Adapted for the Internet from:

Why God Doesn't Exist
A theory is neither
fact nor knowledge

    If the purpose of science is to elucidate the true nature of facts, it would appear that once we produce
    authentic evidence we are done with our quest. For instance, if the prosecutors take the jurors outside
    of space-time and point to our universe from afar, aren’t we through with our inquiry into the large-scale
    structure of the Universe? What more is there to convince us in regards to this issue? Or take the case
    where John’s friends can’t find him for several days and begin to suspect that something has gone amiss.
    One rescuer theorizes that the reason they don’t see him is that John must be dead. The next day they find
    John’s body at the bottom of the cliff. Aren’t they finished with their inquiry? Hasn’t irrefutable evidence
    confirmed the theory? We could therefore define authentic science restrictively as ‘the set of facts of nature
    that are handed down from one generation to the next’. Anything else is still a tentative theory.

    On the other hand, if the word science is a synonym of the verb ‘to know’ (Latin: scire: to know), then facts
    seem to be divorced from science altogether. Knowledge inexorably invokes a living being whereas facts
    are true irrespective of observers and opinions. We have a paradox because I just finished arguing that a
    hypothesis (exhibits, facts, evidence, and assumptions) are an integral part of science, but that they are or
    should be ideally observer-free. Does science have to do with facts or with knowledge? Are facts the same
    as knowledge?

    Let’s see if a few examples can take us out of the impasse. A general static or timeless fact is that lions and
    wildebeest exist. This conclusion is neither a result of experiment nor of observation. It follows strictly from
    the names we assign these animals and from the definition of the word exist. A specific static fact is that a
    rock now sits somewhere on the Serengeti plains irrespective of our knowledge. A general dynamic fact is
    that lions eat wildebeest. In scientific dissertations, the proponent justifies such facts as an introduction to
    his theory by either presenting evidence or by pronouncing a statement of the facts. The prosecutor may be
    physically located in the Serengeti Plains, or he may show a video of a lion eating a wildebeest, or he makes
    a statement such as ‘Let us assume that lions eat wildebeest.’ The prosecutor is not going to prove that lions
    eat wildebeest. A statement of the facts is an introduction, a preamble necessary to explain the theory. The
    dissertation is perhaps about why the population of wildebeest is declining, or why lions and wildebeest
    share diseases, or why lions have wildebeest on their menus. These theories implicitly embody the
    hypothesis ‘lions eat wildebeest’, and the hypothesis ‘lions eat wildebeest’ absolutely invokes the objects
    lion and wildebeest and the definition of the verb to eat. The presenter of a theory either explicitly or implicitly
    covers these intermediate steps. The prosecutor may also entertain a specific dynamic fact involving a lion
    named X and a wildebeest named Y. For instance, he may show a movie where lion X captures and eats
    wildebeest Y. The prosecutors are not going to prove to their colleagues that X ate Y. The prosecutors are
    presenting a statement of the facts. They are stating that X ate Y as a preamble to a theory such as why Y
    could not have been the mother of calf Z. In effect, the prosecutors are asking the jury to take as a given the
    statement: “Let us assume that lion X ate wildebeest Y.” If the prosecutors stop at discovery (the evidentiary
    stage), this alone would not qualify as a scientific theory. So far all they have is a statement of the facts. If the
    prosecutors stop at this assumptions stage, the jury has no idea what the prosecutors were about to explain
    or what their argument is. Clearly, facts alone or theories without assumptions are insufficient to do science.

    These arguments show that both hypotheses and theories are necessary ingredients of the scientific method.
    The purpose of a hypothesis is to furnish the opening scenes. The exhibits together with the alleged facts
    comprise the assumptions. Rigorous definitions of crucial terms convey crisp meanings to a juror. The
    purpose of a theory is to persuade a jury that we are on the verge of discovering a new fact. Theory is
    speculation about some of the missing frames of the Universal Movie (Fig. 1). The missing frames of theory
    are not the same as the missing frames of the assumptions. We infer theory from assumptions. We accept
    the assumptions at face value in order to make sense of the explanation that follows. That ‘John is probably
    dead’ is not and cannot be a theory. It is an assumption: “Let us assume that John is dead.” John is or isn’t
    dead irrespective of our beliefs. The members of the establishment fall back on unscientific language when
    they convert hypotheses into theories.
Gentlemen! It is no longer a theory. It is now
a fact. The reason our neighbor didn't open
the door is that she was dead.

Fig. 1   Hypothesis (B) versus Theory (C)

    Theory does not  include  objective evidence.  Theory and assumptions are both speculative.  However,
    theory differs from assumptions in that the latter is taken at face value for purposes of understanding the
    theory. The jury is supposed to take the assumptions for granted and is urged to understand the theory
    (i.e., the prosecutor’s version of events). The assumptions are not in contention. The hypothesis is there
    solely for the purposes of introducing and understanding the theory. This doesn’t prevent the juror from
    challenging them as a faithful reflection of the ‘objective’ events afterwards, for example, if the assumptions
    violate logic.

    theory: The prosecutor’s explanation of how or why events happened; a particular
                 film clip of the universal movie inferred from assumptions and reasoning;
                 the second step of the scientific method. (syn.:  explanation, mechanism,
                 reason [Philosophy], cause, conjecture, speculation).

    A scientific theory also may not include testimony. Anecdotes are part of the assumptions too. Otherwise,
    the prosecutor is testifying in an effort to put the weight of authority behind his argument. He is attempting
    to persuade the jury through preponderance of the ‘evidence’ (i.e., testimony). This is politics, not science.
    The role of a prosecutor is to explain, not to testify.

    In closing, let's also briefly clarify the role of Math in Science. The establishment believes that numbers,
    statistics, and equations can be used to prove a theory:

    " So natural selection will frequently maximize vigor in youth at the expense of vigor
      later on and thereby produce a declining vigor (aging) during adult life. These
      initially verbal arguments of George Williams were later proved mathematically by
      Brian Charlesworth." [1]

    Actually, an equation cannot be used to prove. The purpose of an equation is to describe. Mathematics is
    strictly a science of behavior. Equations, statistics, and functions tell us about relations or about how
    something moves. Statistics and equations add weight to a conclusion, meaning that they can be used to
    persuade the jurors to believe that the explanation just given is correct. There is only one way to 'prove' a
    physical phenomenon and that is to make a prediction and to carry out an experiment. If you cannot do this
    with your theory, this does not render it unscientific. It just takes it outside the realm of Physics. Science
    merely requires a rational explanation for an event that occurred in the past. It is not a requirement of
    Science that theories be testable. Experiments are features of particular fields within science. History,
    Psychology, and Paleontology are as much a part of Science as is Physics.
A. Fact: A movie of everything that occurred: the entire Cosmic Movie.

B. Statement of the Facts (prosecutor); Assumptions (juror): Objective evidence (clear frames) and
subjective testimony (filled frames).

C. Theory: Film clip of some of the missing parts of the Cosmic Movie. Prosecutorial inferences
founded on evidence and testimony (statement of the facts). This movie is an abbreviated version
of select film clips of the facts. The prosecutor is proposing that this is what may have happened (or
why) because it follows from the assumptions and evidence. The prosecutor is filling in the blanks.


                                  Home                    Books                    Glossary            

        Copyright © by Nila Gaede 2008