Thank you for mentioning that point. My focus was primarily on the nature of fact, evidence, and proof, while falsification is more of the analysis of a theory or hypothesis and its legitimacy as a scientific one. While I certainly understand where he is coming from, this is a philosophy regarding the manner with which scientists approach their study of the physical realm. The concept of “…never increase knowledge, we only really reduce ignorance” is rather similar to the idea of “the glass is half empty” versus “the glass is half full.” As we discover reality that here-to-fore remained unknown, we both acquire knowledge and reduce ignorance.
The idea of falsifiability is a strong point none the less. The ability for a proposed theory to provide explanatory power and predictions that can be observed in material reality are what make Science what it is. Science is an intellectual tool for gaining knowledge about the world around us, or minimizing our ignorance of it if you’d like. But it is a tool that can only provide for us new facts about the material world, not the immaterial. Philosophy is our tool for seeking understanding of the underlying immaterial world which provides for humanity’s unique existence as well as our ability to communicate and make use of the way the cosmos works.
The concept of falsifiability is often utilized to refute certain Christian arguments regarding the activity of God in the creation of the cosmos as being unscientific. The theory of intelligent design and creation is often referred to derogatorily as “pseudo-science.” However, the theories can be falsified if the various hypotheses regarding alternatives to that theory can be demonstrated as true. This brings up the next point, are we talking about operational science or forensic science?
Operational science is the understanding of what is and can be. We are able to observe what consistently occurs and we can test it because the subject under study is actually repeatable. That is, we can test hypotheses that will allow us to experience them through experimentation so that we may say the hypotheses are either true or false with experiential certainty. However, in forensic science, we are studing what has already happened, but can not be repeated. The study of real events in history is a study of singularities. That is, events that happened once and can only happen once because of what is involved in those events. It is one thing to say that we can set up hypotheses which if demonstrated as true can deny our theory, it is another to apply that to forensic sciences.
The reality is that the results of hypothetical testing will either demonstrate the hypothesis to be true or false. Much like the idea of glass half empty or glass half full. We can only know that something is true if we experience it as being so. If we do not experience it as being true, then it remains only a possibility. If a possibility is accepted as true without experiencing (observing, testing) it to be so, it is a belief. What justifies that belief is the body of facts utilized to point to the validity of that belief (evidence). From there, it is a matter of the presuppositional framework of the individual to fill in the gaps and accept the belief as true based on the evidence presented. That is, the ‘proof’ of something not yet having been experienced as true to be true is dependent upon the individual, not so much the facts.
However, this does not take away from the underlying point. If a theory is setup in such a manner that it can not be refuted by testing, it is purely based upon the contextual framework the presenter places their conclusion or theory. Obviously that framework itself can be tested and refuted, resulting in the whole theory failing none the less. Such as Marx’s theories regarding humanity. Unfortunately for Marx, the reality is that humanity has not changed in the basic nature of its behavior, nor can it be said that humanity has ‘improved’ or ‘evolved’ the nature of its behavior. The only thing that has changed is the technology created by humanity.
Thank you again for introducing another perspective on the subject. I was planning on doing another article discussing the subject of falsifiability and theories to follow along from this article’s train of thought. Glad to see that the direction I was intending to guide readers has apparently worked effectively. I greatly appreciate it! Be well my friend.
With kindness and respect,