Pyramid Philosophical

Monday, August 23, 2010

Hypothesis And Theory

A hypothesis based on a concept is formulated and the theory later developed that explains the mechanism by which the hypothesis works when supportive, but not conclusive, observational evidence exists. Proof can never happen, only more results that are consistent can be observed. There comes a time, however, when hypothesis and the explanatory theory become established fact. Prediction of future observation will almost certainly convince doubters or possible skeptics that the 'established facts' are absolutely correct. The problem from here is that the accepted theory cannot be wrong. Later observed facts that cannot easily be explained based on a theory that may itself be wrong can result in small errors becoming large errors. Everything starts to fail, but the Hypothesis and Theory remain unchanged.

The Big Bang Expanded

The accepted theory can't be wrong though as this 'attacks' too many egos. It's also when hostility can start in the defense of beliefs in a theory that attempts to 'prove' a simple hypothesis. Arrogance can be anticipated from those who refuse to consider any alternative may exist that better explains all the observed facts with nothing added or taken away. Maybe it will not 'answer' any question. It may even pose many more questions. If any concept - hypothesis - theory is correct then everything will fit perfectly. Theories are themselves developed from existing theories that may themselves be wrong.

Richard Feynman

 - a correct approach? Certainly more logical and realistic.

The Paradoxical Scientist

Hypothesis has starting and end points. The danger is that any preconceived starting point and the consequential post-accepted absolutes of 'proven fact' cause failure. The mighty oak that does not yield to the increasing strength of winds of test will eventually collapse. The damage is complete and the later evidential proof becomes failure. But the abandonment of a 'long-standing' theory is extremely rare. The length of time that a theory has existed just strengthens belief, regardless of the integrity of argument in the light of new information. Support for a belief can be from those who simply... just believe. There will always be those who will remain in denial even after the evidence strongly suggests an alternative mechanism to an incorrect theory that supposedly explains nothing more than hypothesis, itself nothing more than conjecture.

Human thinking can be very defective, however sincere or motivated. If something is wrong, it remains wrong and mustn't be defended. That way just hinders and hides the truth from those who seek it.