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Do Not Confuse Facts With Theory

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Posted by Richard Ruquist on October 17, 2002 14:21:03 UTC

Facts exist- like the stone falling to the ground. I suppose they can be proved over and over again just to see if that fact remains true. But basicly facts are true and do not need proof.

You can adopt the Hume position that the fact is based on sensory data which might not be true.
But even there you can investigate the ultimate fact by driving into a wall, or jumping off a bridge, to test if your sensory perception is consistent with your internal knowledge.

But it is much more practical to assume that your sensory perception is true. Proof is possible, but like quantum mechanics, proof in the Hume sense profoundly disturbs the system!!!

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Theory on the other hand can only be shown to be highly probable under certain circumstances. And even then the assumptions about reality used to create the theory, like whether its particles or waves or both, or strings, etc., cannot be proved to be true because widely divergent basic assumptions about reality yield the same theoretical results.

On the other hand, if all these divergent reality theories yield the same theoretical results, like the existence of black holes, then we have a high probability that they indeed exist, especially if we observe evidence of some aspects of the theoretical results, like the motion of surrounding stars. Still it's still just a probability, not an absolute proof.

Absolute proof requires a rigorous mathematics, which Godel seemingly proved is not possible- but then his proof is not rigorous either.

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