RE: Rational Methodology for Evaluating Supernatural Claim

From: SHinrichs9@aol.com
Date: Tue Nov 28 2000 - 01:38:43 EST

  • Next message: Stein A. StrÝmme: "Re: Rational Methodology for Evaluating Supernatural Claim"

    >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
     method.

    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, … 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.
    http://members.aol.com/SHinrichs9/spntid.htm



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