The relationship between usefulness and falsifiability

There's an article by Matthew R. Francis in Symmetry magazine garnering a lot of attention asking whether falsifiability is a useful criteria for scientific theories. Popper wrote in his classic book The Logic of Scientific Discovery that a theory that cannot be proven false—that is, a theory flexible enough to encompass every possible experimental outcome—is scientifically useless. … Continue reading The relationship between usefulness and falsifiability

Probability is relative

At Aeon, Nevin Climenhaga makes some interesting points about probability.  After describing different interpretations of probability, one involving the frequency with which an event will occur, another involving its propensity to occur, and a third involving our confidence it will occur, he describes how, given a set of identical facts, each of these interpretations can … Continue reading Probability is relative

How do we establish causation?

Ross Pomeroy at Real Clear Science discusses five logical fallacies that often get misidentified and abused in arguments.  Identified by Steven Novella in his book The Skeptic's Guide to the Universe, one of these is the old Correlation and Causation fallacy: 2. Correlation and Causation. Correlation does not prove causation. To say that it does is a logical fallacy. … Continue reading How do we establish causation?

We entered the reputation age a long time ago

Aeon is currently highlighting articles from throughout 2018 that are editor favorites.  This morning, they highlighted one by Gloria Origgi, Say goodbye to the information age: it’s all about reputation now: There is an underappreciated paradox of knowledge that plays a pivotal role in our advanced hyper-connected liberal democracies: the greater the amount of information that … Continue reading We entered the reputation age a long time ago

Are there things that are knowable but not measurable?

It's a mantra for many scientists, not to mention many business managers, that if you can't measure it, it's not real.  On the other hand, I've been told by a lot of people, mostly non-scientists, and occasionally humanistic scholars including philosophers, that not everything knowable is measurable. But what exactly is a measurement?  My intuitive understanding … Continue reading Are there things that are knowable but not measurable?