Posts tagged ‘falsification’

November 7th, 2013

Truth Will Rise to the Top Through a Free and Open Exchange in the Marketplace of Ideas

by Max Andrews

The English poet John Milton did well when he said that “Truth will rise to the top through a free and open exchange in the marketplace of ideas.”  I am so encouraged when I have and see a substantive dialogue with someone concerning an issue.  This is certainly important in every day discussions, blogs, and teaching.  I assist in managing and teaching an Intro. to Philosophy course at university and I always encourage my students to make us work hard to convince them of what we believe to be true.  Do not simply sit there and take what I say and teach prima facie–challenge me, challenge the thoughts, challenge your thinking.

July 17th, 2013

The Problem of Historical Knowledge

by Max Andrews

One of the obscure claims by those who have been influenced by the postmodern tradition is the claim that history is not objective–at least, it cannot be objectively known. History can and is only reported from a bias perspective, thus it cannot be trusted as truly objective. It’s along the line of thought that winners write history.

So, here’s the question, “Can we actually know the past?”

January 8th, 2013

Popper’s Two Cents on Many Worlds

by Max Andrews

In this section (Quantum Theory and the Schism in Physics, Ed. W. W. Bartley, III (Totowa, NJ: Rowman and Littlefield, 1956, 1982), 89-95.) Karl Popper discusses his attraction to the Many Worlds Interpretation as well as the reasons for his rejection of it. Popper is actually quite pleased with Everett’s threefold contribution to the field of quantum physics. Despite his attraction to the interpretation he rejects it based on the falsifiability of the symmetry behind the Schrödinger equation.

Popper’s model allows for a theory to be scientific prior to supported evidence.  There is no positive case for purporting a theory under his model. There can only be a negative case to falsify it and as long as it may be potentially falsified it is scientific.  Thus, a scientific theory could have no evidence or substantiated facts to provide good reasons for why it may be true. What makes this discussion of the many worlds interpretation of quantum physics (MWI) interesting is that despite Popper’s attraction to MWI it’s not the attraction that makes it scientific, it’s his criterion of falsification.

Popper’s arguments:

In favor of MWI:

  1. The MWI is completely objective in its discussion of quantum mechanics.
  2. Everett removes the need and occasion to distinguish between ‘classical’ physical systems, like the measurement apparatus, and quantum mechanical systems, like elementary particles.  All systems are quantum (including the universe as a whole).
    read more »

October 23rd, 2012

Karl Popper on the Many Worlds Interpretation

by Max Andrews

In a brief section of Karl Popper’s Quantum Theory and the Schism in Physics[1] he discusses his attraction to the Many Worlds Interpretation of quantum physics as well as the reason for his rejection of it. Popper is actually quite pleased with Everett’s three-fold contribution to the field of quantum physics. Despite his attraction to the interpretation he rejects it based on the falsifiability of the symmetry behind the Schrödinger equation.

Popper’s model allows for a theory to be scientific prior to supported evidence.  There is no positive case for purporting a theory under his model. There can only be a negative case to falsify it and as long as it may be potentially falsified it is scientific.  Thus, a scientific theory could have no evidence or substantiated facts to provide good reasons for why it may be true. What makes this discussion of MWI interesting is that despite Popper’s attraction to MWI it’s not the attraction that makes it scientific, it’s his criterion of falsification.

In favor of MWI:

  1. The MWI is completely objective in its discussion of quantum mechanics.
  2. Everett removes the need and occasion to distinguish between ‘classical’ physical systems, like the measurement apparatus, and quantum mechanical systems, like elementary particles.  All systems are quantum (including the universe as a whole).
  3. Everett shows that the collapse of the state vector, something originally thought to be outside of Schrödinger’s theory, can be shown to arise within the universal [Schrödinger] wave function.
    read more »

October 14th, 2012

The Falsifiability of a Non-Fine-Tuning Hypothesis

by Max Andrews

There are two hypotheses for an explanation for the fine-tuning (FT) of nomic behavior we observe, which permits the existence of intelligent life. These hypotheses are that there is a fine-tuner responsible for causing the nomic behavior and a non-fine-tuner hypothesis–anything but a fine-tuner.

The two competing hypotheses rise and fall on the same crux. One of the problems with falsifying ~FT is that whatever falsifier may be presented it could always be attributed to this idea of cosmic Darwinism, the evolution of the multiverse itself. Paul Davies criticizes the multiverse because he believes it could never be falsified simply because many worlds can be used to explain anything. Science would become redundant and the regularities of nature would need no further investigation, because they could simply be explained as a selection effect, need to keep us alive and observing.[1]

July 26th, 2012

“It’s Just a Theory” — What’s a Scientific Theory?

by Max Andrews

A theory is distinct from a mere scientific explanation.  Scientific explanation requires a causal explanation, which requires a law-governed explanation.  Natural law describes but does not explain natural phenomena.  Newton’s law of universal gravitation described, but did not explain, what caused gravitational attraction.  Theories unify empirical regularities and describe the underlying process that accounts for these phenomena.  Within theories are axioms, a small set of postulates, which are not proved in the axiom system but assumed to be true.[1]

A theory goes beyond natural laws and scientific explanations in explaining the scientific explanations. A theory refers to a body of explanatory hypotheses for which there is strong support.[2]  Theories are a conjunction of axioms (of the laws of nature) and correspondence of rules specified in a formalized ideal language.  This ideal language is composed of three parts: logical terms, observational terms, and theoretical terms.  The logical terms were initially treated as analytic claims (particularly under the hypothetico-deductive model).  Observational claims were to be unproblematic, understood as referring to incorrigible sense-data and later to publicly available physical objects.  Correspondence rules were used to connect theoretical language to observational claims.[3]

January 27th, 2012

Flannelgraph Christianity

by Max Andrews

The following is a guest blog post by John Quin.  John, a 40-year-old electronics engineer working for the Australian Government. He was raised as a Seventh-Day Adventist, a fundamentalist Christian denomination that teaches elaborate narratives beyond what even scripture can reasonably support. It has only been in the last few years that John has simultaneously discovered the flaws with fundamentalism and strength of philosophical based Christian apologetics. John hopes to be able to share his new perspective on Christianity with as many people as God places in his path.

__________

The field of interaction between science and religion is quite vast and in this blog entry I will concentrate on a couple of issues that concern the impact science has had on Abrahamic monotheism/Christianity.

For many people who were raised as a Christian and then went on to study Science at University the religion they had once believed with childlike certainty seems to have been totally and utterly falsified. For them believing in Christianity has become completely unthinkable. But what exactly has been falsified, God’s existence, a Divine genesis, or perhaps the Incarnation and Resurrection of Christ? I would like to propose the hypothesis that the Christianity that has been falsified for many of these people is what I’ll refer to as “Flannelgraph Christianity”.

November 10th, 2011

The Free Exchange in the Marketplace of Ideas

by Max Andrews

The English poet John Milton did well when he said that “Truth will rise to the top through a free and open exchange in the marketplace of ideas.”  I am so encouraged when I have and see a substantive dialogue with someone concerning an issue.  This is certainly important in every day discussions, blogs, and teaching.  I assist in managing and teaching an Intro. to Philosophy course at university and I always encourage my students to make us work hard to convince them of what we believe to be true.  Do not simply sit there and take what I say and teach prima facie–challenge me, challenge the thoughts, challenge your thinking.