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A wonderful statement by Jay Melosh in a recent interview with Physics Today. It really underscores the approach of much of the research presented in this blog; just replace “physics” with “biology” or “ecology”. And while Melosh is a master of planetary geology and hence the history of the Solar System, we’re dealing here with evolution and the histories of species and ecosystems. Okay, here’s the quote:

Computer modeling, of course, plays a big role in evaluating the consequences of different hypotheses, which we then compare to observations. While the physics of an individual process may be simple, Nature is messy and computers are one of our principal tools for combining simple processes into the complex fabrics necessary to mimic observations and thus either validate or refute different hypotheses about what we see.