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Is falsifiability concept scintific? (Read 3566 times)
freediver
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Re: Is falsifiability concept scintific?
Reply #15 - Dec 3rd, 2008 at 5:03pm
 
NorthOfNorth wrote on Dec 3rd, 2008 at 5:00pm:
freediver wrote on Dec 3rd, 2008 at 4:45pm:
I didn't intend to distinguish philosophy from sophism.

Oh, OK. Back to discussing Popper's theory of falsification, then?


Trying to, yes. Though I'm still not convinced that my argument is the same as Popper's. I'd also hesitate to call it a theory, given the current discussion.
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Re: Is falsifiability concept scintific?
Reply #16 - Dec 4th, 2008 at 1:55pm
 
How do you define life, and what does falisifiable mean?  Tongue Grin
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Re: Is falsifiability concept scintific?
Reply #17 - Dec 4th, 2008 at 2:21pm
 
?
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Re: Is falsifiability concept scintific?
Reply #18 - Dec 4th, 2008 at 2:35pm
 
muso wrote on Dec 4th, 2008 at 1:55pm:
How do you define life, and what does falisifiable mean?  Tongue Grin

Sounds like one of them 3:AM questions.
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Re: Is falsifiability concept scintific?
Reply #19 - Dec 4th, 2008 at 2:48pm
 
They are actually standard questions in biology and the philosophy of science. We covered them both in high school science.
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Re: Is falsifiability concept scintific?
Reply #20 - Dec 4th, 2008 at 2:56pm
 
freediver wrote on Dec 4th, 2008 at 2:48pm:
They are actually standard questions in biology and the philosophy of science. We covered them both in high school science.

Waall that depends on whether or not you're asking an existential question.
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Re: Is falsifiability concept scintific?
Reply #21 - Dec 4th, 2008 at 3:49pm
 
Wiki http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falsifiability
Quote:
Falsifiability (or "refutability") is the logical possibility that an assertion can be shown false by an observation or a physical experiment. That something is "falsifiable" does not mean it is false; rather, that if it is false, then this can be shown by observation or experiment. Falsifiability is an important concept in science and the philosophy of science. The term "Testability" is related but more specific; it means that an assertion can be falsified through experimentation alone.

Some philosophers and scientists, most notably Karl Popper, have asserted that a hypothesis, proposition, or theory is scientific only if it is falsifiable.


So what is it if it is not falsifiable ?.

Did Popper assume that there were no ultimate answers. Did he build into his statement a presupposed metaphysical elusiveness that did not allow the acceptance of a truth.

Surely it is also logical to extend this to include arriving at the final logical conclusion that being immutably correct and unfalsifiable, is no longer a theory but a truth.

Is that what you are saying FD, that Evolution is a truth. I'll go out on a limb and say I believe it to be such. The mechanisms at work that create the variety of life that has, does and will exist may be refined or exchanged for better mechanisms but Evolution is simply the title of the study of these mechanics. The same as Space Travel is the title of the mechanics of space travel.
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« Last Edit: Dec 4th, 2008 at 3:59pm by locutius »  

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Re: Is falsifiability concept scintific?
Reply #22 - Dec 4th, 2008 at 3:56pm
 
I am trying to avoid saying whether evolution is truth. That issue seems to distract people from the question of whether it is a scientific theory, to the extent that they will simply assume you are saying it is true or untrue, or at least insist that is a hidden motivation.
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Re: Is falsifiability concept scintific?
Reply #23 - Dec 4th, 2008 at 4:23pm
 
The problem with that tact though is that people percieve you to be saying that it is just mysticism when saying that it is not a scientific theory.

It is one of the most extraordinary scientific discoveries of all time. Epiphanous in the pursuit of reason and knowledge without negatively exposing or contradicting religious belief in my opinion, or Darwin's for that matter. He also wrote beautifully. The final chapter of ORIGINS is stunning.

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It is interesting to contemplate an entangled bank, clothed with many plants of many kinds, with birds singing on the bushes, with various insects flitting about, and with worms crawling through the damp earth, and to reflect that these elaborately constructed forms, so different from each other, and dependent on each other in so complex a manner, have all been produced by laws acting around us. These laws, taken in the largest sense, being Growth with Reproduction; inheritance which is almost implied by reproduction; Variability from the indirect and direct action of the external conditions of life, and from use and disuse; a Ratio of Increase so high as to lead to a Struggle for Life, and as a consequence to Natural Selection, entailing Divergence of Character and the Extinction of less-improved forms. Thus, from the war of nature, from famine and death, the most exalted object which we are capable of conceiving, namely, the production of the higher animals, directly follows. There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.

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Re: Is falsifiability concept scintific?
Reply #24 - Dec 4th, 2008 at 4:38pm
 
Quote:
The problem with that tact though is that people percieve you to be saying that it is just mysticism when saying that it is not a scientific theory.


What else am I supposed to do? I point out all the time when people misinterpret my argument.
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Re: Is falsifiability concept scintific?
Reply #25 - Dec 5th, 2008 at 1:17pm
 
I found this and it is what I was driving at yesterday but probably put better.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolution_as_theory_and_fact

Quote:
The potentially confusing statement that "evolution is both a theory and a fact" is frequently seen in biological literature. The point of this statement is to distinguish the two meanings of evolution. First, the "fact of evolution", the observed changes in populations of organisms over time. Second, a shortcut for the "theory of evolution", namely the modern evolutionary synthesis, which is the current scientific explanation for why these changes occur. Which meaning of evolution is intended, if it is not explicit, can be discerned by the context.



Quote:
Fact
Fact is often used by scientists to refer to experimental data or objective verifiable observations. "Fact" is also used in a wider sense to mean any hypothesis for which there is overwhelming evidence.

Evolution is a fact in the sense of it being overwhelmingly validated by the evidence. Frequently evolution is said to be a fact in the same way as the Earth revolving around the Sun is a fact. The following quotation from H. J. Muller, "One Hundred Years Without Darwin Are Enough" explains the point.

There is no sharp line between speculation, hypothesis, theory, principle, and fact, but only a difference along a sliding scale, in the degree of probability of the idea. When we say a thing is a fact, then, we only mean that its probability is an extremely high one: so high that we are not bothered by doubt about it and are ready to act accordingly. Now in this use of the term fact, the only proper one, evolution is a fact.  
The National Academy of Science (U.S.) makes a similar point:

Scientists most often use the word "fact" to describe an observation. But scientists can also use fact to mean something that has been tested or observed so many times that there is no longer a compelling reason to keep testing or looking for examples. The occurrence of evolution in this sense is fact. Scientists no longer question whether descent with modification occurred because the evidence is so strong.

Philosophers of science argue that we do not know anything with absolute certainty: even direct observations may be "theory laden" and depend on assumptions about our senses and the measuring instruments used. In this sense all facts are provisional.



Quote:
Theory
Scientific theories describe the coherent framework into which observable data fit. The scientific definition of the word "theory" is different from the colloquial sense of the word. Colloquially, "theory" can mean a conjecture, an opinion, or a speculation that does not have to be based on facts or make testable predictions. In science, the meaning of theory is more rigorous: a theory must be based on observed facts and make testable predictions.

In science, a current theory is a theory that has no equally acceptable alternative theory, and has survived attempts at falsification. That is, there have been no observations made which contradict it to this point and, indeed, every observation ever made either supports the current theory or at least does not falsify it. A revision of the current theory, or the generation of a new theory is necessary if new observations contradict the current theory, as the current findings are in need of a new explanation (see scientific revolution or paradigm shift). However, the falsification of a theory does not falsify the facts on which the theory is based.



Of course it should be taught in schools as science. It is probably the most accepted scientific concept on the planet today amongst scientists and the common man both.

Creation Science should only be taught as examples of bad science but I'm not sure if it should be discussed in religion, political studies or science.

So like I said, and maybe you were driving at this as well. EVOLUTION is not a theory but a fact. Popper's rule does not seem to apply. Then there are theories of HOW evolution takes place.
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Re: Is falsifiability concept scintific?
Reply #26 - Dec 5th, 2008 at 1:34pm
 
This is more evidence that it is not a scientific theory. No genuine scientist would confuse a scientific theory with a fact. Only historians use the term fact, yet they are still usually honest enough to admit that there is uncertainty.

Quote:
Fact is often used by scientists to refer to experimental data or objective verifiable observations. "


This is a tricky one, as you cannot separate a fact from the paradigm through which you interpret your obervations. That is why scientists try to avoid the term, as it implies an objectivity which is illusionary.

Quote:
"Fact" is also used in a wider sense to mean any hypothesis for which there is overwhelming evidence.


That is just plain wrong. That is what the terms theory and law are for. Note that evolution is not regarded as a law, even by those who mistake it for science. A law is what a theory becomes as it gains broader acceptance.

Quote:
There is no sharp line between speculation, hypothesis, theory, principle, and fact, but only a difference along a sliding scale, in the degree of probability of the idea.


This is getting out of science into the general meaning of the words.

Quote:
Philosophers of science argue that we do not know anything with absolute certainty: even direct observations may be "theory laden" and depend on assumptions about our senses and the measuring instruments used. In this sense all facts are provisional.


That is putting it mildly. To put it more accurately, all of science - hypotheses, theories and laws - is almost certainly wrong, and will be disproved at some time in the future. This is why science is so powerful, because it inevitably discards our knowledge as being wrong.

Quote:
In science, the meaning of theory is more rigorous: a theory must be based on observed facts and make testable predictions.


Again, he gets it wrong. Basically, hypotheses, theories and law are separated by the degree of consensus. To insert terms like fact discards the reality of science.

Quote:
That is, there have been no observations made which contradict it


Not necessarily true.

Quote:
every observation ever made either supports the current theory or at least does not falsify it


Wrong. Thomas Kuhn goes into some detail of how the reality of science differs significantly from this ideal.

Quote:
It is probably the most accepted scientific concept on the planet today amongst scientists and the common man both.


Wrong. There are plenty of polls to disprove your claim. In any case, argumentum ad populum is a logical fallacy.
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Re: Is falsifiability concept scintific?
Reply #27 - Dec 5th, 2008 at 2:10pm
 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Level_of_support_for_evolution

Quote:
The vast majority of the scientific community and academia supports evolutionary theory as the only explanation that can fully account for observations in the fields of biology, paleontology, anthropology, and others. One 1987 estimate found that "700 scientists ... (out of a total of 480,000 U.S. earth and life scientists) ... give credence to creation-science". An expert in the evolution-creationism controversy, professor and author Brian Alters states that "99.9 percent of scientists accept evolution". A 1991 Gallup poll of Americans found that about 5% of scientists (including those with training outside biology) identified themselves as creationists.


This is not merely argumentum ad populum, this is a community of what is recognised as our prominate thinkers who have (I assume) given a considered vote.

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Re: Is falsifiability concept scintific?
Reply #28 - Dec 5th, 2008 at 2:28pm
 
I may struggle with this argument as I only ever went to level 10 science and that was 27 years ago. But I would like to persist as I find the assertion that it should not be taught in schools as science extraordinary. Excuse me if I am a little remedial.

Firstly maybe Popper got it wrong! All respect to Popper as he was an remarkable thinker but not infallible. There are plenty of equivalent or better thinkers in history that have flaws in their ideas. Plato, Kant, Newton etc.

His own idea of the methodology of science is a theory is it not. Maybe the concept of evolution is his methodology's Achilles heel. I don't know.

The fact that a scientific theory is not certain is hardly an excuse to exclude it from science that is being taught in school, especially considering the universial acceptance that is probably the envy of every other scientific theory that could be named.

I am trying here to touch on the question as stated in the topic. Is falsifiability concept scientific?

Also while I understand the purpose of testability in increasing knowledge and understanding, as well as the valuable side effect of suggesting more difficult and better questions. What did Popper have to say about a theory that defies the tests to falsify it. Was it to be just fobbed off, because I would have thought the opposite would be the case. That the idea be graduated to another level of prestige.

Do you know why that is not the case?

There are some responses I would like to make to your previous reply but we need to set some ground work I think.
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« Last Edit: Dec 5th, 2008 at 2:36pm by locutius »  

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Re: Is falsifiability concept scintific?
Reply #29 - Dec 5th, 2008 at 2:31pm
 
The evolution theory is scientific and falsifiability concept can be discounted because it is unscientific as we found out in this very thread.

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