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Re: [ontolog-forum] Philosophy of science / ontology (was Dennett... )

To: ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
From: John F Sowa <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Thu, 09 May 2013 09:41:48 -0400
Message-id: <518BA79C.1000705@xxxxxxxxxxx>
To continue the discussion about Popper and "falsifiability" as
a criterion for a scientific theory, I'd like to quote a comment
by one of the scientists working with the Mars rover:    (01)

 From http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-22402849
> At first glance, it might seem obvious that it was through the action
> of flowing water (fluvial), but the Curiosity team needs to rule out
> the possibility that these rocks were deposited by the wind (aeolian)
> or by some kind of surge, such as the fast-moving clouds of gas and rock
> that will often plummet down the sides of particular types of volcano
> (a pyroclastic surge).
> "Aeolian. That's the one you always have to falsify on Mars because
> it's a windy planet," says Prof Grotzinger.    (02)

In this example, the hypothesis that the scientists strongly believe is
the "compelling evidence for a watery past in Gale - sediments that
possibly once formed a lakebed."    (03)

But first they have to rule out (i.e., falsify) the hypotheses that
the sediments were formed by the wind or by a pyroclastic surge.
When they rule them out, the only reasonable explanation is that
they were formed by flowing water.    (04)

Of course, there will always be some "fundamentalists" who claim that
those sediments were formed by God in 4004 BC.  That is a hypothesis
that no evidence can ever falsify.  Therefore, it is not scientific.    (05)

John    (06)

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