Testability and Hypotheses, Dane et al

F. Frank LeFever flefever at ix.netcom.com
Mon Nov 23 22:35:03 EST 1998


Two comments: (1) weird cros-posting!
              (2) basic question is whether a theory can generate      
                  hypotheses which are IN PRINCIPLE testable; if so,   
                  they are meaningful scientifically (others may be so 
                  "aesthetically" or whatever).  Whether they are      
                   practically testable is another matter.

I am old enough to remember hypotheses about "the other side of the
moon" being cited as examples of meaningful hypotheses (testable in
principle) that were not testable in practice...

F. Frank LeFever, Ph.D.
New York Neuropsychology Group




In <3659B800.AD2F4594 at indiana.edu> Shaft <qmorrisREMOVE at indiana.edu>
writes: 
>
>Idiotic. I'm sure you would say that Darwin's Theory of Evolution
>was also untestable. In a very narrow way of thinking, you are
>correct. If you define "testable" to mean "testable today and only
>today", your argument may hold up. But of course it is unreasonable
>to define "testable" as anything but "testable, today and in the
future".
>Let me point out the flaw in your reasoning.
>
>Darwin's original hypothesis was untestable in his time, but it is
>certainly testable (and has been tested) today. The difference
>between his hypothesis and the hypothesis of Creation of God's
>existence is that the latter CANNOT be tested for verification/
>falsification.
>
>You are correct when you point out that there are some hypotheses
>that cannot adequately be tested at present. But the hypotheses are
>desgined to be testable, despite our contemporaneous inability to
>test such hypotheses. E = mc^2 is, of course, a hypothesis, a
>theory by some peoples' accounts, even. But it IS being tested,
>and has been tested since Michaelson.
>
>I think your argument (quoted below) is terribly weak. A cogent
>argument can be madeheological hypotheses were never meant to
>be tested scientifically. But you can make up your own mind on
>that.
>
>shaft
>
>Dane Myers wrote:
>
>> Fully one third of the current hypothesis in high energy physics are
>> untestable; the Standard Model fits current empirical theory fairly
well,
>> and you'd be run out the back door permanently were you to accuse
the big
>> boys at CERN or SLAC of running on faith.  But E still equals mc^2,
Higgs
>> bosons still decay to leptons, and although not very pretty, the
Standard
>> Model is still empirically pleasing.  Now tell me again why
testability must
>> predicate science?
>>
>> Shaft wrote in message <36532160.4995D522 at indiana.edu>...
>> >
>> >You can search for middle ground in the fray of the arguments, and
>> >inhabit with your comfortable beliefs, but one fact remains. The
>> >numerous hypotheses of creation by the hand of God are
>> >UNTESTABLE, and therefore UNSCIENTIFIC.
>




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