Forums

ForumsWorld Events, Politics, Religion, Etc.

Scientific Proof?

Thread Locked

Posted Apr 8, '08 at 8:25pm

Moegreche

Moegreche

3,092 posts

Moderator

Here's something I'd like to run by you guys. How do we go about proving something? Let's say there's a theory, like "All birds have wings." I have no idea if this is true or not, but bear with me. How do we go about proving this theory?
This may seem a bit asinine, but I'm going somewhere with it. Let's just start off slowly, though

 

Posted Apr 8, '08 at 8:26pm

Kererr

Kererr

140 posts

All birds do have wings, just they don't necessarily fly.

 

Posted Apr 8, '08 at 8:28pm

Asherlee

Asherlee

5,346 posts

Knight

Well, generally (if applicable) you would start out with visual observation. Yes?

 

Posted Apr 8, '08 at 8:31pm

Moegreche

Moegreche

3,092 posts

Moderator

Okay, great. So we get empirical evidence to just go out and look at birds, exactly.
So we go out and don't find any birds without wings, what does that prove?

 

Posted Apr 8, '08 at 8:33pm

Kererr

Kererr

140 posts

Yeah, I'm not an adult so I won't go very far with this. Not an adult at all...

But I do know that it proves that to classify an animal or being as a bird, the animal must have wings.

 

Posted Apr 8, '08 at 8:39pm

Moegreche

Moegreche

3,092 posts

Moderator

Right, but I'm talking about just proving some random idea. I just picked birds having wings because that was the first thing I thought of. We could say that all finches are brown (again, I have no idea). So I go out and study 10,000 birds or finches or whatever and I find that all of them have the characteristic (wings, brownness, whatever) that I am looking for. What does that prove?

 

Posted Apr 8, '08 at 8:43pm

hojoko

hojoko

562 posts

If 10,000 finches are brown and have wings, it proves that all (or almost all) fit those characteristics.

 

Posted Apr 8, '08 at 8:46pm

Sting

Sting

339 posts

Actually, if 10,000 finches are brown and have wings it does not prove that all of them fit those characteristics, it just shows that 10,000 finches have those characteristics.

 

Posted Apr 8, '08 at 8:47pm

Moegreche

Moegreche

3,092 posts

Moderator

And so here we run into our first dilemma. 10,000 finches is a lot of finches... a LOT. But can we really say that it proves anything more than the statement "At least 10,000 finches are brown." - or whatever it is we're studying now.

 

Posted Apr 8, '08 at 8:50pm

Sting

Sting

339 posts

Alright, that makes sense. So where is this going Moegreche? Honestly I have no idea where you are going haha.