TED Conversations

Casey Christofaris

Owner, CS3 Inc

TEDCRED 10+

This conversation is closed.

How do we prove an answer

that it How do we prove an answer


I just want to clarify that I do love science and the understanding of the universe that it has brought us. As well as the tech

Share:

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • Feb 5 2013: "Proof", in the science community is word usually reserved for mathematics. When it comes to a scientific hypothesis, the only question that should be asked is, "Is this testable?" If it's not testable, it does not qualify as science, but mere speculation. Once it is established that the hypothesis is testable, the test is performed and the data collected. If the data corresponds to the original hypothesis, it then qualifies as a theory (that is, of course, slightly oversimplified). If it does not, the hypothesis is either disregarded or reworked and retested.
    That is to say, if i believe 'A' to be true, and then theorise that if i perform 'B' to 'A' then 'C' should occur (as with all science, this should be entirely blind) i can then test the action of performing 'B' to 'A'. If 'C' does infact occur then, to any reasonble person, i have, "proven" my hypothesis (again, oversimplified). If 'C' does not occur, then my hypothesis needs work.

    The point i'm trying to make is that in science, with the exception of mathematics, a theory is the highest form of evidence. No reasonable biologist would say that evolution by natural selection has been 100% proven. But it has been proven to the satisfaction of any reasonable person.
    • thumb
      Feb 5 2013: Right but by definition isn't a theory something that can never be proven and that we are just agreeing to conventions or implied assumptions?
      • Feb 7 2013: Yes, thats's exactly what i'm saying. You're asking how we prove an answer. I'm saying we don't really "Prove" anything (unless we use maths). We just establish the likelyhood of something being true. We often use the word "proof" to mean substantial and overwhelming evidence.
    • thumb
      Feb 5 2013: We start with A to be true as the answer

      Then we ask the question B

      If B is the question to the answer A

      We prove it if C happens

      Is the correct from your statement above
      • Feb 7 2013: No thats Wrong.
        B is not the question with the answer A. B is instead the question we ask A in order to get the answer C. If we do not get the answer C, it is clear that A is the wrong "person" (hypothesis) to ask. We then go back to the drawing board and try to adjust A so the when we ask it B, we get the answer C. When we do get C we know that A holds merit and can be called a theory.
        A theory simply explains certain facts. For example, we know that groups of a given species will evolve over generations, it's be recorded in data collection. Natural selection is the theory that explains the facts of evolution.
        Theories do not grow up and become facts.
    • Feb 8 2013: Man,
      "it has been proven [up] to the satisfaction of "

      I like this statement, really.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.