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The cosmologist, who would also be a scientist, must surely subscribe to at least the following assumptions:

  1. ``Speculations are not made which cannot, at least in principle, be compared with observational or experimental data, for tests'' [the NON-THEOLOGICAL assumption].

  2. ``The portion of the Universe susceptible to observation is representative of the cosmos as a whole''. [The `GOOD LUCK' assumption].

  3. ``The Universe was constructed using a significantly lower number of free parameters than the number of clean and independent observations we can make of it''. [The `SIMPLICITY' assumption].

  4. ``The Laws of Physics which have significantly controlled the Universe since the beginning are, or can be, known to us from considerations outside cosmology itself i.e. we can somehow know the laws which operated during the 56/60 electromagnetically opaque decades''. [The `NON-CIRCULARITY' assumption].

    Finally the really wishful cosmologist who believes the final answers are just around the corner must confess to the following extra creed:

  5. ``We live in the first human epoch which possesses the technical means to tease out the crucial observations''. (As opposed to Hipparcos and parallax, Helmholz and the age of the Earth, Wegener and palaeomagnetic drift) [The `FORTUNATE EPOCH' assumption.]

I can see very little evidence to support any of the last 4 assumptions while it is dismaying to find that some cosmologists, who would like to think of themselves as scientific, are quite willing to abrogate the first.

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