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The war on falsifiability in science continues

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War on science? Well, we hear about it more often than we see it. People—particularly naturalist atheists involved with progressive causes, who are flogging up some unverifiable thesis—are prone to claiming that their opponents are creationists (whether they are or not, in any meaningful sense), or else some other type of warriors against science.

There is, as it happens, an assault on the science concept of falsifiability as explained at PBS:

Does Science Need Falsifiablity?

Meanwhile, cosmologists have found themselves at a similar impasse. We live in a universe that is, by some estimations, too good to be true. The fundamental constants of nature and the cosmological constant, which drives the accelerating expansion of the universe, seem “fine-tuned” to allow galaxies and stars to form. As Anil Ananthaswamy wrote elsewhere on this blog, “Tweak the charge on an electron, for instance, or change the strength of the gravitational force or the strong nuclear force just a smidgen, and the universe would look very different, and likely be lifeless.”

Why do these numbers, which are essential features of the universe and cannot be derived from more fundamental quantities, appear to conspire for our comfort?

In fact, you can reason your way to the “multiverse” in at least four different ways, according to MIT physicist Max Tegmark’s accounting. The tricky part is testing the idea. You can’t send or receive messages from neighboring universes, and most formulations of multiverse theory don’t make any testable predictions. Yet the theory provides a neat solution to the fine-tuning problem. Must we throw it out because it fails the falsifiability test?

“It would be completely non-scientific to ignore that possibility just because it doesn’t conform with some preexisting philosophical prejudices,” says Sean Carroll, a physicist at Caltech, who called for the “retirement” of the falsifiability principle in a controversial essay for Edge last year. Falsifiability is “just a simple motto that non-philosophically-trained scientists have latched onto,” argues Carroll. He also bristles at the notion that this viewpoint can be summed up as “elegance will suffice,” as Ellis put it in a stinging Nature comment written with cosmologist Joe Silk.

“I think falsifiability is not a perfect criterion, but it’s much less pernicious than what’s being served up by the ‘post-empirical’ faction,” says Frank Wilczek, a physicist at MIT. “Falsifiability is too impatient, in some sense,” putting immediate demands on theories that are not yet mature enough to meet them. “It’s an important discipline, but if it is applied too rigorously and too early, it can be stifling.”

Some don’t believe testability is needed either.

Prediction: To the extent that science is dominated by naturalist atheists, falsifiability will not survive as a criterion. Whatever speculation supports the multiverse will count for far more than any failure of evidence.

And the next war will be against the idea of evidence. What evidence counts for will depend on who is presenting it and what causes it would support. That is what post-empiricism must necessarily mean in the current environment.

See also: Cosmologist Sean Carroll would retire falsifiability as a science idea. Philosopher Massimo Pigliucci defends it.

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53 Replies to “The war on falsifiability in science continues

  1. 1
    Axel says:

    A fascinating post, Denyse, especially in its concluding predictions. They seem all together too plausible, when one reflects how the most improbable, intellectual lunacy is often arrived at in an insidious, gradual fashion.

  2. 2
    kairosfocus says:

    News, we need empirical grounded-ness, and that includes that significant implications of our theories should be testable. In the meanwhile, we may accept provisionally well-tested empirically reliable findings as just that, with a degree of confidence proportioned to the degree of tested-ness. But, we must ever bear in mind the fate of Newtonian dynamics. KF

  3. 3
    nightlight says:

    Neo-Darwinism doesn’t seem very falsifiable either (“random” is a gratuitous, vague addon that can’t be tested as usually stated)?.

  4. 4

    Welcome to the post-theistic Age of the Narrative, where the purpose of science is not to find truth, but to serve the agenda. That’s what happens when you decouple science from the theistic principles that created it.

  5. 5
    Mapou says:

    May the real enemies of science stand up and be counted.

  6. 6
    nightlight says:

    @4 That’s what happens when you decouple science from the theistic principles that created it.

    Or perhaps that’s what happens when parasites swarm around anything of value.

  7. 7
    Bob O'H says:

    I believe the first shot in the war on falsifiability was fired in 1934, and nobody who has seriously studied the history or philosophy of science believes it any more. It has, in fact, been falsified.

  8. 8
    tjguy says:

    Almost all historical science struggles with the problem of falsifiability. This is part of Darwin’s legacy. He popularized the idea that you don’t have to test your ideas; all you need is a just so story or a plausible sounding explanation(otherwise called an ad hoc explanation) to count as evidence/science. Cosmology is WAY out there when it comes to falsifiability. Even the consensus – standard model – suffers from this problem.

    This is why there is such a huge difference between historical science and experimental science where you can test and either verify or falsify your hypothesis. This is why it is improper to criticize creationists for questioning historical science while standing behind experimental science.

    Evolutionists are well known to use this equivocation to try and make their opponents look stupid and anti-science. Hopefully more and more people are learning this difference and are able to see through their ploy.

  9. 9
    Yarrgonaut says:

    Unfortunately I think their war on evidence is already won. Materialists defend their pet theories the same way they defend their empty philosophy – by begging the question. (Because materialism is true) Science will eventually discover the answers that solve all their problems and vindicate their ideas over and against all of the insurmountable obstacles. The fact that this thinking has been smuggled into science to the point where it’s openly paraded around as scientific thinking makes me worry that evidence hasn’t mattered for a long time.

  10. 10
    bornagain77 says:

    Bob O”H, as to 7:

    “I believe the first shot in the war on falsifiability was fired in 1934, and nobody who has seriously studied the history or philosophy of science believes it any more. It (falsifiability?) has, in fact, been falsified.”

    let me get this straight. Are you really trying to say that materialists/atheists do not believes in falsifiability anymore because falsifiability has been falsified? Just how is that possible?

  11. 11
    Duane says:

    I suspect most scientists fighting against falsifiability do so to protect pet theories. Science
    without falsification tends toward religion.

  12. 12
    Bob O'H says:

    ba77 – I’m sure some materialists/atheists do think falsification is valid, but anyone who’s looked at the philosophy of science is well aware of its shortcomings, and a lot of scientific theories have been ‘falsified’ before becoming accepted. For example:

    A third example concerns the kinetic theory and has the advantage that the falsification of that theory at birth was explicitly acknowledged by its originator. When Maxwell (1965, vol. 1, p. 409) published the first details of the kinetic theory of gases in 1859, in that very same paper he acknowledged the fact that the theory was falsified by measurements on the specific heats of gases. Eighteen years later, commenting on the consequences of the kinetic theory, Maxwell (1877) wrote:

    Some of these, no doubt, are very satisfactory to us in our present state of opinion about the constitution of bodies, but there are others which are likely to startle us out of our complacency and perhaps ultimately to drive us out of all the hypotheses in which we have hitherto found refuge into that thoroughly conscious ignorance which is a prelude to every real advance in knowledge.

    All the important developments within the kinetic theory took place after this falsification. Once again, it is fortunate that the theory was not abandoned in the face of falsifications by measurements of the specific heats of gases, as the naive falsificationist would be forced to insist.

    (Chalmers, 1999, What is This Thing Called Science?, 3rd ed.)

  13. 13
    Joe says:

    Science does need testability and unguided evolution doesn’t even have that.

  14. 14
    bornagain77 says:

    Bob, so falsifiability was falsified by the fact that someone falsified what was thought to be a falsification? 🙂

    But would that not make the criteria of empirical falsification, i.e. testability, stronger and not weaker since a ‘supposed’ falsification (a claim) was in fact falsified (tested against) by stronger empirical observation?

    That is why Quantum Theory and General Relativity are both tested to greater and greater levels of accuracy. Looking to see if there are any holes whatsoever in either theory. i.e. trying the ‘FALSIFY’ them. (no holes so far in either theory)

    In other words, Falsification is alive and well in empirical science.

    Whereas in materialistic pseudo-science, falsification is not present. In fact, materialistic/atheistic theories such as multiverse(s) and Darwinian evolution simply have no criteria for falsification. i.e. No rigid claim to test against. As Berlinski put the situation with Darwinism:

    “On the other hand, I disagree that Darwin’s theory is as `solid as any explanation in science.; Disagree? I regard the claim as preposterous. Quantum electrodynamics is accurate to thirteen or so decimal places; so, too, general relativity. A leaf trembling in the wrong way would suffice to shatter either theory. What can Darwinian theory offer in comparison?”
    – Berlinski, D., “A Scientific Scandal?: David Berlinski & Critics,” Commentary, July 8, 2003

    Popper is also rather clear on the priority of falsification so as to delineate whether something is truly science or not:

    “In so far as a scientific statement speaks about reality, it must be falsifiable; and in so far as it is not falsifiable, it does not speak about reality.”
    Karl Popper – The Two Fundamental Problems of the Theory of Knowledge (2014 edition), Routledge
    http://izquotes.com/quote/147518

    And whereas there is no rigid criteria to test against in neo-Darwinism (i.e. to try to ‘falsify’ Darwinism) to see if Darwinism is true, Intelligent Design does not suffer from such an embarrassment and invites attempts to falsify its claim:

    It’s (Much) Easier to Falsify Intelligent Design than Darwinian Evolution – Michael Behe, PhD
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_T1v_VLueGk

    The Law of Physicodynamic Incompleteness – David L. Abel
    Excerpt: “If decision-node programming selections are made randomly or by law rather than with purposeful intent, no non-trivial (sophisticated) function will spontaneously arise.”
    If only one exception to this null hypothesis were published, the hypothesis would be falsified. Falsification would require an experiment devoid of behind-the-scenes steering. Any artificial selection hidden in the experimental design would disqualify the experimental falsification. After ten years of continual republication of the null hypothesis with appeals for falsification, no falsification has been provided.
    The time has come to extend this null hypothesis into a formal scientific prediction:
    “No non trivial algorithmic/computational utility will ever arise from chance and/or necessity alone.”
    https://www.academia.edu/9957206/The_Law_of_Physicodynamic_Incompleteness_Scirus_Topic_Page_

  15. 15
    Zachriel says:

    bornagain77: That is why Quantum Theory and General Relativity are both tested to greater and greater levels of accuracy. Looking to see if there are any holes whatsoever in either theory. i.e. trying the ‘FALSIFY’ them. (no holes so far in either theory)

    Quantum Theory and Relativity are incompatible, so obviously one or both are wrong in some aspect.

  16. 16
    bornagain77 says:

    Zachriel as to, “Quantum Theory and Relativity are incompatible, so obviously one or both are wrong in some aspect.”

    They are not as incompatible as you think,

    I find it extremely interesting, and strange, that quantum mechanics tells us that instantaneous quantum wave collapse to its ‘uncertain’ 3D state is centered on each individual conscious observer in the universe, whereas, 4D space-time cosmology (General Relativity) tells us each 3D point in the universe is central to the expansion of the universe. These findings of modern science are pretty much exactly what we would expect to see if this universe were indeed created, and sustained, from a higher dimension by a omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, eternal Being who knows everything that is happening everywhere in the universe at the same time. These findings certainly seem to go to the very heart of the age old question asked of many parents by their children, “How can God hear everybody’s prayers at the same time?”,,, i.e. Why should the expansion of the universe, or the quantum wave collapse of the entire universe, even care that you or I, or anyone else, should exist? Only Theism, Christian Theism in particular, offers a rational explanation as to why you or I, or anyone else, should have such undeserved significance in such a vast universe. [15]

    Psalm 33:13-15
    The LORD looks from heaven; He sees all the sons of men. From the place of His dwelling He looks on all the inhabitants of the earth; He fashions their hearts individually; He considers all their works.
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1BHAcvrc913SgnPcDohwkPnN4kMJ9EDX-JJSkjc4AXmA/edit

    and when agent causality is rightly let into the picture, (instead of the ‘blind’ causality of atheists), then unification between the two is achieved in the resurrection of Christ from death:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-548425

    of note: seeing that Christianity, and Christianity alone, gave birth to modern science, it should not be so surprising that Christianity also offers an empirically backed ‘completion’ of modern science with the unification of General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics into the much sought after ‘theory of everything’:

    The Threat to the Scientific Method that Explains the Spate of Fraudulent Science Publications – Calvin Beisner | Jul 23, 2014
    Excerpt: It is precisely because modern science has abandoned its foundations in the Biblical worldview (which holds, among other things, that a personal, rational God designed a rational universe to be understood and controlled by rational persons made in His image) and the Biblical ethic (which holds, among other things, that we are obligated to tell the truth even when it inconveniences us) that science is collapsing.
    As such diverse historians and philosophers of science as Alfred North Whitehead, Pierre Duhem, Loren Eiseley, Rodney Stark, and many others have observed, and as I pointed out in two of my talks at the Ninth International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC), science—not an occasional flash of insight here and there, but a systematic, programmatic, ongoing way of studying and controlling the world—arose only once in history, and only in one place: medieval Europe, once known as “Christendom,” where that Biblical worldview reigned supreme. That is no accident. Science could not have arisen without that worldview.
    http://townhall.com/columnists...../page/full
    Several other resources backing up this claim are available, such as Thomas Woods, Stanley Jaki, David Linberg, Edward Grant, J.L. Heilbron, and Christopher Dawson.

  17. 17
    Zachriel says:

    bornagain77: They are not as incompatible as you think

    Meaning they are not entirely compatible, hence one or both are wrong in some aspects.

  18. 18
    Joe says:

    Incompatibility doesn’t mean one or both are wrong in some aspects.

  19. 19
    Bob O'H says:

    But would that not make the criteria of empirical falsification, i.e. testability, stronger and not weaker since a ‘supposed’ falsification (a claim) was in fact falsified (tested against) by stronger empirical observation?

    Err, no. A lot of theories fail tests but aren’t rejected. So there has to be something more than that.

    That is why Quantum Theory and General Relativity are both tested to greater and greater levels of accuracy. Looking to see if there are any holes whatsoever in either theory. i.e. trying the ‘FALSIFY’ them. (no holes so far in either theory)

    I’m not sure if Quantum Theory and General Relativity per se are tested nowadays, rather specific predictions from them (e.g. the search for the Higgs boson was a test of some predictions from the standard model). As far as I’m aware (and I’m not a physicist), the cores of both theories are taken as being correct, and the testing of theories takes place at the edges. So if problems are found, the core theories aren’t rejected. Either they’re modified, or the blame is shifted onto subsidiary hypotheses.

  20. 20
    bornagain77 says:

    once again, saying falsification has been falsified is a self refuting claim. That I would have to point that out to anybody over the age of 12 (or even younger) is sad.

    as to this claim of yours:

    “I’m not sure if Quantum Theory and General Relativity per se are tested nowadays,,,, the testing of (those) theories takes place at the edges.”

    Those are some edges being tested when the headlines denote “surviving’ a test:

    Quantum theory survives latest challenge – Dec 15, 2010
    Excerpt: Even assuming that entangled photons could respond to one another instantly, the correlations between polarization states still violated Leggett’s inequality. The conclusion being that instantaneous communication is not enough to explain entanglement and realism must also be abandoned.
    This conclusion is now backed up by Sonja Franke-Arnold and collegues at the University of Glasgow and University of Strathclyde who have performed another experiment showing that entangled photons exhibit,, stronger correlations than allowed for particles with individually defined properties – even if they would be allowed to communicate constantly.
    http://physicsworld.com/cws/ar.....-challenge

    General relativity survives gruelling pulsar test — Einstein at least 99.95 percent right – 2006
    http://phys.org/news77373279.html

    etc.. etc…

    This bombshell from 2007 hardly gives the impression of an edge being tested. It gives me the impression of a wall being smashed:

    Quantum physics says goodbye to reality – Apr 20, 2007
    Excerpt: Many realizations of the thought experiment have indeed verified the violation of Bell’s inequality. These have ruled out all hidden-variables theories based on joint assumptions of realism, meaning that reality exists when we are not observing it; and locality, meaning that separated events cannot influence one another instantaneously. But a violation of Bell’s inequality does not tell specifically which assumption – realism, locality or both – is discordant with quantum mechanics.
    Markus Aspelmeyer, Anton Zeilinger and colleagues from the University of Vienna, however, have now shown that realism is more of a problem than locality in the quantum world. They devised an experiment that violates a different inequality proposed by physicist Anthony Leggett in 2003 that relies only on realism, and relaxes the reliance on locality. To do this, rather than taking measurements along just one plane of polarization, the Austrian team took measurements in additional, perpendicular planes to check for elliptical polarization.
    They found that, just as in the realizations of Bell’s thought experiment, Leggett’s inequality is violated – thus stressing the quantum-mechanical assertion that reality does not exist when we’re not observing it. “Our study shows that ‘just’ giving up the concept of locality would not be enough to obtain a more complete description of quantum mechanics,” Aspelmeyer told Physics Web. “You would also have to give up certain intuitive features of realism.”
    http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/27640

    of related interest:

    Quantum Foam Paper Suggests Einstein Was Right About Space-Time Being ‘Smooth’ – January 2013
    Excerpt: It appears Albert Einstein may have been right yet again.
    A team of researchers came to this conclusion after tracing the long journey three photons took through intergalactic space. The photons were blasted out by an intense explosion known as a gamma-ray burst about 7 billion light-years from Earth. They finally barreled into the detectors of NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope in May 2009, arriving just a millisecond apart.
    Their dead-heat finish strongly supports the Einsteinian view of space-time, researchers said. The wavelengths of gamma-ray burst photons are so small that they should be able to interact with the even tinier “bubbles” in the quantum theorists’ proposed space-time foam.
    If this foam indeed exists, the three photons should have been knocked around a bit during their epic voyage. In such a scenario, the chances of all three reaching the Fermi telescope at virtually the same time are very low, researchers said.
    So the new study is a strike against the foam’s existence as currently imagined,,, “If foaminess exists at all, we think it must be at a scale far smaller than the Planck length,”
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/.....49734.html

    Exploding stars prove Newton’s gravity unchanged over cosmic time – March 23, 2014
    Excerpt: Australian astronomers have combined all observations of supernovae ever made to determine that the strength of gravity has remained unchanged over the last nine billion years.,,,
    ,,researchers,, have now analysed the light given off by 580 supernova explosions in the nearby and far Universe and have shown that the strength of gravity has not changed.,,,
    a white dwarf reaches a critical mass or after colliding with other stars to ‘tip it over the edge’.
    “This critical mass depends on Newton’s gravitational constant G and allows us to monitor it over billions of years of cosmic time – instead of only decades, as was the case in previous studies.” said Professor Mould.
    Despite these vastly different time spans, their results agree with findings from the Lunar Laser Ranging Experiment that has been measuring the distance between the Earth and the Moon since NASA’s Apollo missions in the 1960s and has been able to monitor possible variations in G at very high precision.,,,
    In their current publication, the Swinburne researchers were able to set an upper limit on the change in Newton’s gravitational constant of 0.00000001% per year over the past nine billion years.
    http://phys.org/news/2014-03-s.....osmic.html

    Physicists Eye Quantum-Gravity Interface -Oct. 31, 2013
    Excerpt: Gravity curves space and time around massive objects. What happens when such objects are put in quantum superpositions, causing space-time to curve in two different ways?,,,
    Markus Aspelmeyer, a professor of physics at the University of Vienna, is equally optimistic. His group is developing three separate experiments at the quantum-gravity interface — two for the lab and one for an orbiting satellite.,, Many physicists expect quantum theory to prevail. They believe the ball on a spring should, in principle, be able to exist in two places at once, just as a photon can. The ball’s gravitational field should be able to interfere with itself in a quantum superposition, just as the photon’s electromagnetic field does. “I don’t see why these concepts of quantum theory that have proven to be right for the case of light should fail for the case of gravity,” Aspelmeyer said.
    But the incompatibility of general relativity and quantum mechanics itself suggests that gravity might behave differently.
    https://www.simonsfoundation.org/quanta/20131031-physicists-eye-quantum-gravity-interface/

  21. 21
    Bob O'H says:

    once again, saying falsification has been falsified is a self refuting claim.

    It’s called irony.

    The headlines of the examples you quote look rather hyperbolic, and the descriptions of the work discuss particular parts of quantum theory. Do the papers they’re reporting on describe themselves as tests of the whole of quantum theory?

  22. 22
    bornagain77 says:

    It is not irony. It is called the law of non-contradiction.

    Falsification cannot exist and not exist at the same time. Yet you apparently find such insanity of direct contradiction to be ‘irony’ instead of being patently false as it is. I call it being in denial of what is obvious. i.e. your position is absurd and the emperor has no clothes!

    General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics survived falsification in the tests. If the tests were to have been different than the predictions from the theories, they would have been found to be falsified as a accurate description of reality. That is how science works. For decades both theories have survived greater and greater challenges to their claims and have been extended to greater levels of accuracy as a result.

    The multiverse and Neo-Darwinism have nothing of the sort that we can test against to try to falsify their claims. In fact neo-Darwinism is infamous for ‘predicting’ contradictory results:

    Who would have thought that it would be biologists that came up with the first Theory of Everything?
    Biological divergence? Evolution. Biological convergence? Evolution. Gradual variation? Evolution. Sudden variation? Evolution. Stasis? Evolution. Junk DNA? Evolution. No Junk DNA? Evolution. Tree of life? Evolution. No tree of life? Evolution. Common genes? Evolution. Orfan genes? evolution. Cell with little more than a jelly-like protoplasm? Evolution. Cell filled with countless, highly-specified nano-machines directed by a software code? Evolution. More hardy, more procreative organisms? Evolution. Less hardy, less procreative organisms? Evolution.
    – Evolution explains everything. –
    William J Murray

    “Being an evolutionist means there is no bad news. If new species appear abruptly in the fossil record, that just means evolution operates in spurts. If species then persist for eons with little modification, that just means evolution takes long breaks. If clever mechanisms are discovered in biology, that just means evolution is smarter than we imagined. If strikingly similar designs are found in distant species, that just means evolution repeats itself. If significant differences are found in allied species, that just means evolution sometimes introduces new designs rapidly. If no likely mechanism can be found for the large-scale change evolution requires, that just means evolution is mysterious. If adaptation responds to environmental signals, that just means evolution has more foresight than was thought. If major predictions of evolution are found to be false, that just means evolution is more complex than we thought.”
    ~ Cornelius Hunter

    Of note on the inflation multiverse:

    Cosmic inflation is dead, long live cosmic inflation – 25 September 2014
    Excerpt: (Inflation) theory, the most widely held of cosmological ideas about the growth of our universe after the big bang, explains a number of mysteries, including why the universe is surprisingly flat and so smoothly distributed, or homogeneous.,,,
    Paul Steinhardt of Princeton University, who helped develop inflationary theory but is now scathing of it, says this is potentially a blow for the theory, but that it pales in significance with inflation’s other problems.
    Meet the multiverse
    Steinhardt says the idea that inflationary theory produces any observable predictions at all – even those potentially tested by BICEP2 – is based on a simplification of the theory that simply does not hold true.
    “The deeper problem is that once inflation starts, it doesn’t end the way these simplistic calculations suggest,” he says. “Instead, due to quantum physics it leads to a multiverse where the universe breaks up into an infinite number of patches. The patches explore all conceivable properties as you go from patch to patch. So that means it doesn’t make any sense to say what inflation predicts, except to say it predicts everything. If it’s physically possible, then it happens in the multiverse someplace
    Steinhardt says the point of inflation was to explain a remarkably simple universe. “So the last thing in the world you should be doing is introducing a multiverse of possibilities to explain such a simple thing,” he says. “I think it’s telling us in the clearest possible terms that we should be able to understand this and when we understand it it’s going to come in a model that is extremely simple and compelling. And we thought inflation was it – but it isn’t.”
    http://www.newscientist.com/ar.....CajrGl0y00

    smash-up: BICEP2?s big bang discovery getting dusted by new satellite data – Joel Achenbach September 22, 2014
    Excerpt: ,,,Paul Steinhardt, a Princeton professor who helped invent inflationary cosmology but later turned against the theory, saying that it does not make testable predictions and is thus not truly scientific
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/.....g/?hpid=z5

    Of note: The same problem extends to any multiverse scenario that tries to explain fine tuning.

    Verse & Music

    1 Thessalonians 5:21
    but test everything; hold fast what is good.

    Good Fight
    Unspoken
    http://myktis.com/songs/good-fight/

  23. 23
  24. 24
    Bob O'H says:

    Falsification cannot exist and not exist at the same time. Yet you apparently find such insanity of direct contradiction to be ‘irony’ instead of being patently false as it is.

    Of course falsification exists – if it didn’t, this blog post couldn’t exist. The problem is whether it is a good explanation of how science proceeds. It isn’t, for a host of reasons (empirical and theoretical).

  25. 25
    bornagain77 says:

    Bob O’H, Falsification is how science proceeds. Elsewise any explanation would suffice.

    I challenge you to empirically prove that empirical falsification is falsified. i.e. exactly what repeatable empirical result that contradicted a theory did not falsify that theory?

    I will get my popcorn as this ought to be hugely entertaining.

    Meanwhile in the real world:

    The Scientific Method – Richard Feynman – video
    Quote: ‘If it disagrees with experiment, it’s wrong. In that simple statement is the key to science. It doesn’t make any difference how beautiful your guess is, it doesn’t matter how smart you are who made the guess, or what his name is… If it disagrees with experiment, it’s wrong. That’s all there is to it.”
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OL6-x0modwY

    The primary reasons why Darwinism is a pseudo-science instead of a proper science are as such:

    1. No Rigid Mathematical Basis (Falsification Criteria)
    2. No Demonstrated Empirical Basis
    3. Random Mutation and Natural Selection are both grossly inadequate as ‘creative engines’
    4. Information is not reducible to a material basis, (in fact, in quantum teleportation it is found that material ultimately reduces to a information basis)
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1oaPcK-KCppBztIJmXUBXTvZTZ5lHV4Qg_pnzmvVL2Qw/edit

  26. 26
    Bob O'H says:

    Bob O’H, Falsification is how science proceeds. Elsewise any explanation would suffice.

    I challenge you to empirically prove that empirical falsification is falsified. i.e. exactly what repeatable empirical result that contradicted a theory did not falsify that theory?

    I’ve already done that. If you want more, read Chapter 7 of Chalmers’ book (naughty pdf link). Gravitation and Bohr’s theory of the atom are two examples he gives: the moon’s orbit falsified Newton’s gravity, and the existence of atoms for more than 10^-8 s falsified Bohr’s theory.

  27. 27
    bornagain77 says:

    Bob O’H, as already pointed out, those examples prove my point on falsification exactly. Greater measurement accuracy falsified what were falsely thought to be falsifications.
    Moreover, Newton’s theory of gravity, due to more accurate experimentation that verified Einstein’s General Relativity, is now falsified as to being an accurate description of reality.
    As well, Bohr’s model of the atom is now also experimentally falsified as to being an accurate description of the atom and has now been superseded:

    History of the Atom – timeline image
    http://wsc11sci.wikispaces.com.....istory.png

    The Bohr model is a relatively primitive model of the hydrogen atom, compared to the valence shell atom. As a theory, it can be derived as a first-order approximation of the hydrogen atom using the broader and much more accurate quantum mechanics and thus may be considered to be an obsolete scientific theory. However, because of its simplicity, and its correct results for selected systems (see below for application), the Bohr model is still commonly taught to introduce students to quantum mechanics or energy level diagrams before moving on to the more accurate, but more complex, valence shell atom.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bohr_model

    Experimental and Theoretical Shortcomings of the Bohr model
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B.....ortcomings

    It is not good Bob O”H that two of your examples of theories that you gave to try to say experimental falsification in science is now falsified have now in fact been experimentally falsified as accurate descriptions of reality.

    Now that is what is truly ‘ironic’.

    Alanis Morissette – Ironic (Video)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jne9t8sHpUc

  28. 28
    bornagain77 says:

    Bob, speaking about ironic, check out this headline on a article that was just ‘coincidentally’ loaded on Physorg an hour ago:

    New measures call theories about endocytosis into question – Feb. 19, 2015
    http://phys.org/news/2015-02-t.....tosis.html

    I guess Physorg forgot that experimental falsification was falsified.

    “There are no coincidences in God’s world”
    AA saying

  29. 29
    Bob O'H says:

    Bob O’H, as already pointed out, those examples prove my point on falsification exactly. Greater measurement accuracy falsified what were falsely thought to be falsifications.

    *sigh* But under the falsificationist account of science, Newton and Bohr should have discarded their theories, not hang on to them.

    How would you decide when any observation that appears to falsify a theory actually is a falsification, i.e. the theory it falsifies should be discarded, and when do you decide to keep the theory and wait for the apparent falsification to be falsified?

    BTW, saying something is ironic, and citing Alanis Morissette is generally a pretty good indication that you don’t know what irony is. Unless, of course, you were being ironic.

  30. 30
    bornagain77 says:

    Bob as to: “But under the falsificationist account of science, Newton and Bohr should have discarded their theories, not hang on to them.”

    Bob, it is complete idiocy that you would appeal to questionable empirical evidence in those instances to say that falsification is empirically falsified. i.e. You yourself are trying to use faulty empirical evidence to falsify the principle of falsification. Does this slight of hand really need to be pointed out to you! I guess you just can’t teach common sense!

    You also ask:

    “How would you decide when any observation that appears to falsify a theory actually is a falsification, i.e. the theory it falsifies should be discarded, and when do you decide to keep the theory and wait for the apparent falsification to be falsified?”

    The fairly recent claim that the speed of light was violated at the CERN lab is a prime example of inaccurate measurement giving the appearance of falsification. Although the issue was resolved in fairly short order and found to be due to measurement errors,

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F.....ent_errors

    ,,, I can guarantee you that if the speed of light were claimed to have been falsified, and that the measurement error would not have been found in short order, that there would have been no shortage of attempts to ‘falsify the falsification’. Only after many years of rigorous confirmation of the falsification would the falsification have been formally accepted across the board.

    p.s. dissing Alanis Morissette is no excuse for you blatantly violating the law of non-contradiction as you have done and trying to call it mere ‘irony’.

    Alanis Morissette – Hand In My Pocket
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LQ8D5Ihe4hg

  31. 31
    Zachriel says:

    bornagain77: it is complete idiocy

    You don’t seem to be addressing the point. Newton’s Theory was known to have anomalies, that is, naïve falsifications; yet, scientists didn’t discard the theory.

    All models are wrong, but some are useful. — George E. P. Box

  32. 32
    Bob O'H says:

    Bob, it is complete idiocy that you would appeal to questionable empirical evidence in those instances to say that falsification is empirically falsified

    In the Bohr example, the ‘falsifying’ observation was that atoms exist for longer than 10ns. I’m not sure that really counts as “questionable empirical evidence”: I think the evidence that they last for longer is fairly solid.

  33. 33
    bornagain77 says:

    Zach, try reading for comprehension, i.e. ‘now falsified as to being an accurate description of reality.’

    You quote that ‘All models are wrong’. Okie dokie, show me exactly where Quantum Mechanics and/or General Relativity have been empirically falsified as to being accurate descriptions of reality.

  34. 34
    Zachriel says:

    bornagain77: ‘now falsified as to being an accurate description of reality.’

    The anomalous perihelion precession of Mercury ‘falsified’ Newton’s Theory. Does that mean the theory should have been discarded? You do realize Newton’s Theory is still taught?

    bornagain77: show me exactly where Quantum Mechanics and/or General Relativity have been empirically falsified as to being accurate descriptions of reality.

    As they are incompatible, one or both is wrong is some aspect or other.

  35. 35
    bornagain77 says:

    So Bob O’H do you now accept the Bohr model is an accurate description of reality? If not why not?

    I’ll give you a clue, any other answer than the Bohr model was ultimately empirically falsified as a accurate description of reality is wrong.

  36. 36
    bornagain77 says:

    Oh goody Bob, you now have Zach defending your insanity. ,,, Well I guess I have nothing left to do than resign the thread and admit defeat at such precise reasoning as is being displayed by you two.

    Believe what you guys want. I’m done pointing out the obvious!

  37. 37
    Piotr says:

    #31

    And nobody will discard a useful model only because it isn’t universally applicable. No model ever is. Any competing model has to be demonstrably more useful. In other words, to replace a hypothesis falsified by a set of empirical observations (let’s call it X) you need a new hypothesis which not only accounts for everything covered by the old one, but can be tested against X and passes the test better.

  38. 38
    Zachriel says:

    bornagain77: any other answer than the Bohr model was ultimately empirically falsified as a accurate description of reality is wrong.

    The Bohr model is better than previous models of the atom, but not as good as modern models.
    https://www.iaea.org/sites/default/files/iaea-logo.png

    The Relativity of Wrong
    http://chem.tufts.edu/answersi.....fwrong.htm

  39. 39
    Zachriel says:

    bornagain77: Well I guess I have nothing left to do …

    but answer a couple of basic questions about your position. The anomalous perihelion precession of Mercury ‘falsified’ Newton’s Theory. Does that mean Newton’s Theory should have been discarded? You do realize Newton’s Theory is still taught?

  40. 40
    Joe says:

    Piotr, Unguided evolution isn’t useful and cannot be modeled.

  41. 41
    Joe says:

    To reiterate what bornagain77 posted:

    In general, we look for a new law by the following process: First we guess it; then we compute the consequences of the guess to see what would be implied if this law that we guessed is right; then we compare the result of the computation to nature, with experiment or experience, compare it directly with observation, to see if it works. If it disagrees with experiment, it is wrong. In that simple statement is the key to science. It does not make any difference how beautiful your guess is, it does not make any difference how smart you are, who made the guess, or what his name is — if it disagrees with experiment, it is wrong.- Richard Feynman

    That is falsification.

  42. 42
    Joe says:

    Zachriel:

    As they are incompatible, one or both is wrong is some aspect or other.

    Or just incomplete.

  43. 43
    CHartsil says:

    Falsifiability will absolutely survive. Without it you can inject any supernatural magical claim into any gap.

  44. 44
    Joe says:

    Falsifiability will absolutely survive. Without it you can inject any magical natural-sounding claim into any gap.

  45. 45
    Mapou says:

    Joe:

    Falsifiability will absolutely survive. Without it you can inject any magical natural-sounding claim into any gap.

    LOL. It is amazing and hilarious that materialists are guilty of precisely the same sin they impute to ID proponents. A clear case of pot, kettle and black. By some pseudoscientific magic that will remain forever unknown, life arose from matter all by itself. Therefore there was no need for a creator. Are those know-it-alls working to falsify that hypothesis as they would be required to do if they were true scientists? Of course not. Religions are exempt.

    ahahaha…AHAHAHA…ahahaha…

  46. 46
    CHartsil says:

    That was a pretty horrible attempt at a jab. The natural is by definition testable, falsifiable and subject to constant certain variables

  47. 47
    CHartsil says:

    Some pseudoscientific magic? I think you’re mistaking abiogenetic study for ID creationism.

    We actually have hypotheses that account for the origin of organic compounds with known, natural mechanisms.

  48. 48
    Mapou says:

    Abiogenesis is just superstitious crap in the “not even wrong” category. It is trying to prove what it assumes. True science works the opposite way: it looks for a way or ways to disprove what it assumes. Science 101.

  49. 49
    Joe says:

    CH:

    The natural is by definition testable, falsifiable and subject to constant certain variables

    The intelligent design is natural.

  50. 50
    velikovskys says:

    Joe:

    The intelligent design is natural.

    Some is, are you saying that the fine tuning of nature laws is caused by natural law?

  51. 51
    Axel says:

    ‘….abiogenetic study?’ What’s to study?

    You mean ‘speculation as to the possibility of discovering a natural phenomenon such as to give meaning to the term, “abiogenesis”‘, don’t you?

  52. 52
    CHartsil says:

    Joe, if ID is to be considered purely natural then it doesn’t answer anything. It only moves the question of the origin of life and intelligence elsewhere. Of course, ID has yet to move on from hypothesis so that’s jumping the gun.

    Axel, no I mean the past 60 years of organic chemistry studying the origin of everything from purine bases to ribonucleotides.

  53. 53
    ScuzzaMan says:

    Ah, just “some preexisting philosophical prejudices“, eh?

    Well, I suppose a dogmatic naturalism would be the first of those to discard.

    Oh, wait! …

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