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ninjacolin's avatar

Are any conclusions worth believing regardless of whether they can be demonstrated to be accurate?

Asked by ninjacolin (14204points) December 3rd, 2012

I had trouble asking this question before but I think I’ve got it figured out now. I’ll use some examples from that first attempt. Curious to see where it leads…

Consider a list of claims: These are just for example sake
– “All dogs go to heaven”
– “The pyramids were built by aliens”
– “Human behavior contributes significantly to global warming”
– “God’s real name is Roger and he prefers his pizza cut into squares”
– “When exposed to cold weather, children will always catch colds”
– “The bible is spelled with two Bs”
– ”YOUTUBE has at least 2 new videos posted every hour”
– “More people prefer candidate A over candidate B”
– “My mom loves me very much”
– “My neighbor is going to hell.”
– “We must only drive while sober or else we will crash”

a) Can any of the above claims be demonstrated to be accurate?
b) Can any of the above claims be demonstrated to be inaccurate?
c) Are any of the above claims impossible to demonstrate one way or the other?

Questions questions questions
1) Can you list more examples of claims like either type a, b, or c?
(I’m very interested in this for some reason)

2) What value (if any) would there be in accepting claims which cannot be demonstrated?(type c)

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9 Answers

PhiNotPi's avatar

Other than inside the field of mathematics, there is no such thing as being proven correct or being proven incorrect. A hypothesis is accepted or rejected based on its observed usefulness as a predictive tool. A hypothesis that is a good predictor is accepted over one that is not a very good predictor.

flutherother's avatar

@PhiNotPi I agree with you. I believe what you say is correct (though of course I can’t prove it.)

RocketGuy's avatar

If you accept a claim such as: “Doing good will lead you to Heaven” (which few have come back from Heaven to attest), you might be more inclined to do good. That would benefit people around you.

rooeytoo's avatar

I believe what I want to believe and I wouldn’t believe it if I thought it was a falsehood. For me, that makes them worth believing.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

Scientifically, research can demonstrate that some of those assertion are correct.
The scientific method can only fail to confirm ones that may be incorrect. It can’t demonstrate that something is false, only that it fails to find it to be true.
Some of those assertions can’t be adequately operationalized and tested.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

If you feel loved, you feel loved. I guess that’s accurate. I don’t know or don’t care about god so I guess it’s irrelevant if that’s accurate. What you did get me thinking about was that it doesn’t actually matter if a lot of these things can be ‘proven’ or not because people don’t really go on facts. You can tell them until the cow comes home that the earth is old but if they believe it’s 6000 years old, that’s it. You can tell them all you want that fertilized eggs don’t have feelings and it doesn’t make a lick of difference. Even people who claim to be somewhat into science can’t spend an hour of time figuring out if that study the TIME is quoting is worth anything.

ninjacolin's avatar

Love that term, “operationalized” haha
@RocketGuy, I dunno. Something about that seems odd when you say it like that..

Actually, I never used the word “prove” or “proof” in the question. Totally intentional. :)

@Simone_De_Beauvoir yeah, i think love is something that can be demonstrated from one person to another pretty easily.

@rooeytoo of all the things you happen to believe, are any of them truly a matter of choosing to believe without any kind of demonstration to substantiate the belief? Can you share some if there are?

ninjacolin's avatar

@RocketGuy, I wanna see that video with the human contribution added to it.
(thanks for that, amazing!)

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