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Author Topic:   The scientific method is based on a logical fallacy
Chiroptera
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Posts: 6563
From: Oklahoma
Joined: 09-28-2003
Member Rating: 4.9


Message 16 of 70 (380661)
01-28-2007 9:38 AM
Reply to: Message 13 by ShootingStar
01-28-2007 4:16 AM


quote:
In any event, I agree with Dan Carroll. Most conclusions require a larger variety of observations to test all the possible loopholes of a theory before it is accepted as truth.

Which is pretty much what I said in my post, isn't it?


This world can take my money and time/ But it sure can't take my soul. -- Joe Ely
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bluescat48
Member (Idle past 2325 days)
Posts: 2347
From: United States
Joined: 10-06-2007


Message 17 of 70 (426463)
10-06-2007 11:06 PM


The point is why scientific evidences are referred to as theories, since there is a possibility or possibilities that other factors may occur to change the possible outcome. This defines science and states the reason why there is a constant attempt to find the correct answer to any proposed hypothesis and even when accepted there will still be attempts to refine the theory.
    
Nuggin
Member (Idle past 628 days)
Posts: 2965
From: Los Angeles, CA USA
Joined: 08-09-2005


Message 18 of 70 (426470)
10-07-2007 12:45 AM
Reply to: Message 3 by subbie
01-08-2007 6:56 PM


Observation: Marsupials are the dominant form of mammalian life in Australia, but relatively rare elsewhere in the world.
Hypothesis: Marsupials became isolated on Australia from other forms of mammalian life when the land masses drifted apart.
Prediction: Fossilized marsupials will be found on Antarctica.

The logical structure of this prediction and its confirmation is as follows:

If marsupials became isolated on Australia from other forms of mammalian life when the land masses drifted apart, then fossilized marsupials will be found on Antarctica.

Fossilized marsupials have been found on Antarctica.

First, I don't know if it's typos or not but you seem to be interchanging Australia and Antarctica.

More importantly, you've completely left of a much more important part of science.

Science is not founded solely on predictions, it's founded on the ability to disprove falsehoods.

So, your above statement should read more like this:

Hypothesis: Marsupials became isolated on Australia when it seperated.
Prediction: Marsupial fossils will be found in Australia.
Disprovable: Marsupial fossils should not be found elsewhere.
Evidence: Marsupial fossils _are_ found in Australia. Marsupial fossils have not been found elsewhere.

If Marsupial fossils are found elsewhere, we then need to review both the hypothesis and it's predictions.

Without testability, you aren't describing science.


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Modulous
Member (Idle past 240 days)
Posts: 7789
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 19 of 70 (426496)
10-07-2007 6:25 AM
Reply to: Message 18 by Nuggin
10-07-2007 12:45 AM


First, I don't know if it's typos or not but you seem to be interchanging Australia and Antarctica.

No - the problem is with the wording, not the words (or something). The hypothesis is that marsupials travelled from America to Australia via Antartica. If that hypothesis is true, we should find fossils in Antartica and America following a consistent pattern demonstrating radiation. We do.

quote:
In the Eocene marsupials radiated into Europe, North Africa and reached Asia by the Oligocene. However these groups rapidly became extinct. South America parted company with North America in the Eocene, effectively blocking the rapid radiation of placentals in North America at this time from spreading to South America. During the Eocene, marsupials reached Antarctica, which was attached to South America and Australia at this time. Marsupials could follow a belt of Northophagus vegetation all the way around from southern South America, across Antarctica into southern Australia. The first marsupials appear in Australia in the Oligocene via this route. Australia parted company from Antarctica in the Miocene, effectively isolating the marsupial fauna here.

Although there has been a marsupial fossil found in the Oligocene of Asia, it closely resembles the European form Peratherium, which is a didelphid, and has little affinities to Australian forms. Therefore colonization of Australia from the north is not considered viable. Australian marsupials (extant and extinct) share many affinities with South American marsupials and extinct Antarctic forms, indicating a southern migration route for marsupials and explaining the lack of placental mammals in Australia. By the time South America redocked with North America in the Plio-Pleistocene, South America was already separated from Antarctica and Antarctica from Australia. So the reintroduction of placentals into South America couldn't continue on to Antarctica/Australia. Note: this does not preclude any placentals from reaching Australia, just significant numbers of them.


http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/marsupials.html


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The Agnostic
Member (Idle past 4069 days)
Posts: 36
From: Netherlands
Joined: 12-17-2007


Message 20 of 70 (443482)
12-25-2007 10:21 AM
Reply to: Message 19 by Modulous
10-07-2007 6:25 AM


No - the problem is with the wording, not the words (or something). The hypothesis is that marsupials travelled from America to Australia via Antartica. If that hypothesis is true, we should find fossils in Antartica and America following a consistent pattern demonstrating radiation. We do.

Though not finding fossils wouldn't prove they didn't live there.


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Chiroptera
Member
Posts: 6563
From: Oklahoma
Joined: 09-28-2003
Member Rating: 4.9


Message 21 of 70 (443484)
12-25-2007 10:40 AM
Reply to: Message 20 by The Agnostic
12-25-2007 10:21 AM


Though not finding fossils wouldn't prove they didn't live there.

Unless there were very good reasons, according to our current understanding, that we really should be able to find fossils if they lived there. Then not finding fossils would be evidence that they didn't actually live there. Contrary to some peoples' conceptions, it is possible to prove a negative.

Of course, considering how rare fossils can be, and how difficult it can be to find fossils, then you are probably correct in this case: not finding fossils would not necessarily mean that they didn't live there.


"The guilty one is not he who commits the sin, but the one who causes the darkness."
Clearly, he had his own strange way of judging things. I suspect that he acquired it from the Gospels. -- Victor Hugo
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sinequanon
Member (Idle past 1000 days)
Posts: 331
Joined: 12-17-2007


Message 22 of 70 (443491)
12-25-2007 11:11 AM
Reply to: Message 10 by Chiroptera
01-09-2007 3:11 PM


Now suppose that we come across a white raven. So now we have a scientific falsification of our simple hypothesis that all ravens are black. We now have to do one of three things:

(1) Find out whether we made an experimental or observational error:
That's not a raven, moron, that's a swan!

(2) Modify the original theory (and then test the modifications):
All ravens are black except those that suffer from white fungus albinism.

(3) Abandon the theory altogether under the weight of contrary evidence:
Out of 1000 ravens in the sample, 700 were black, and 300 were white. I guess that not all ravens are black after all.

Good post Chiroptera.

What about (4)?

(4) Stick with the theory despite the weight of contrary evidence.

For example, rather than abandon the law of gravity, claim dark matter exists. So instead of evidence driving the theory, the theory starts driving the evidence.


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Chiroptera
Member
Posts: 6563
From: Oklahoma
Joined: 09-28-2003
Member Rating: 4.9


Message 23 of 70 (443499)
12-25-2007 11:58 AM
Reply to: Message 22 by sinequanon
12-25-2007 11:11 AM


Good post Chiroptera.

Thanks. I'm quite happy with it.

-

(4) Stick with the theory despite the weight of contrary evidence.

For example, rather than abandon the law of gravity, claim dark matter exists. So instead of evidence driving the theory, the theory starts driving the evidence.

What "weight of contrary evidence" do you see in this example?

Let's examine another historical analogy. In the 19th century, it was discovered that the motion of Uranus did not obey Newton's Universal Law of Gravity. One could have decided that this was sufficient "weight of contrary evidence" to abandon his law of gravity, but instead it was hypothesized that an as yet unknown planet was causing perturbations in Uranus' orbit -- sort of a 19th century version of "dark matter".

Then the perturbations were analyzed carefully to give some indication as the the possible locations of the hypothesized planet, and a search for the planet was carried out. A new planet, Neptune, was in fact discovered, and it was precisely in the right locations to give the observed perturbations of the orbit of Uranus.

I suppose that this could count as "sticking to the theory despite the weight of contrary evidence", but seeing that they were actually correct it seems to me that something far more interesting was going on.


"The guilty one is not he who commits the sin, but the one who causes the darkness."
Clearly, he had his own strange way of judging things. I suspect that he acquired it from the Gospels. -- Victor Hugo
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sinequanon
Member (Idle past 1000 days)
Posts: 331
Joined: 12-17-2007


Message 24 of 70 (443502)
12-25-2007 12:24 PM
Reply to: Message 23 by Chiroptera
12-25-2007 11:58 AM


What "weight of contrary evidence" do you see in this example?

The law of gravity predicts a different rate of expansion of the universe from what is observed.

but instead it was hypothesized that an as yet unknown planet was causing perturbations in Uranus' orbit -- sort of a 19th century version of "dark matter".

Not quite. In your example of Uranus, no "new" science is being proposed. The adequacy of the law is truly being tested.

"Dark matter", on the other hand is very much about banking on "new" science.

What would it take to falsify the law of gravity?


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Replies to this message:
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RAZD
Member
Posts: 19839
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 6.0


Message 25 of 70 (443507)
12-25-2007 12:57 PM
Reply to: Message 24 by sinequanon
12-25-2007 12:24 PM


Gravity in crisis?
(4) Stick with the theory despite the weight of contrary evidence.

For example, rather than abandon the law of gravity, claim dark matter exists. So instead of evidence driving the theory, the theory starts driving the evidence.


What "weight of contrary evidence" do you see in this example?

The law of gravity predicts a different rate of expansion of the universe from what is observed.

"Dark matter", on the other hand is very much about banking on "new" science.

And yet this theory is adequate for getting rockets and little cars to Mars. It would seem a little premature to abandon something that works just because we can't explain the dark stuff effects.

Rather the overwhelming evidence is that Newton's gravity is adequate for most computations, Einstein adds a few more, and the things that can't be covered by those are such that I would not call gravity a "theory in crisis" ...

What would it take to falsify the law of gravity?

A new theory that explains all the current evidence as well as the current theory AND explains the dark stuff effects, that can be tested and verified\validated and found to be a sound concept (that nasty scientific method again).

Simple. Got any contenders? Cause I'm interested.

Enjoy.


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NosyNed
Member
Posts: 8842
From: Canada
Joined: 04-04-2003
Member Rating: 4.8


Message 26 of 70 (443509)
12-25-2007 1:25 PM
Reply to: Message 24 by sinequanon
12-25-2007 12:24 PM


Tossing out Gravity
But tossing out gravity is also being proposed just as you seem to think should be done. There are some suggestions for a replacement.

They are exactly following the evidence but haven't figured out where it is leading them yet.

Keeping General Relativity and it's newtonian subset seems like a reasonable thing to attempt to do since it is so well supported in other ways. But even though it is very, very reasonable other things are being considered.


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sinequanon
Member (Idle past 1000 days)
Posts: 331
Joined: 12-17-2007


Message 27 of 70 (443512)
12-25-2007 1:30 PM
Reply to: Message 25 by RAZD
12-25-2007 12:57 PM


Re: Gravity in crisis?
I would not call gravity a "theory in crisis" ...

Is your definition of "universal law" a theory that is "not in crisis"? :) Or is there some other relevance to this?

Note, I merely added (4) to the list in Chiroptera's very well presented and illustrated post Message 10. I believe it needs to go in irrespective of how premature any choice is deemed to be.

A new theory that explains all the current evidence as well as the current theory AND explains the dark stuff effects, that can be tested and verified\validated and found to be a sound concept (that nasty scientific method again).

Isn't this what creationists are accused of doing? Instead of addressing the flaws in their own argument they point out that other arguments are incompleteness or flawed.

Hardly a good basis for falsification.


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sinequanon
Member (Idle past 1000 days)
Posts: 331
Joined: 12-17-2007


Message 28 of 70 (443515)
12-25-2007 1:47 PM
Reply to: Message 26 by NosyNed
12-25-2007 1:25 PM


Re: Tossing out Gravity
But tossing out gravity is also being proposed just as you seem to think should be done. There are some suggestions for a replacement.
They are exactly following the evidence but haven't figured out where it is leading them yet.

Do you agree that its current status is "falsified".

Should the "universal" law of gravity be taught in the science class?

Keeping General Relativity and it's newtonian subset seems like a reasonable thing to attempt to do since it is so well supported in other ways. But even though it is very, very reasonable other things are being considered.

You are using very subjective terms here. "Seems" and "reasonable". What happened to the quantitative rigour? Falsification is falsification.


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cavediver
Member (Idle past 1779 days)
Posts: 4129
From: UK
Joined: 06-16-2005


Message 29 of 70 (443521)
12-25-2007 2:52 PM
Reply to: Message 28 by sinequanon
12-25-2007 1:47 PM


Re: Tossing out Gravity
Do you agree that its current status is "falsified".

Should the "universal" law of gravity be taught in the science class?

Would you mind explaining what you mean by the "universal" law of gravity? I've never heard of it. Is this something you were taught in Part II? And if so, by whom?

Edited by cavediver, : No reason given.


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sinequanon
Member (Idle past 1000 days)
Posts: 331
Joined: 12-17-2007


Message 30 of 70 (443526)
12-25-2007 3:06 PM
Reply to: Message 29 by cavediver
12-25-2007 2:52 PM


Re: Tossing out Gravity
There is a force between any two particles proportional to the product of their masses and inversely proportional to the square of their distance apart.

The constant of proportionality, G, is called the universal gravitational constant.


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