Falsification

Quote One

From At Scientific American: Falsifiability in science is a myth

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Well, some people, including this theoretical physicist, must sure be hoping it is:

The second is that this knowledge equips people to better argue against antiscience forces that use the same strategy over and over again, whether it is about the dangers of tobacco, climate change, vaccinations or evolution. Their goal is to exploit the slivers of doubt and discrepant results that always exist in science in order to challenge the consensus views of scientific experts. They fund and report their own results that go counter to the scientific consensus in this or that narrow area and then argue that they have falsified the consensus. In their book Merchants of Doubt, historians Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway say that for these groups “[t]he goal was to fight science with science—or at least with the gaps and uncertainties in existing science, and with scientific research that could be used to deflect attention from the main event.”

Science studies provide supporters of science with better arguments to combat these critics, by showing that the strength of scientific conclusions arises because credible experts use comprehensive bodies of evidence to arrive at consensus judgments about whether a theory should be retained or rejected in favor of a new one.

Mano Singam, “The Idea That a Scientific Theory Can Be ‘Falsified’ Is a Myth” at Scientific American

There is nothing new about comprehensive bodies of evidence backed by overwhelming consensus being flat-out riddled with errors and misunderstandings, and therefore mostly wrong.

If propositions in science cannot be falsified by evidence, they aren’t propositions in science. They are simply things many scientists believe for a variety of reasons.

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Quote Two

From Laszlo Bencze on the claim that falsifiability in science is a “myth”

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A myth? What a boon to layabouts in string theory that would be!

Our philosopher and photographer friend Laszlo Bencze kindly writes to point out,

Don’t know about String theory but the multiverse theory is definitely a metaphysical speculation. It is no kind of science and most certainly not a scientific theory for the simple reason that the multiverse is by definition unobservable. All those other supposed universes have no connecting point with our own. We might as well be talking about Valhalla or Hades which are likewise metaphysical suppositions.

“A theory is to be called ‘empirical’ or ‘falsifiable’ if it divides the class of all possible basic statements unambiguously into the following two non-empty subclasses. First, the class of all those with which it is inconsistent (or which it rules out, or prohibits): we call this the class of the potential falsifiers of the theory; and secondly, the class of those basic statements which it does not contradict (or which it ‘permits’). We can put this more briefly by saying: a theory is falsifiable if the class of its potential falsifiers is not empty. —The Logic of Scientific Discovery, Karl Popper, p. 82 – 83 “

Multiverse theory has no falsifiers. It excludes nothing. No potential fact of existence can falsify it. By contrast Relativity has plenty of falsifiers: Something exceeding the speed of light, gravity having no effect on the flow of time, apparent time not slowing down as the speed of light is approached. Any of these will do.

Laszlo, so far as some of us can see, string theory is a phase in science that has gotten over the need for evidence. And the multiverse is the death of evidence.

See also: At Scientific American: Falsifiability in science is a myth. If propositions in science cannot be falsified by evidence, they aren’t propositions in science. They are simply things many scientists believe for a variety of reasons.

and

Falsifiability is overrated, cosmologists say. Many cosmologists don’t like Karl Popper’s concept of falsifiability because it gets in the way of simply assuming that concepts like string theory and the multiverse are correct because, well, because they just must be. Many would like to loosen the concept of falsifiability to allow for such cool but unfalsifiable concepts in science.

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Summary

It will be highly amusing, if Christianity not only becomes the only intellectual tradition rooted in objectivity — “No, you don’t get to be a man just because you said you are.” — but which recognizes the importance of falsifiability too.

Primarily, because we self-consciously recognize that some things we believe in are based on faith: “The man Jesus Christ is the Son of God”, or “God will give eternal life to those who believe in His Son”. True, even reasonable and logical, but not provable at this point in time… and so, not falsifiable, scientific statements at this moment.

Secularists & atheists can’t bear to say this about their unprovable core beliefs, so they are going to dispose of falsifiability (!) in order to keep the power of their sacred white lab coats.

How long will it take, for those sparkling white lab coats to get dingy grey, with hardly any authority at all? I’ll say two generations, possibly just one.

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