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Thread: A theory -proof and falsification

  1. #1 A theory -proof and falsification 
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    Intended as a bit of entertainment :

    It struck me that one one hand we say that a theory stays worthy of persuing it as long as it cannot be falsified.But on the other hand we say that a proposed theory must be accompanied by proof.




    For instance the claim 'pink unicorns exist on the other side of the galaxy' :


    >Not falsified as yet, so strictly speaking worthy of persuing further ?
    >Not proven, so not acceptable ?




    How should we treat this ?


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  3. #2  
    Forum Professor scoobydoo1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noa Drake View Post
    How should we treat this ?
    That depends, are we speaking of a scientific theory?


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  4. #3  
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    It's not worth pursuing unless it can be used to explain some observed facts.
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  5. #4  
    Life-Size Nanoputian Flick Montana's Avatar
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    You're taking an absurdly literal approach to your definition of a worthwhile theory. Science is not without common sense and reasoned judgment.
    "Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." -Calvin
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  6. #5  
    Moderator Moderator Markus Hanke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noa Drake View Post
    It struck me that one one hand we say that a theory stays worthy of persuing it as long as it cannot be falsified.
    I think it is much better to stick to all steps of the scientific method :

    1. Formulate a question based on an empirical observation.
    2. Formulate a hypothesis or theory as to how the question can be answered
    3. Determine the consequences and predictions of the hypothesis/theory
    4. Compare the predictions against experiment and observation
    5. Analyse the outcome - reject/amend/advance the theory as required

    The example of the pink unicorn would fail (1), because there is no scientifically valid question ( that I can think of ) which can be answered by there being a pink unicorn on the other side of the galaxy; this renders (2)-(5) irrelevant right from the outset.
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  7. #6  
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    Ok, so that is why it is harder to defend a hypothesis on something that has not been observed,
    because such a protocol would not fit into the scientific method.
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  8. #7  
    Genius Duck Moderator Dywyddyr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Markus Hanke View Post
    The example of the pink unicorn would fail (1), because there is no scientifically valid question ( that I can think of ) which can be answered by there being a pink unicorn on the other side of the galaxy
    Maybe pink unicorns on the other side of the galaxy are responsible for the generation of ridiculous questions on science fora.
    "[Dywyddyr] makes a grumpy bastard like me seem like a happy go lucky scamp" - PhDemon
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  9. #8  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Markus Hanke View Post
    The example of the pink unicorn would fail (1), because there is no scientifically valid question ( that I can think of ) which can be answered by there being a pink unicorn on the other side of the galaxy
    Maybe pink unicorns on the other side of the galaxy are responsible for the generation of ridiculous questions on science fora.
    Have you noticed it is usually atheists that start talking of "pink unicorns" or "flying spaghetti monsters" first on the fora?
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  10. #9  
    Genius Duck Moderator Dywyddyr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robittybob1 View Post
    Have you noticed it is usually atheists that start talking of "pink unicorns" or "flying spaghetti monsters" first on the fora?
    No I hadn't noticed that.
    But I did notice that
    A) your post is an irrelevancy, and
    B) it contributes nothing to the discussion.
    "[Dywyddyr] makes a grumpy bastard like me seem like a happy go lucky scamp" - PhDemon
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  11. #10  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Robittybob1 View Post
    Have you noticed it is usually atheists that start talking of "pink unicorns" or "flying spaghetti monsters" first on the fora?
    No I hadn't noticed that.
    But I did notice that
    A) your post is an irrelevancy, and
    B) it contributes nothing to the discussion.
    It was an observation so there might have a scientific reason for its occurrence.

    Was my comment any less relevant than your post? A theory -proof and falsification
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  12. #11  
    Bullshit Intolerant PhDemon's Avatar
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    Yep, the explanation is "you're a loon who post irrelevant toss".
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  13. #12  
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhDemon View Post
    Yep, the explanation is "you're a loon who post irrelevant toss".
    Unproven conjecture.
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  14. #13  
    Bullshit Intolerant PhDemon's Avatar
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    Anyone who has read any of your "contributions" to the forum have all the support they need. The fact you have been asked not to post in the serious sections of the forum (that only happens to REAL loons) is further support.
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  15. #14  
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhDemon View Post
    Anyone who has read any of your "contributions" to the forum have all the support they need. The fact you have been asked not to post in the serious sections of the forum (that only happens to REAL loons) is further support.
    When you guys start talking about pink unicorns are you being serious?
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  16. #15  
    Bullshit Intolerant PhDemon's Avatar
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    No, it's usually a parody of the woolly minded woo spouted by you and your ilk to highlight the bloody daftness...
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  17. #16  
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhDemon View Post
    No, it's usually a parody of the woolly minded woo spouted by you and your ilk to highlight the bloody daftness...
    That can't be the case in this thread for I hadn't said anything till I made my comment, but the validity of pink unicorns were already being discussed. So it is not me.
    In fact "Pink Unicorns " are mentioned in the OP.
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  18. #17  
    Bullshit Intolerant PhDemon's Avatar
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    Look up the meaning of the word "usually", as for this thread ask Noa, I'm guessing it's been used in the way I suggested in another thread and he's using it as an example here.
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  19. #18  
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhDemon View Post
    Look up the meaning of the word "usually", as for this thread ask Noa, I'm guessing it's been used in the way I suggested in another thread and he's using it as an example here.
    I know what "usually " means that is why I said "Have you noticed it is usually atheists that start talking of "pink unicorns" or "flying spaghetti monsters" first on the fora?
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  20. #19  
    Bullshit Intolerant PhDemon's Avatar
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    That's no real indicator, you use a lot of words you've shown you don't understand in your crank threads...
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  21. #20  
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhDemon View Post
    That's no real indicator, you use a lot of words you've shown you don't understand in your crank threads...
    Google, online dictionaries and Wikipedia help me out every day. I'm learning every moment of the day.

    The words of Noa Drake "Intended as a bit of entertainment". lol

    And Markus' scientific method steps, Step "
    1. Formulate a question based on an empirical observation."
    Last edited by Robittybob1; July 26th, 2014 at 02:35 PM.
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  22. #21  
    Moderator Moderator Markus Hanke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noa Drake View Post
    Ok, so that is why it is harder to defend a hypothesis on something that has not been observed,
    because such a protocol would not fit into the scientific method.
    Yes, that's pretty much the idea. And it's also the main purpose of the scientific method - it serves as an objective means to validate ideas against the real universe. It's not really about proofs and falsifications, it is about the question of how well a particular model/theory fits empirical data ( = the real world ). Take for example GR - a lot of people have an issue with this model because it is highly counter-intuitive in many respects; however, if we subject it to the scientific method we find that it is a very good ( albeit incomplete ) model of gravitation, since it passes all the steps starting with the simple question of how things in free fall behave.
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  23. #22  
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    On 'axiom', I often find it worthy to look up the etymology of the subjetc of discussion. The Wiki page linked in some post way above, says ..

    The word "axiom" comes from the Greek word ἀξίωμα (axioma), a verbal noun from the verb ἀξιόειν (axioein), meaning "to deem worthy", but also "to require", which in turn comes from ἄξιος (axios), meaning "being in balance", and hence "having (the same) value (as)", "worthy", "proper". Among the ancient Greek philosophers an axiom was a claim which could be seen to be true without any need for proof.
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