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Empirical Fact

  1. May 21, 2010 #1
    First off I just want to let everyone know I'm an extreme skeptic; I skepticize everything. Science is just something I find great pleasure in... With that being stated there is something I just cannot understand...

    Many people will question empirical facts; one example I can give is the fact man has been on the moon; the extremely obvious fact is that we left mirrors to reflect laser light; there is no other possible way we could have got these mirrors on the moon. It is in my opinion stupidity to argue with empirical facts, another example is that many think the Mars missions are somehow faked...

    Can someone please explain to me this kind of thinking? I do not get it one bit and it saddens me when I see this kind of stupidity... Is this because the person is stupid? Illiterate, brainwashed or just in denial?

    Can someone please give me their response to someone who questions these empirical facts?
  2. jcsd
  3. May 21, 2010 #2
    So who decides what is an empirical fact? I could say it's an empirical fact that the mind is not contained inside the brain. Would you agree? Why not? It's clearly an empirical fact isn't it?
  4. May 21, 2010 #3
    I would disagree because people with brain injuries are always effected in the mind. A claim is just a claim, a fact is a claim supported by empirical evidence.

    As to the OP: I would say stupid, illiterate, brainwashed, are all good ways to describe that way of thinking.
  5. May 21, 2010 #4
    So again I ask who decides what empirical evidence is? Do we have an empirical evidence committee or something?
  6. May 21, 2010 #5
    I'd say the problem here is that you are equating 'empirical fact' with 'extremely obvious'.

    An empirical fact, is a fact that is measurable... and repeatable. Most people who deny scientific facts, see science as a kind of magic.

    They can't do the experiment themselves, so they are left with deciding who to believe. For them, science is all about an 'argument from authority', and they simply chose to believe someone they trust.

    'Extremely obvious' is an argument from common sense, and is not the same as an empirical fact.

    From your example, we can reflect laser light off a mirror on the moon. The empirical fact is that you can do this. The 'reason', or explanation for why you can do this, is not an empirical fact.

    The 'reason' is common-sense based on experience.... different people have different experiences to draw on.
  7. May 21, 2010 #6
    If I claim the sky is blue, you can go outside and check if you agree. If we agree, then we call it fact. Empirical fact is observable - so all you have to do is go look for yourself if you won't take someone's word for it.
  8. May 21, 2010 #7
    So if two people agree on something it becomes fact?
  9. May 21, 2010 #8
    No. Empirical facts are about 'observation'.
  10. May 21, 2010 #9


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    As a way of showing you the difference between "fact" and "extremely obvious beyond all reasonable doubt", MoonHoaxers claim that, yes we have sent spacecarft to the Moon and dropped reflectors there, but no human has set foot on the Moon.

    i.e. the fact that there are reflectors on the Moon (this is an irrefutable fact that can be verified by anyone with the inclination), does not lead to it being fact that Man has landed on the Moon (which, while extremely obvious due to an absolutely overwhelming preponderance of evidence and testimony, could by some, be considered merely extremely obvious).
  11. May 21, 2010 #10
    Real science is published in journals such as Nature and Science for peer review. Empirical fact is determined by accuracy of claims and hypothesis... This thread is taking into account empirical facts that are no longer questioned in the science field because the evidence for accuracy is already abundantly high.
  12. May 21, 2010 #11
    Empirical facts are determined by peer review. The biggest peer review journals are Science and Nature.
  13. May 21, 2010 #12
    Misread your reply... I agree but the evidence for the moon landing is abundant. It's not about authority; fortunately. It's about questioning discoveries, and making breakthroughs, not following like a sheep.
    Last edited: May 22, 2010
  14. May 22, 2010 #13
    Yes but that doesn't answer my question. Why do some out right deny these facts after seeing them?
  15. May 22, 2010 #14


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    No, these are not empirical facts.

    For example, the atomic theory of matter is no longer questioned by science, yet it was not empirical fact until about 20 years ago, when we were able to actually image atoms.

    Empirical facts are: Water vaporizes into steam. Planets orbit stars in elliptical orbits. These are simply observations of reality; they cannot be refuted in any sane way.
  16. May 22, 2010 #15
    We are not discussing if man has landed on the moon. The evidence for man doing so is abundant from NASA, JPL, etc. We are discussing why people take the superstitious alternative; the way to spread disinformation or make a conspiracy out of such achievements in history.
  17. May 22, 2010 #16


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    Well, first we are getting our terminology straight. i.e what constitutes an empirical fact.
  18. May 22, 2010 #17
    Although not all the time; empirical facts answer our questions on objective reality. One example is the heliocentric model vs. geocentric model. The abundance of facts for the heliocentric model makes heliocentrism an empirical fact. The evidence is so great as I stated before that questioning the facts is "stupidity".

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_method" [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  19. May 22, 2010 #18
    So does an empirical fact have to be true? How true does it have to be?
  20. May 22, 2010 #19


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    Note your own words: they are models; proposed methods for how something seems to be. i.e. not an empirical fact.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  21. May 22, 2010 #20
    Empirical facts are things such as evolution, heliocentric model, moon landing, etc.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 22, 2010
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