This issue of falsifiability is interesting and should be discussed. But to discuss it calmly and peacefully we should separate it from the context of whether this or that scholarly paper succeeds in showing this or that theory to be falsifiable. We should have a general discussion of what makes a theory empirical, how and why theories are tested----questions like that: you define the issues and contribute your ideas on it. My take on it is this: The reason science has worked so well for the past 400 years is that there can be a coherent COMMUNITY of scientists who can hold different opinions but can eventually settle their differences by putting them to the test of experiment. Membership in any community involves MORAL OBLIGATIONS, the people in a community need to regulate behavior in such a way that the community can survive longterm and succeed in doing its thing. One primary moral obligation that theorists have is to ONLY PROPOSE THEORIES THAT ARE already in principle and within a reasonable time-frame in practice TESTABLE. This helps unite the science community because different factions can settle their differences peacefully by empirical trial in good faith. Except for math and tautologies, no statement in science can ever be proven CORRECT. There are no correct theories in empirical science. Because the next experiment could prove it wrong. All we have theories which have not been proven wrong YET---and we can be thankful we have those! If you disagree with any of this please post your alternative view. There is also a "good faith" assumption that scientists of good faith can agree on things like what is a reasonable waiting time and when the observations have refuted a theory. There may be stubborn ones who refuse to believe that their theory has been refuted or who interpret the data in totally eccentric ways, but hopefully that is a minority. the majority is assumed to be able to come to agreement on what is a valid test. The system is not utterly mechanical----it depends on human factors like trust, honesty, fairness, honor, respect for people with different opinions, willingness to change etc.----"good faith" factors. ==================== If theories proposed are not verifiable (and nothing is) then what is left for them to be be? Falsifiable. A theory can make a prediction that some definite thing will happen in an experiment that hasnt been done yet. If it is tried, and it doesn't, then the theory is dead. If theorists go around proposing unfalsifiable theories, then the community can get FRAGMENTED. differences of opinion arise that cannot be resolved empirically. things start to depend on RHETORIC, salesmanship, social pressure, brow-beating, economic pressure to conform, metaphysical prejudice, personality cults, semi-religious stuff, primate instinct. That's bad. It isn't science. So theorists have a moral obligation. They have a duty to the community to only make theories which have a built-in risk of self-destruction. A theory (to be good science) has to make some prediction about a future experiment which might, if it turns out wrong, cause the theory to be discarded. If a theory can accomodate any possible outcome of a not-yet-performed experiment, every outcome not already excluded theories we already have, then it doesnt predict anything new. It's too flexible and indescriminate---no predictive value. theorists have a duty to build a certain stiffness in so that there are some observations a theory balks at, and cannot accept. Then it's falsifiable =============== the tricky thing here is that for this to work the theory must be falsifiable directly by observation falsification can't be CONDITIONAL ON THE TRUTH OF A PREMISE WHICH CANNOT BE VERIFIED. This is OK: A is an observation F is that the theory is false A => F the observation proves the theory false This, I think, is not OK: A is an observation P is an unverifiable premise, some other statement F is that the theory is false A => (P => F) the observation does not prove the theory false. the observation proves the statement (P => F) that if the premise, which cannot be proven true, WERE true, then the theory would be shown to be false. ========== ultimately this is about responsibility to the community so that it stays united and healthy so in practice we can fudge some and we can say that P is still OK if it is one of those comfortable Apple Pie Motherhood things that everybody accepts without even thinking about it. But suppose P besides being unverifiable is even something that half the people don't think is true anyway! Suppose P is something that a good scientist can reasonably be SKEPTICAL about? In that case it looks pretty obvious to me that falsifiability has not been shown. =========== So anyone can put up a different scheme, and we can see how things sort out. I think what I am making a case for here is DIRECT FALSIFIABILITY FROM OBSERVATION not conditional on any doubtful and in principle unverifiable premise. in other words A => F And I am arguing that this is an obligation of the theorist, to make theories so they can be testable this way, and that this obligation has a PRAGMATIC REASON which is the health and success of the community. any comment?