Contention: Uncertainty is King.
Our probabilistic reality makes the Null Hypothesis mandatory. Nor is pure reason the answer; logic is subject to Godel’s Incompleteness, and axioms can be falsified by empirical investigation. Many of our linguistic and logical concepts are meaningless. (e.g. “nothing”, “identity”, “non-contradiction”, “locality”, “dead people”, etc…) Faced with the limits on certainty, the burden of proof is upon any claimant. The Null Hypothesis has to be falsified in order to accept any claim as provisionally true, and the null hypothesis is always the negation of the claim. And even when the dominant view is falsified, that does not mean that you can use the Fallacy of Bifurcation to substitute an unproven claim. While this does not prove that unproven claims are false, the assumption must be that they are.
Contention: Doubt is our muse
Models must include criteria for falsification, otherwise it becomes impossible to refine them. Utility, then is the only objective metric of the relative fitness of an idea. And while we don’t have the ability to achieve perfect knowledge, we do have the ability to evaluate the fitness of various claims by their output. The ability to reliably and repeatedly induce changes in reality in conformity with will, is evidence of the relative fitness of a claim. Since science has gotten us from the dark ages to the internet age, it appears to be our best bet. We have prayed precisely zero space shuttles into orbit.
Contention: Finding fingerprints and parsimony.
Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. The standard in Physics for a “new discovery” is 5 sigma, that is, an event which has only a 1 in 3.5 million chance of being produced by random background conditions. 5 sigma is the standard that the (apparent) Higgs Boson, the so-called “God Particle”, was held to. If any force outside of Universe interacted with reality, it too would be observable and testable.
The null hypothesis and parsimony privilege a default provisional negation above an unverified assertion. While an unfalsified null hypothesis does not prove that a claim is false, as long as the null hypothesis stands unfalsified, the provisional negation stands.
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