Re: Useless hypotheses

From: Louis Newstrom (
Date: Thu Dec 20 2001 - 05:58:34 MST

From: "J. R. Molloy" <>

> From: "Louis Newstrom" <>
> > Actually, I liked the phlogiston theory. It said that burning was
caused by
> > a single substance. That substance is released by burning. (Evidence
> > this was that burned objects are almost always lighter than the
> Yes, that's an excellent comparison. The same kind of faulty reasoning

I don't see the faulty reasoning. Observation shows that most burned
objects are lighter than the original. This leades to the (corect) theory
that something was released into the air. An (incorrect) guess was a common
substance that caused burning. Epirements showed that no common substance
existed between all burnable materials, and the phlogiston theory was

I see no logic error. Although I can see calling the THEORY faulty, if it
turns out to be wrong, I don't see how the REASONING was faulty. They just
didn't yet have all the facts.

Are you claiming that any theory that turns out to be wrong is "useless"?
If that is the case, then maybe I can understand why 90% of your "useless
hypothesis" are on your list. (Right now, I have no idea what that list
means when you say "useless".)

> Yes, that's an excellent comparison. The same kind of faulty reasoning
> some people to imagine that cognition is caused by a mystical entity
> "mind" which they try to create evidence for by claiming that dead bodies
> lighter than alive ones.

Even so, I don't see the "faulty resoning". If someone thinks that a "mind"
is a physical object with weight, then weighing dead bodies is an excellent
test. Sounds like a sound hypothesis, that makes a prediction, which can
then be tested as true or false. (I've never seen anyone argue this, as
most people believe the mind is not material.)

Again, it looks like you attack any reasoning as faulty if it doesn't lead
to the truth. Is this the case?

Louis Newstrom

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