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Old 01-03-2012, 04:38 PM
Leo Bloom Leo Bloom is offline
Join Date: Jun 2009
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Posts: 12,213
Originally Posted by whc.03grady View Post
I don't see how empirical results can trump principles of logic or reasoning. The whole process of science is built upon certain more or less formal principles of reasoning: "If a theory is confirmed so-and-so many times, we can regard it as true" would be an example. I wholeheartedly agree with this principle, but hopefully we all can see that no experiment has ever, will ever, or could ever be performed to show that it's a good principle. The scientific process relies quite heavily on the principles of mathematics for instance, principles which themselves are in no way proven by science.
That mathematics and proof of its correctness needs science for validation is backwards, I believe, but that is an enormous and different field of inquiry.

[Bold mine]
Experiments are what are important. If, for example, after four million times of looking sideways at a Hereford cow, a principle is established that Herefords are spotted. But along comes someone who figures out that 1) there may be another side to the cow, and 2) tries to get a way to confirm this, checking 1) against 2), repeatedly.

Then maybe the former principle begins to totter.

(Isn't there some joke about this example? Or one about the Umpire, the someone, and the someone judging reality?)