain something unless that extra information falls within the scope of the theory. But perhaps you're driving at explanatory scope as a criterion? I.e. if one theory explains more phenomena than another then, all else being equal, the first theory is better than the second.
 
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Cisco Qid

Active member
I'm not denying that a good explanation has to be good at explaining. But you might as well say that we should evaluate athletes based on their athleticism, i.e. it's true but useless when it comes to providing the actual criteria by which it is to be judged.

I don't think a theory is worse for not being able to explain something unless that extra information falls within the scope of the theory. But perhaps you're driving at explanatory scope as a criterion? I.e. if one theory explains more phenomena than another then, all else being equal, the first theory is better than the second.
That's good, explanatory scope, I like that.
 

Nouveau

Well-known member
Cool. For further context and background, here are what others have said in regard to the criteria for theory evaluation.

Philosopher of science Thomas Kuhn listed five cognitive values that he thought made for a good scientific theory.
Accuracy, i.e. predictions in accordance with existing experiments.
Consistency, both with itself and with other accepted theories.
Breadth of scope, extending beyond what needs explaining.
Simplicity, bringing order to disparate phenomena.
Fruitfulness, for new research findings.

In the literature on IBE, Peter Lipton lists three 'explanatory virtues':
Unificatory power, precision, and elaboration of explanatory mechanisms.

Paul Thagard suggests three main criteria for his theory of explanatory coherence:
Explanatory breadth, i.e. explaining a greater range of facts.
Simplicity, i.e. making fewer special assumptions.
Analogy, i.e. similarity to other accepted credible explanations.

Thagard also details seven principles that he operationalizes for quantifying coherence:
Symmetry, i.e. coherence is symmetrical between propositions.
Explanation, i.e. propositions and their explanations cohere with each other.
Analogy, i.e. similar hypotheses explaining similar evidence cohere with each other.
Data priority, i.e. observations are acceptable on their own account.
Contradiction, i.e. contradictory propositions do not cohere.
Competition, i.e. unconnected explanations do not cohere.
Acceptance, i.e. acceptability of an explanation depends upon it's coherence with other accepted propositions.

From all of this, along with the other criteria already suggested in the thread, maybe you could decide what your preferred set of criteria for IBE would be, and we could then consider them in the context of abiogenesis and/or evolution vs ID?
 

Cisco Qid

Active member
Cool. For further context and background, here are what others have said in regard to the criteria for theory evaluation.

Philosopher of science Thomas Kuhn listed five cognitive values that he thought made for a good scientific theory.
Accuracy, i.e. predictions in accordance with existing experiments.
Consistency, both with itself and with other accepted theories.
Breadth of scope, extending beyond what needs explaining.
Simplicity, bringing order to disparate phenomena.
Fruitfulness, for new research findings.

In the literature on IBE, Peter Lipton lists three 'explanatory virtues':
Unificatory power, precision, and elaboration of explanatory mechanisms.

Paul Thagard suggests three main criteria for his theory of explanatory coherence:
Explanatory breadth, i.e. explaining a greater range of facts.
Simplicity, i.e. making fewer special assumptions.
Analogy, i.e. similarity to other accepted credible explanations.

Thagard also details seven principles that he operationalizes for quantifying coherence:
Symmetry, i.e. coherence is symmetrical between propositions.
Explanation, i.e. propositions and their explanations cohere with each other.
Analogy, i.e. similar hypotheses explaining similar evidence cohere with each other.
Data priority, i.e. observations are acceptable on their own account.
Contradiction, i.e. contradictory propositions do not cohere.
Competition, i.e. unconnected explanations do not cohere.
Acceptance, i.e. acceptability of an explanation depends upon it's coherence with other accepted propositions.

From all of this, along with the other criteria already suggested in the thread, maybe you could decide what your preferred set of criteria for IBE would be, and we could then consider them in the context of abiogenesis and/or evolution vs ID?
In the context of abiogenesis, there is no contention between evolution and ID. Evolution does not explain or even claim to explain abiogenesis but rather starts with life already in place and leaves abiogenesis for some other discipline.
 

Nouveau

Well-known member
In the context of abiogenesis, there is no contention between evolution and ID. Evolution does not explain or even claim to explain abiogenesis but rather starts with life already in place and leaves abiogenesis for some other discipline.
Yes, I know. That's why I said evolution vs ID or abiogenesis vs ID. I agree we should keep evolution and abiogenesis separate.
 

Cisco Qid

Active member
Yes, I know. That's why I said evolution vs ID or abiogenesis vs ID. I agree we should keep evolution and abiogenesis separate.
On a side note, abiogenesis is not a theory but rather the event that needs explaining. The law of biogenesis states that life only proceeds from life but we all know that this was violated at least once since we have organic life and it had to have had a beginning and therefore a cause. We are also aware that there exists no materialistic explanation for organic life or the DNA/RNA from which it proceeds. Where does that leave us in terms of the IBE?
 

Nouveau

Well-known member
On a side note, abiogenesis is not a theory but rather the event that needs explaining. The law of biogenesis states that life only proceeds from life but we all know that this was violated at least once since we have organic life and it had to have had a beginning and therefore a cause. We are also aware that there exists no materialistic explanation for organic life or the DNA/RNA from which it proceeds. Where does that leave us in terms of the IBE?
Could you choose your criteria before we get too far ahead of ourselves?
 

Cisco Qid

Active member
Could you choose your criteria before we get too far ahead of ourselves?
Can't we just use the criteria already built into IBE by Lipton and others who more qualified in its use than anyone here. And what good is criteria if you have nothing to eliminate? The only theory that claims to have an explanation for abigenesis is ID - there are no others. So you have no criteria that are applicable in this case.
 

Nouveau

Well-known member
Can't we just use the criteria already built into IBE by Lipton and others who more qualified in its use than anyone here. And what good is criteria if you have nothing to eliminate? The only theory that claims to have an explanation for abigenesis is ID - there are no others. So you have no criteria that are applicable in this case.
No, I'd rather you explicitly list the criteria that you think are important for theory evaluation. Then we can move forward on the same page.
 
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