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Unfalsifiable Theories

Orangatang
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2/2/2014 2:39:39 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
Are unfalsifiable hypothesis strong, because they can never be proven wrong, or weak because they can never be proven right (or tested at all)? Some of these hypothesis include:

1) We are brains in a Vat
2) God
3) Everything was created 20 minutes ago, with all our memories included.

Some statements are only falsifiable in theory, while others are even falsifiable in practice. For example, "It will be raining in Texas in 500 million years" this is theoretically falsifiable, but not practically so. I find theories that are unfalsifiable to be very weak because falsifiability is one key criteria for scientific theories.
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Installgentoo
Posts: 1,420
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2/2/2014 3:14:02 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 2/2/2014 2:39:39 PM, Orangatang wrote:
I find theories that are unfalsifiable to be very weak because falsifiability is one key criteria for scientific theories.

Science is not the only way we can find out about the outside world.
Orangatang
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2/2/2014 3:17:46 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 2/2/2014 3:14:02 PM, Installgentoo wrote:
At 2/2/2014 2:39:39 PM, Orangatang wrote:
I find theories that are unfalsifiable to be very weak because falsifiability is one key criteria for scientific theories.

Science is not the only way we can find out about the outside world.

True, but it is probably the best and most important.
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Installgentoo
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2/2/2014 3:21:28 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 2/2/2014 3:17:46 PM, Orangatang wrote:
At 2/2/2014 3:14:02 PM, Installgentoo wrote:
At 2/2/2014 2:39:39 PM, Orangatang wrote:
I find theories that are unfalsifiable to be very weak because falsifiability is one key criteria for scientific theories.

Science is not the only way we can find out about the outside world.

True, but it is probably the best and most important.

That depends on what you want to find out about the world. Science is not omniscient.
Orangatang
Posts: 442
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2/2/2014 3:24:22 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 2/2/2014 3:21:28 PM, Installgentoo wrote:
At 2/2/2014 3:17:46 PM, Orangatang wrote:
At 2/2/2014 3:14:02 PM, Installgentoo wrote:
At 2/2/2014 2:39:39 PM, Orangatang wrote:
I find theories that are unfalsifiable to be very weak because falsifiability is one key criteria for scientific theories.

Science is not the only way we can find out about the outside world.

True, but it is probably the best and most important.

That depends on what you want to find out about the world. Science is not omniscient.

I never said it was, it is the single best tool humans use to find the truth about our universe. If you have a better method then explain.
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Installgentoo
Posts: 1,420
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2/2/2014 3:26:23 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 2/2/2014 3:24:22 PM, Orangatang wrote:
At 2/2/2014 3:21:28 PM, Installgentoo wrote:
At 2/2/2014 3:17:46 PM, Orangatang wrote:
At 2/2/2014 3:14:02 PM, Installgentoo wrote:
At 2/2/2014 2:39:39 PM, Orangatang wrote:
I find theories that are unfalsifiable to be very weak because falsifiability is one key criteria for scientific theories.

Science is not the only way we can find out about the outside world.

True, but it is probably the best and most important.

That depends on what you want to find out about the world. Science is not omniscient.

I never said it was,

Except you say any theory or explanation of anything that is unfalsifiable is wrong, meaning you think that everything about the world has to be found out by experiment, which is the essence of the scientific method.
Orangatang
Posts: 442
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2/2/2014 3:32:31 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 2/2/2014 3:26:23 PM, Installgentoo wrote:
At 2/2/2014 3:24:22 PM, Orangatang wrote:
At 2/2/2014 3:21:28 PM, Installgentoo wrote:
At 2/2/2014 3:17:46 PM, Orangatang wrote:
At 2/2/2014 3:14:02 PM, Installgentoo wrote:
At 2/2/2014 2:39:39 PM, Orangatang wrote:
I find theories that are unfalsifiable to be very weak because falsifiability is one key criteria for scientific theories.

Science is not the only way we can find out about the outside world.

True, but it is probably the best and most important.

That depends on what you want to find out about the world. Science is not omniscient.

I never said it was,

Except you say any theory or explanation of anything that is unfalsifiable is wrong, meaning you think that everything about the world has to be found out by experiment, which is the essence of the scientific method.

I never said that. I said that unfalsifiable theories are weak because there is no way to test or observe them. Get your facts straight.
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Orangatang
Posts: 442
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2/2/2014 3:34:14 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 2/2/2014 3:26:23 PM, Installgentoo wrote:
At 2/2/2014 3:24:22 PM, Orangatang wrote:
At 2/2/2014 3:21:28 PM, Installgentoo wrote:
At 2/2/2014 3:17:46 PM, Orangatang wrote:
At 2/2/2014 3:14:02 PM, Installgentoo wrote:
At 2/2/2014 2:39:39 PM, Orangatang wrote:
I find theories that are unfalsifiable to be very weak because falsifiability is one key criteria for scientific theories.

Science is not the only way we can find out about the outside world.

True, but it is probably the best and most important.

That depends on what you want to find out about the world. Science is not omniscient.

I never said it was,

Except you say any theory or explanation of anything that is unfalsifiable is wrong, meaning you think that everything about the world has to be found out by experiment, which is the essence of the scientific method.

And again, I said the scientific method is the best way for discerning truth in our universe. I did not say it is the only way.
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Installgentoo
Posts: 1,420
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2/2/2014 3:54:21 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 2/2/2014 3:34:14 PM, Orangatang wrote:
At 2/2/2014 3:26:23 PM, Installgentoo wrote:
At 2/2/2014 3:24:22 PM, Orangatang wrote:
At 2/2/2014 3:21:28 PM, Installgentoo wrote:
At 2/2/2014 3:17:46 PM, Orangatang wrote:
At 2/2/2014 3:14:02 PM, Installgentoo wrote:
At 2/2/2014 2:39:39 PM, Orangatang wrote:
I find theories that are unfalsifiable to be very weak because falsifiability is one key criteria for scientific theories.

Science is not the only way we can find out about the outside world.

True, but it is probably the best and most important.

That depends on what you want to find out about the world. Science is not omniscient.

I never said it was,

Except you say any theory or explanation of anything that is unfalsifiable is wrong, meaning you think that everything about the world has to be found out by experiment, which is the essence of the scientific method.

And again, I said the scientific method is the best way for discerning truth in our universe. I did not say it is the only way.

Okay I was just trying to warn you off of scientism, aka worshipping science.Science is aout finding truth and some science will not rely on testable axioms, so thinking using the scientific method is the sole best way of looking at reality is not a good way of going about determining what is true.
Orangatang
Posts: 442
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2/2/2014 4:10:17 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 2/2/2014 3:54:21 PM, Installgentoo wrote:
At 2/2/2014 3:34:14 PM, Orangatang wrote:
At 2/2/2014 3:26:23 PM, Installgentoo wrote:
At 2/2/2014 3:24:22 PM, Orangatang wrote:
At 2/2/2014 3:21:28 PM, Installgentoo wrote:
At 2/2/2014 3:17:46 PM, Orangatang wrote:
At 2/2/2014 3:14:02 PM, Installgentoo wrote:
At 2/2/2014 2:39:39 PM, Orangatang wrote:
I find theories that are unfalsifiable to be very weak because falsifiability is one key criteria for scientific theories.

Science is not the only way we can find out about the outside world.

True, but it is probably the best and most important.

That depends on what you want to find out about the world. Science is not omniscient.

I never said it was,

Except you say any theory or explanation of anything that is unfalsifiable is wrong, meaning you think that everything about the world has to be found out by experiment, which is the essence of the scientific method.

And again, I said the scientific method is the best way for discerning truth in our universe. I did not say it is the only way.

Okay I was just trying to warn you off of scientism, aka worshipping science.Science is aout finding truth and some science will not rely on testable axioms, so thinking using the scientific method is the sole best way of looking at reality is not a good way of going about determining what is true.

K. Agreed, any absolutist reality is usually bad.
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Wallstreetatheist
Posts: 7,132
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2/6/2014 6:17:58 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 2/2/2014 2:39:39 PM, Orangatang wrote:
Are unfalsifiable hypothesis strong, because they can never be proven wrong, or weak because they can never be proven right (or tested at all)? Some of these hypothesis include:

1) We are brains in a Vat
2) God
3) Everything was created 20 minutes ago, with all our memories included.

Some statements are only falsifiable in theory, while others are even falsifiable in practice. For example, "It will be raining in Texas in 500 million years" this is theoretically falsifiable, but not practically so. I find theories that are unfalsifiable to be very weak because falsifiability is one key criteria for scientific theories.

Texas won't be a place in 500,000,000 years due to shift of continents, populations, and the incredible instability of statism slavery.

Anyway, the falsifiability of a hypothesis is what imbues it with strength. Unfalsifiable claims are weak because they are unable to be proven false, which in turn means that one can never know if they are true.
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KnightArtorias
Posts: 103
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2/6/2014 7:19:09 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
Theories only have value when they help us navigate and understand reality. That's the point of them. Without the ability to be falsified, we have no way of knowing if a given proposition is true or not. It therefore fails at it's fundamental purpose.

Unfalsifiable arguments are weak, cowardly, and dishonorable arguments.
"Within us all, we are burdened. Hidden away. A murmur of the dark. Always seek the light of reason. Lest you slip and be devoured by the Abyss."
Noumena
Posts: 6,047
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2/6/2014 7:31:01 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
I think the preoccupation with falsifiability or unfalsifiability is reminiscent of bad epistemology.
: At 5/13/2014 7:05:20 PM, Crescendo wrote:
: The difference is that the gay movement is currently pushing their will on Churches, as shown in the link to gay marriage in Denmark. Meanwhile, the Inquisition ended several centuries ago.
popculturepooka
Posts: 7,924
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2/6/2014 7:39:52 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 2/6/2014 7:31:01 PM, Noumena wrote:
I think the preoccupation with falsifiability or unfalsifiability is reminiscent of bad epistemology.

^ I try to tell people this but they don't listen. *sigh*
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Noumena
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2/6/2014 7:40:17 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 2/6/2014 7:39:52 PM, popculturepooka wrote:
At 2/6/2014 7:31:01 PM, Noumena wrote:
I think the preoccupation with falsifiability or unfalsifiability is reminiscent of bad epistemology.

^ I try to tell people this but they don't listen. *sigh*

I wonder where you come from in espousing such a belief :/
: At 5/13/2014 7:05:20 PM, Crescendo wrote:
: The difference is that the gay movement is currently pushing their will on Churches, as shown in the link to gay marriage in Denmark. Meanwhile, the Inquisition ended several centuries ago.
AnDoctuir
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2/6/2014 8:15:27 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 2/6/2014 6:17:58 PM, Wallstreetatheist wrote:
At 2/2/2014 2:39:39 PM, Orangatang wrote:
Are unfalsifiable hypothesis strong, because they can never be proven wrong, or weak because they can never be proven right (or tested at all)? Some of these hypothesis include:

1) We are brains in a Vat
2) God
3) Everything was created 20 minutes ago, with all our memories included.

Some statements are only falsifiable in theory, while others are even falsifiable in practice. For example, "It will be raining in Texas in 500 million years" this is theoretically falsifiable, but not practically so. I find theories that are unfalsifiable to be very weak because falsifiability is one key criteria for scientific theories.

Texas won't be a place in 500,000,000 years due to shift of continents, populations, and the incredible instability of statism slavery.

Anyway, the falsifiability of a hypothesis is what imbues it with strength. Unfalsifiable claims are weak because they are unable to be proven false, which in turn means that one can never know if they are true.

You should try saying something intelligent sometime. The objection to unfalsifiable theories is only really twisted pragmatism.
Ipsofacto
Posts: 164
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2/12/2014 8:03:45 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 2/6/2014 7:31:01 PM, Noumena wrote:
I think the preoccupation with falsifiability or unfalsifiability is reminiscent of bad epistemology.

Well said.
Ipsofacto
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2/12/2014 8:28:20 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 2/6/2014 7:19:09 PM, KnightArtorias wrote:
Theories only have value when they help us navigate and understand reality. That's the point of them. Without the ability to be falsified, we have no way of knowing if a given proposition is true or not. It therefore fails at it's fundamental purpose.

Unfalsifiable arguments are weak, cowardly, and dishonorable arguments.

Knight,

I understand the impulse to desire such certitude, but openly wonder, to put it mildly, whether "falsification" delivers what it promises. As to the notion of "knowing if a given proposition is 'true' or not", Falsification never makes such a claim- at least in its commonly accepted form. Falsification, taken in its own terms, claims to separate falsehood from competing theories. To claim that such a move delivers "truth" is hyperbole, at best.

Again the impulse to seek certitude is rather noble, but, again, the notion that competitors to falsification are "weak cowardly, and dishonorable" is highly suspect itself. There are many claimants to knowledge, falsification is a relative newcomer, and, arguably, a rather suspect one at that.

Curious on your response.
KnightArtorias
Posts: 103
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2/12/2014 3:17:31 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 2/12/2014 8:28:20 AM, Ipsofacto wrote:
At 2/6/2014 7:19:09 PM, KnightArtorias wrote:
Theories only have value when they help us navigate and understand reality. That's the point of them. Without the ability to be falsified, we have no way of knowing if a given proposition is true or not. It therefore fails at it's fundamental purpose.

Unfalsifiable arguments are weak, cowardly, and dishonorable arguments.

Knight,

I understand the impulse to desire such certitude, but openly wonder, to put it mildly, whether "falsification" delivers what it promises. As to the notion of "knowing if a given proposition is 'true' or not", Falsification never makes such a claim- at least in its commonly accepted form. Falsification, taken in its own terms, claims to separate falsehood from competing theories. To claim that such a move delivers "truth" is hyperbole, at best.

Again the impulse to seek certitude is rather noble, but, again, the notion that competitors to falsification are "weak cowardly, and dishonorable" is highly suspect itself. There are many claimants to knowledge, falsification is a relative newcomer, and, arguably, a rather suspect one at that.

Curious on your response.

Of course no one can know anything with absolute certainty. That doesn't change the fact that any proposition is an attempt to discern reality. The purpose of theories is to try and assist us in understanding reality. I assume that much we agree upon.

The reason falsification is important is because it lends itself to greater accuracy. It allows us a method of actively disproving a proposition. Making it so that, when such falsification is not achieved, it is more likely that it is true. It's a more accurate method of navigating reality. Whereas unfalsifiable arguments...well, they're unfalsifiable. You have no way of knowing at all whether or not they are true, because you would have no way of demonstrating their fault. This is why unfalsifiable arguments are weak arguments.

I also call them cowardly and dishonorable because it seems to me that people only fall back on unfalsifiable arguments when they are desperate, and simply want to win an argument by now being able to be told they are wrong.
"Within us all, we are burdened. Hidden away. A murmur of the dark. Always seek the light of reason. Lest you slip and be devoured by the Abyss."
Wocambs
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2/12/2014 3:31:14 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
If a proposition isn't analytic, and it can't be verified, then it seems difficult to imagine how I would begin to believe in it.
Ipsofacto
Posts: 164
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2/12/2014 3:58:03 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
Of course no one can know anything with absolute certainty. That doesn't change the fact that any proposition is an attempt to discern reality. The purpose of theories is to try and assist us in understanding reality. I assume that much we agree upon.

The reason falsification is important is because it lends itself to greater accuracy. It allows us a method of actively disproving a proposition. Making it so that, when such falsification is not achieved, it is more likely that it is true. It's a more accurate method of navigating reality. Whereas unfalsifiable arguments...well, they're unfalsifiable. You have no way of knowing at all whether or not they are true, because you would have no way of demonstrating their fault. This is why unfalsifiable arguments are weak arguments.

I also call them cowardly and dishonorable because it seems to me that people only fall back on unfalsifiable arguments when they are desperate, and simply want to win an argument by now being able to be told they are wrong.

Knight,

Perhaps we agree more than we disagree. So let me state the obvious areas we share in common. Agreed, there are good arguments, and there are bad arguments. There are well articulated arguments and poorly articulated arguments. There are empirical arguments and rational ones as well.

So much for platitudes.

Having said that, there is this notion of falsification. Falsification, viewed in the most flattering light possible, attempts to winnow out the "bad" from the rest. Generously viewed, it is a safeguard,or an attempt at a safeguard, from some real quackery.

The problem I have with falsification is not its aim, I readily agree that there is a pragmatic real-life need to presenting cogent, well thought out and rigorous attempts at truth. What I do find suspect is an over reliance on falsification as a broadside against against metaphysics, writ large.

Secondly, I find some extensions of what falsification actually delivers is oversold. Namely, I see some, usually those in the hard sciences, using falsification in ways it was never intended. Simply put, falsification solves, or attempts to solve the "demarcation problem". It is not an apt description of how those engaged in the sciences actually work. I am thinking of Kuhn's critique here.

In the end, falsification is philosophic position- much in the tradition of logical positivism- which is subject to a rigorous critique of its aims, methods, and consistency. As such, I find it inconsistent with much of modern science.
Jack212
Posts: 572
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2/12/2014 6:22:07 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 2/2/2014 2:39:39 PM, Orangatang wrote:
Are unfalsifiable hypothesis strong, because they can never be proven wrong, or weak because they can never be proven right (or tested at all)? Some of these hypothesis include:

1) We are brains in a Vat
2) God
3) Everything was created 20 minutes ago, with all our memories included.

Some statements are only falsifiable in theory, while others are even falsifiable in practice. For example, "It will be raining in Texas in 500 million years" this is theoretically falsifiable, but not practically so. I find theories that are unfalsifiable to be very weak because falsifiability is one key criteria for scientific theories.

Newton's Flaming Laser Sword.

"If something cannot be tested through experiment/observation, it is not worth debating."

We cannot test the existence of God, time, or reality, or whether it will be raining in Texas in 500 million years, so they are not valid theories worthy of discussion.

The following subjects are also pretty much rooted:

1. Philosophy.
2. Theology.
3. Gender studies.
4. Literary criticism.
5. Superman vs. Thor debates.
zmikecuber
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2/12/2014 7:18:17 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 2/2/2014 2:39:39 PM, Orangatang wrote:
Are unfalsifiable hypothesis strong, because they can never be proven wrong, or weak because they can never be proven right (or tested at all)? Some of these hypothesis include:

1) We are brains in a Vat
2) God
3) Everything was created 20 minutes ago, with all our memories included.

Some statements are only falsifiable in theory, while others are even falsifiable in practice. For example, "It will be raining in Texas in 500 million years" this is theoretically falsifiable, but not practically so. I find theories that are unfalsifiable to be very weak because falsifiability is one key criteria for scientific theories.

Depending upon your definitions, some of these could be shown to be logically incoherent, and thus impossible.
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Orangatang
Posts: 442
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2/12/2014 7:26:20 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 2/12/2014 7:18:17 PM, zmikecuber wrote:
At 2/2/2014 2:39:39 PM, Orangatang wrote:
Are unfalsifiable hypothesis strong, because they can never be proven wrong, or weak because they can never be proven right (or tested at all)? Some of these hypothesis include:

1) We are brains in a Vat
2) God
3) Everything was created 20 minutes ago, with all our memories included.

Some statements are only falsifiable in theory, while others are even falsifiable in practice. For example, "It will be raining in Texas in 500 million years" this is theoretically falsifiable, but not practically so. I find theories that are unfalsifiable to be very weak because falsifiability is one key criteria for scientific theories.

Depending upon your definitions, some of these could be shown to be logically incoherent, and thus impossible.

Yes, but obviously if I use good definitions (which is easy) they can never be disproven.
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Orangatang
Posts: 442
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2/12/2014 7:33:06 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 2/12/2014 6:22:07 PM, Jack212 wrote:
At 2/2/2014 2:39:39 PM, Orangatang wrote:
Are unfalsifiable hypothesis strong, because they can never be proven wrong, or weak because they can never be proven right (or tested at all)? Some of these hypothesis include:

1) We are brains in a Vat
2) God
3) Everything was created 20 minutes ago, with all our memories included.

Some statements are only falsifiable in theory, while others are even falsifiable in practice. For example, "It will be raining in Texas in 500 million years" this is theoretically falsifiable, but not practically so. I find theories that are unfalsifiable to be very weak because falsifiability is one key criteria for scientific theories.

Newton's Flaming Laser Sword.

"If something cannot be tested through experiment/observation, it is not worth debating."

Wow it's a real thing. Lol.

We cannot test the existence of God, time, or reality, or whether it will be raining in Texas in 500 million years, so they are not valid theories worthy of discussion.

The following subjects are also pretty much rooted:

1. Philosophy.
2. Theology.
3. Gender studies.
4. Literary criticism.
5. Superman vs. Thor debates.

Even though God and other ideas are not falsifiable, I think it is definitely worthwhile to debate the subject to see if the existence of such a being is likely or not. Most people in this world put all of their trust and belief in a being that may not even be there, a debate (or many as in my case) can convince people to stop believing such uncertainties, and see the real universe through a more beautiful lens.
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Sswdwm
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2/12/2014 7:35:49 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
Generally the more in falsifiable a theory is, the more useless it becomes.

As such, I have no interest in useless theories, even if they were true.
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Ipsofacto
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2/12/2014 8:07:50 PM
Posted: 2 years ago

"If something cannot be tested through experiment/observation, it is not worth debating."


You realize the above assertion cannot be tested, right?

And is, in essence, a philosophic assertion.