Saturday, January 08, 2005

Hot Abercrombie Chick on true theories being scientific

Hot Abercrombie Chick Posts: true theories scientific

I like to read this woman's blog. I find many interesting things here and her take on life is always fun to read. This chick is pretty conservative, and I doubt she believes in ghosts, but she does have a good point that EVP believers and skeptics alike may want to take into account:

Does a theory have to be scientific to be true?

She is talking in the context of the theory of evolution, of course, and not the paranormal, but the principles are the same and she has some tasty food for thought for all of us.

Paleontologists, anthropologists, astronomers, and just about everyone else who studies things from the past is forced to make assumptions that they cannot always prove with hard physical science when they form their theories. Yet we often take this as real "science" because we don't have any way to prove it wrong and don't call what these people do "crazy" or "impossible"; well, at least not anymore.

Her fictional example, similar to what you will see in any natural history museum, concerns the color of prehistoric flower J32. Her pretend scientists have decided based on environmental evidence that the petals of this flower were bright orange.

There is no way to prove this scientifically since we have no more J32's to look at and the existing measuring equipment technology cannot detect anything that would tell us what the actual color was. So is this theory scientific, even if it turns out to be true?

Well, it seems the answer is no. It might be true, but it's not scientific. Yet scientists often try and pass this kind of thing off as science, because it was based on environmental evidence and the theories of the leaders in the field. They stick it in the museums and the text books and the rest of us just go along because we can't prove it's not wrong.

Hum, doesn't sound like the way we treat those in the paranormal studies, does it?

In her post on evolutions, Abercrombie Chick says:
"For a hypothesis/theory to be scientific, it must (by Popper's generally accepted standard) be falsifiable - that is, it must be possible for it to be shown to be false. If a theory isn't of the sort that could be shown to be false, it doesn't count as a scientific theory. That does not, of course, mean that it is not or could not be true - it simply means that it isn't something that can be dealt with from within scientific methodology. "

Gee, that sounds a lot like ghost hunting for EVP. No scientist has proved ghosts don't exist or EVP is not possible communication with the dead. As a matter of fact, the few scientists who tried failed miserably to prove their theories.

So evolution gets in textbooks and EVP is laughed at by the scientific community. Sound to you like maybe science has a little double standard here since ghost hunters don't wear white coats and have fancy labs or lot's of letters behind their names?

Food for thought.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Just starting out in my own EVP investigations. I'm not what you would call an out and out skeptic, but the need to think with a clear head and to exhaust all possible avenues in respect of this phenomenon is of great importance if the men with the multitude of letters after their name are to think outside of the box, and as I think we all know they have been proved (in many areas of living, not just paranormal)they have been misguided to say the least.