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December 5, 2011 / itsnobody

What is empirical testability?

Surprisingly there are few articles on exactly what it means for something to be empirically testable, so I decided write one which will hopefully clarify many misunderstandings.

It seems that the atheist animals who now run science don’t even know or understand what empirical testability is, so it’s time that Theists teach them. Atheists are quite possibly the dumbest form of life, so it’s up to Theists to teach them.

So what does it mean for a hypothesis to be empirically testable? It simply means that it’s possible to gather evidence that directly supports the hypothesis.

If it is not possible to gather evidence that directly supports a hypothesis, then that hypothesis isn’t empirically testable.

The string theory is currently empirically untestable because there is no way to gather evidence that directly supports the string theory (low-energy predictions don’t count since the string theory can be adjusted to match into virtually any low-energy observation).

Some people have falsely linked empirical testability to falsifiability.

It is possible for a hypothesis to be empirically untestable and be falsifiable.

Let us say that someone claims that aliens exist in another dimension and that this hypothesis relies upon the truth of gravity, if someone falsifies gravity, then the hypothesis would be falsified since the hypothesis relies upon gravity.

Here we have an example of something that is empirically untestable, since there is no way to gather evidence that directly supports the existence of aliens in another dimension but also falsifiable since the truth of the hypothesis relies upon gravity.

We can see that falsifiability does not equal testability

Something that’s directly unfalsifiable (as opposed to indirectly unfalsifiable) would be empirically testable.

So what’s the difference between direct and indirect?

Direct evidence would be observations that match into unique testable predictions.

To objectively measure whether or not something is a unique prediction just determine if the prediction by itself tells us anything about the hypothesis being true or false.

In the case of aliens existing in another dimension, gravity does not tell us whether or not aliens actually exist another dimension, so it is not a unique prediction.

Even if aliens do not exist in another dimension we would still be able to conclude that gravity exists.
And even if aliens really do exist in another dimension we would still be able to conclude that gravity exists.

So gravity by itself tells us nothing about aliens existing in another dimension and therefore would not be direct evidence.

Similarly for the string theory, all low-energy string theory predictions by themselves tell us nothing about the truth of the string theory.

If the string theory fails a low-energy prediction then string theorists can just find alternative string theory solutions
If the string theory matches into a low-energy prediction then string theorists will still be uncertain of the truth of the string theory solutions that match

There are more string theory solutions than there are atoms in the universe!

Low-energy predictions by themselves do not tell us if the string theory is actually true or false. We don’t need to invoke a string theory to conclude that low-energy predictions are true or exist. Even if 1-dimensional strings do not exist we would still be able to conclude that low-energy predictions are true. So low-energy predictions cannot be considered as direct evidence of the string theory.

Regardless of what anyone tells you, the string theory is not empirically testable (at least not yet). It can become testable if scientists find ways to directly test it.

In conclusion, a hypothesis being empirically testable just means that there’s a way to gather evidence that directly supports the hypothesis, a way to gather empirical evidence for unique predictions the hypothesis makes, a way to determine if the hypothesis is true or false.

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4 Comments

Leave a Comment
  1. Chris Attaway / Feb 8 2013 1:59 am

    Good thing the philosophy of science has you! Who else would spout off needless ad hominem and pseudo-philosophical nonsense for them?

  2. Anonymous / Apr 23 2012 5:59 pm

    u have no right to refer to anybody as dumb, if u do so then i have the right to point out the fact that the reason for your stupidity is ur mama where instead of teaching you morality, she was busy selling her body. i.e. she was a whore and she is the blame

  3. Booties / Feb 6 2012 2:18 am

    “Surprisingly there are few articles on exactly what it means for something to be empirically testable”

    Funniest thing I’ve read today

  4. Anonymous / Jan 23 2012 5:37 pm

    empirical testability does not simply mean that you can gather evidence for something. It means that anyone should be able to get the predicted results if they follow a defined sequence of actions (i.e. perform specific experiments).

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