Re: Useless hypotheses

From: steve (
Date: Fri Dec 21 2001 - 03:54:26 MST

> > 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
> for
> > > this was that burned objects are almost always lighter than the
> original.)
> >

> 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
> substance that caused burning.

Surely this is wrong. As I recall one of the things which undermined
phlogiston was the discovery from controlled experiments that the residue of
a burnt object could actually weigh *more* than the original (due to the
addition of oxygen during combustion). The response of defenders of
phlogiston was to claim that phlogiston had negative weight i.e it weighed
less than nothing. Shows just ho inventive people can be when trying to
preserve a hypothesis. Steve Davies <>

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Sat May 11 2002 - 17:44:29 MDT