Wednesday, October 3, 2012

[PHI 3800] 100% pure proof?

On the Bill Nye the Science Guy show, they sang the following song to the tune of 100% Pure Love by Crystal Waters:

Can science give us "100% pure proof"? If not, what was Bill Nye thinking?


  1. The form of argument that science has adopted is quite different from the normal forms of arguments such as the deductive and inductive arguments.
    In either the deductive or inductive argument, the arguments are structured in the following way:
    Then C

    And in deductive argument if the premises support the conclusion, the argument is deductively valid with no shades of gray. And in inductive arguments, if the premises support the conclusion, the conclusion is ampliative.

    However, the form of arguments utilized in scientific enquires is driven by hypothesis and takes the following form:
    If H is true, then I true.
    I is false supported by evidence.
    Then H is false.

    In this above scenerio, the conclusion is said to be deductively valid meaning that there is no shades of gray. The conclusion is 100% false and that the I is 100% proof. If Bill Nye were talking about this above scenerio, then he would be considered right.
    However, let us look at another form of the same argument when I is proven true:
    If H is true, then I is true.
    I is true supported by evidence
    Then H is true.

    In the above scenerio, the conclusion is not deductively valid, but rather deductively invalid. The conclusion is said to be fallacy of affirming the consequence and this means that even if the premises are true the conclusion can still be false. In the case, science does not provide 100% proof that the given hypothesis is right but rather make it possible that the hypothesis is right. If Bill Nye were talking about this, then he would be considered wrong.

  2. Science is the systematic study of the observable world. In the song which accompanied Bill Nye, the Science Guy, television show, the lyrics are describing the scientific method which is the making, testing and evaluating of hypothesis in an effort to offer 100% proof. A scientific hypothesis in order to be valid must be testable. It is a way of critical thinking or systematically judging the quality of information before allowing it to guide one’s beliefs and actions. Science is limited to what is within our universe. Scientific theories are our best description of reality; however they can never be proven absolutely or with 100% proof because in order to do so, it would necessitate testing under every possible circumstance. All hypothesis and scientific theories can be disproven by a single observation or result that is not consistent with it. Theories in science are well sustained explanations of some aspect of the natural world, which have been repeatedly confirmed, and are revised until no one can prove them to be incorrect. Science is ever changing and scientists are everyday working and striving through the scientific method to provide 100% proof.

  3. Although we all seem to rely on Science more than ever these days it cannot give us 100% proof. Nothing in this world is absolute. Therefore we must treat this statement as if it were an inductive argument, meaning if the premises are true then the conclusion is probably true as well. In Science, one has a hypothesis and in addition to that there are a series of test that are performed. These can serve as the premises of the argument. However, sometimes in science an experiment can work 1,000 times and then just once not work. These other tests would count as more premises. Each additional test, if it worked (true) would make the argument strong and if the test failed (false) it would then weaken the argument. Because it is uncertain whether the conclusion will be true or not, but rather a test of the premises science cannot give us 100% proof.


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