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Tag Archive | "physical evidence"

Solar Eclipse and Science Credibility

Ranger Steve Mueller

By Ranger Steve Mueller


The enduring credibility of a scientist depends on the ability to remain vigilant in using physical evidence that supports conclusions. People often prefer to accept what they desire to believe rather than what is supported by physical evidence. Science is not about belief but requires physical evidence for determining acceptability.

Scientific conclusions are tested and modified to improve accuracy. Many people are not clear on scientific process. People expect that when a reputable scientist has made a conclusion, the conclusion is unchanging. That is not how science works. Science is self-correcting in the sense that continued research brings new information to light that modifies original conclusions. Faulty aspects are replaced to improve conclusions.

The advent of DNA and mRNA testing added a new dimension to help scientists draw more accurate conclusions. The new species of moth I discovered, Grammia brillians (Brilliant Virgin Tiger Moth), was beyond my resources and knowledge for accurate identification. The specimens collected did not fit any known species. My conclusion to species was tentative and later modified.

Help from scientific specialists was essential. Two of three scientists familiar with the Genus were contacted but were unable to identify it. A third took the specimens for intensive study. His specialty was the Genus Grammia and he did not recognize the specimens provided. He studied details of physical appearance (phenotypic characters). Phenotype helps distinguish species but some have nearly identical appearance.

He conducted genitalia dissection because characteristics have distinctive features often referred to as “lock and key.” The male and female genitalia often develop adaptations that only allow individuals of the same species to mate. Evolution is in progress so closely related species still transforming to new species sometimes mate to produce individuals with poor offspring survival. Behavior is important to prevent developing species from mating but that is a detailed nature niche separation subject of its own.

Lastly, he used the tools for conducting DNA sequencing to compare Grammia species. Based on the three forms of physical evidence, he recognized why I could not identify the individuals to species. They belonged to an unknown species and he named it.

Many people choose to be selective about what supported evidence they will accept based on what they desire to believe. Most people have come to accept that the Earth is not the center of the universe. They understand we can determine when the positions of solar bodies will produce the next solar eclipse. Some are still unwilling to accept physical evidence regarding climate change, for how our existence developed through evolutionary adaptation, or that the Earth has been present for nearly 5 billion years.

Scientists do not have the luxury of choosing to accept only what they desire to believe. Selectively choosing to ignore physical evidence undermines scientific credibility. Most observations Copernicus made in the 1400’s concerned eclipses, alignments, and conjunctions of planets and stars. He refused to recant physical evidence supporting the Earth goes around the sun instead of the sun going around the Earth. That resulted in his being placed under house arrest for the remainder of his life. His vigilance for the integrity of scientific physical evidence allowed us to understand the solar system. It led to accurately predicting the timing of solar eclipses.

Whether it is the position of solar bodies, atmospheric climate change, or evolution of species, scientists are vigilant in using physical evidence for understanding how nature niches develop and function. Scientific evidence is currently being censored by political directives to stop government agencies from sharing physical evidence to prevent agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency from being open with research findings. It is similar to what occurred in the 1400’s. Encourage people to remain vigilant like Copernicus against the claim today that science is “fake news.” Science has a self-correcting process for maintaining credibility.

Natural history questions or topic suggestions can be directed to Ranger Steve (Mueller) at odybrook@chartermi.net – Ody Brook Nature Sanctuary, 13010 Northland Dr. Cedar Springs, MI 49319 or call 616-696-1753.

Posted in Outdoors, Ranger Steve's Nature NicheComments (0)

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