>GM1 The big problem comes in the 3rd paragraph. You write: "As explained in
Ref. 1, a key logical principle typically used in science is proof by
elimination, "PE". According to PE, if there is a theory that describes a
certain real event and all other possible natural hypothesis for explaining
that certain event are false except for one specific natural hypothesis,
then this one non-false natural hypothesis is the correct theory. "
>GM1 I have been in science for 30 years or so and have never heard of such a
You claim you have never heard of it, but in your discussion you work with
the PE idea. For example, you present examples where one had thought they
proven a theory true, but turned out to be false when other theories not yet
determined false turned out to be correct. Perhaps you do agree with me that
PE is a valid logical concept for determining the truth about reality. You
just wanted to point out that people still often make premature conclusions
before they objectively rule out all the other possible hypothesis. I would
certainly agree with this point.
A key logical concept used in Science for determining the truth about reality
is called Proof by Elimination (PE). If there is a theory that describes a
certain reality and all possible hypothesis for explaining that certain
reality are false except for one hypothesis, then PE implies that this one
non-false hypothesis is true. For example, if there were 10 different
possible hypothesis for explaining a certain event and it was shown that 9
out of the 10 were implausible, implying they were false, then there would be
a logical case that the one remaining plausible hypothesis was true.
The two assumptions PE is based upon is that there is a correct theory for
explaining the reality being investigated and that reality follows the law of
no contradiction. Without these two assumptions reason could not determine
the truth about any reality, supernatural or natural. If there is a correct
theory that describes a certain reality and all possible hypothesis for
explaining that certain reality are false except for one hypothesis, then PE
implies that this one non-false hypothesis is true. If the remaining
hypothesis was also false then there would be no correct theory which would
contradict the premise that there is a correct theory. Thus, if the premise
that there is a correct theory is true then the one non-false hypothesis must
be true otherwise the premise would be contradicted. Thus, PE is derived from
the requirement for no contradiction which is a fundamental logical
principal. Since PE is derived from a logical concept PE is also a logical
concept. Science attempts to use PE and other logical concepts to determine
the truth about reality; thus, the scientific procedure has the potential to
logically determine something true about reality.
Making a scientific case for some claim involves showing all possible
hypothesis are false except for one. Thus, the scientific procedure involves
determining what are all the possible hypothesis and collecting relevant data
from observations to check if the data implies any of the possible hypothesis
false. Observation of reality plays a key role in the scientific process
because observation is the one source of information humans themselves have
about reality. Thus, a scientist job involves collecting as much relevant
observations through experiments or research to see if any of the information
implies any of the possible hypothesis false. If it can be definitely shown
that all possible hypothesis are false except for one, then a case has been
made that the one hypothesis that is not false is true. Hypothesis are shown
false by either deterministic criterion or indeterministic criterion.
>GM1 The problem is that if all known theories save one has been falsified,
this is no guarantee that the remaining is correct. It also might be wrong
and the case may fall into one of several possibilities:
I did not claim all known theories except one falsified, but I claimed all
possible theories except one falsified. Depending upon human knowledge there
can be a big difference between the two. I agree that for especially
continuous phenomenon in most cases it is not possible to determine all the
possible hypothesis nonetheless rule all of them out except for one. However,
especially for discrete phenomenon it is more possible to identify all
possible hypothesis and rule out all except for one. For example, the number
off large moons orbiting earth involves a discrete phenomenon. There are
either 1, 2, 3, ‚Ä¶ I think it is possible to rule out the theory that there
are 2 or more. It is evident there is at least one, thus, PE determines there
actually is only one.
>GM1 1. no one has thought of the correct theory. Aristotelian mechanics
was falsified by Galileo, but his theory (not falsified) wasn't quite
correct either. Newton came along and fixed it, but his wasn't quite correct
either so Einstein corrected that. To date, there is little reason to correct
Einstein, but that doesn't mean that in the future we won't see a need.
>GM1 2. People reject the wrong theory for inadequate reasons. Continental
drift is an example of this. Wegner, Du Toit and others argued long and hard
that the continents had been connected and then moved apart. In the 20's the
AAPG held a conference in which they questioned everything about drift
including Wegener's parentage. They rejected it based upon the notion that
there was no mechanism which could account for the continental motion. They
were wrong. In the 1960s evidence was found which resurrected the theory and
provided a new mechanism Thus their falsification of drift was false.
>GM1 3. The mathematics for the development of the theory may not have been
invented yet. General relativity could not be invented until Riemannian
algebra was invented in the 1800s. If anyone had suggested General
Relativity to a friend in 1750, it would have been rejected as the creation
of a mad man.
Those that claimed the planet orbit was a circle were proved wrong when it
was found the actual orbit matched the ellipse better. Those that claimed the
circle orbit theory was correct never proved there was no other possible
orbit theory such as the elliptical one. Those that claimed the planet orbit
was an ellipse were proved wrong when it was found the relativity
perturbation to the ellipse matched the actual orbit better. Those that
claimed the elliptical orbit theory was correct never proved there was no
other possible orbit theory. I could go on, but the point is clear, your
examples do not show that PE incorrectly determined a theory true rather it
was the human individual who made incorrect presumptions.
>GM1 4. Our minds very well might not be able to comprehend the true theory.
This is becoming a worry among physicists trying to develop a theory of
everything. When we begin to work with math of 10-11 dimensions and attempt
to deal with non-linearities in those dimensions, we may never truly
understand the full implications of what we have wrought.
Fundamental physics involve evaluation of fields which are defined by
continuous complicated mathematical functions. Certainly scientist have made
great strides in rejecting false theories and getting closer to the correct
one; however, it is difficult if not humanly impossible to determine all the
possible hypotheses for Fundamental physics nonetheless reject all the
possible but one.
>GM1 5. One can never rule out that invisible leprechauns actually cause
everything to happen in the universe. Thus by your methodology, this becomes
the correct theory because one can find difficulties with every other theory
of man. But this one can't be so falsified and must therefore be true.
If all possible natural hypothesis have been ruled out then PE implies the
supernatural intervened which may be some supernatural being like leprechauns
or God. This is the point I developed in detail in the following URL.
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