[SydPhil] Notification: John Huss @ Thu 29 Nov 2018 15:00 - 16:30 (AEDT) (Current Projects)

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Wed Nov 28 15:00:00 AEDT 2018

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Title: John Huss
Rocks, clocks, and robustness: evidential integration and timescale  

The geologic timescale is a relative timescale based on physical and  
biological sequences and discontinuities in the rock record thought to  
record events in the history of the earth and of life.  In some sense going  
beyond relative dating, absolute dating of rocks, fossils, and evolutionary  
events (such as branching events on the tree of life) can be accomplished  
through the use of radiometric dating, chronological signals extractable  
from fossil growth patterns, astrochronology, and the “molecular clock.”   
Sometimes these different methods, which start from largely independent  
assumptions and evidentiary bases, converge in their temporal estimates,  
resulting in a consilience of inductions.  At other times they fail to  
agree, either because fossils and molecules are giving temporal information  
about different aspects of nature and should not be expected to agree, or  
because of flawed assumptions that give rise to an inaccurate estimate. The  
dispute over which kinds of evidence are more reliable is sometimes called  
the “rocks vs. clocks debate.”  I argue that, despite the fact that it can  
be difficult to integrate disparate kinds of evidence, the principle of  
total evidence should be applied to the dating of evolutionary events. One  
complication, however, is that various putatively independent lines of  
evidence for the dating of past events have had their independence  
compromised in the way that dating methods are calibrated, resulting in  
pseudorobustness. I propose a return to the robustness analysis of William  
Wimsatt which emphasizes learning from failures of robustness in the  
ongoing effort to improve method.

When: Thu 29 Nov 2018 15:00 – 16:30 Eastern Australia Time - Sydney
Calendar: Current Projects
     * Kristie Miller- creator

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