Preprint Hypothesis Version 1 This version is not peer-reviewed

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

Version 1 : Received: 22 August 2019 / Approved: 29 August 2019 / Online: 16 September 2019 (00:00:00 CEST)
Version 2 : Received: 22 August 2019 / Approved: 29 August 2019 / Online: 18 September 2020 (00:00:00 CEST)

How to cite: Bandyopadhyay, P.S.; Grunska, N.; Dcruz, D.; Greenwood, M.C. Are Scientific Models of Life Testable? A Lesson from Simpson’s Paradox. Preprints 2020, 2020110095 (doi: 10.3390/sci1020054). Bandyopadhyay, P.S.; Grunska, N.; Dcruz, D.; Greenwood, M.C. Are Scientific Models of Life Testable? A Lesson from Simpson’s Paradox. Preprints 2020, 2020110095 (doi: 10.3390/sci1020054).

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.

Subject Areas

emergence of life; game of life; inefficiency objection; simpson’s paradox; astrobiology

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