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Re: [ontolog-forum] Dennett on the Darwinism of Memes

To: ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
From: Tara Athan <taraathan@xxxxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 01 May 2013 14:01:55 -0400
Message-id: <51815893.5070809@xxxxxxxxxx>
On 5/1/13 1:01 PM, John F Sowa wrote:
Mathematics can be used to disprove a theory by showing that it is
inconsistent with observations.
I, and some others such as Karl Popper, wouldn't agree with your first statement.

" In point of fact, no conclusive disproof of a theory can ever be produced;  . . .   If you insist on strict proof (or strict disproof) in the empirical sciences, you will never benefit from experience, and never learn from it how wrong you are."



All observations have experimental error/uncertainty. Given a large number of observations that are inconsistent with a theory, there is still a non-zero, but very small, probability that the theory is correct, and those observations arose from unlikely events in the tails of the probability distributions for the observations. In order to make progress, (most) scientists agree to not waste their time on such theories, but they are not disproven - they are refuted, and then discarded.


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