Only Deductive Theories Are Falsifiable in Physics
(trop ancien pour répondre)
Pentcho Valev
2017-05-13 07:11:37 UTC
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"Almost 40 years after their inception, inflation and string theory are in worse shape than ever. The persistence of these unfalsifiable and hence unscientific theories is an embarrassment that risks damaging science's reputation at a time when science can ill afford it. Isn't it time to pull the plug?" https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/cross-check/is-a-popular-theory-of-cosmic-creation-pseudoscience/

My comment in Scientific American:

Nowadays theories and models are not DEDUCTIVE, that is, they cannot be presented as a set of logically valid arguments based on a small number of simple axioms (postulates). This makes them unfalsifiable a priori. I have tried to explain this here:

Unfalsifiable (Dead) Physics: Who Is to Blame?

Pentcho Valev
Pentcho Valev
2017-05-14 08:45:09 UTC
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A deductive theory can be presented as two lists:

1. The list of all initial assumptions (postulates).

2. The list of all arguments, each having the form:

Premise 1: ...
Premise 2: ...
Premise N: ...
Conclusion: ...

Any premise is either an initial assumption (postulate) or the conclusion of some previous argument.

Critics look for false postulates and invalid arguments. If they are unable to find any, all the conclusions of the theory are regarded as true.

Einstein's special relativity is deductive so it can, in principle, be presented in this schematic way. One of Einstein's 1905 arguments would look like this:

Postulate 1: ...
Postulate 2: ...
Conclusion: The stationary clock runs faster than the moving one.

It is easy to see that the schematic presentation is much more susceptible to criticism - critics would immediately realize that the argument is invalid (the conclusion does not follow from the postulates).

Pentcho Valev