n. A scientific endeavoursuch as a computer simulation of a biological processthat does not take into account real-world constraints such as chemical or biological data.
A decade ago, artificial ife was criticised by the evolutionary biologist John Maynard Smith as being a "fact-free science", but the recent leaps forward mean that it is belatedly being accepted into the scientific mainstream.
Biochemist Michael Behe calls evolution fact-free science. That describes the Gazette's editorial page, which conducts a fact-free inquisition against all the unconverted (to evolutionary theory) week after week.
I discuss below a particular example of a dynamic system—Turing's morphogenetic waves—which gives rise to just the kind of structure that, as a biologist, I want to see. But first I must explain why I have a general feeling of unease when contemplating complex systems dynamics. Its devotees are practicing fact-free science. A fact for them is, at best, the output of a computer simulation: it is rarely a fact about the world.