Can things exist which are unprovable?

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posted on Jun, 25 2009 @ 05:17 AM
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I guess this is the best forum to post this in, as it mostly about the scientific method. It also relates to a lot of other topics on ATS. I believe in a lot of things that have yet to be proven. Perhaps they will be proven, maybe even in my life, but I've begun to wonder if proof is not possible for some of these things.

There are so many sceptics on this board and pseudosceptics who demand proof. Sure, proof would be great, but what if these things are simply unprovable? As human beings, we have only a limited set of tools with which to consider our world. Sure, technologically we've created a lot of enhancements, but ultimately we only have the same senses with which to absorb information, and the same mind with which to decode it.

At the same time we are part of that which we are studying. The observer effect is a good example of that, but even without getting metaphysical, we live in the world we're studying. In a lot of ways that makes us part of it.

I've often considered science as a kind of religion. A set of beliefs, rules, codes. A way of thinking. Sure, those beliefs are 'proven', rigorously tested and peer reviewed, but that probably belongs in the science and religion thread. My point is, if we accept that things exist which are unprovable, what does that do to science? It almost denies it, the way many think science denies the existence of God.




posted on Jun, 25 2009 @ 07:28 AM
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I know what you're trying to get at here and i realize this may be horribly misinterpreted. But there are things in maths that cannot be proven. (Godels incompleteness theorem)
en.wikipedia.org...

However, in the view of proving stuff like ESP/aliens/other paranormal phenomenon, science is easily able to do it.

I disagree that science is can be viewed as a religion. I don't see how if something cannot be proved it denies science. If a number theoretic statement cant be proved it doesn't mean there is anything wrong with our mathematics.

[edit on 25-6-2009 by science lol]

[edit on 25-6-2009 by science lol]



posted on Jun, 25 2009 @ 07:40 AM
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I guess what I'm trying to say is that by allowing that such things exist, it lessens the importance of the things that can be proven. Science, like religion, works best if it can give a complete view. Sure, there are things we don't understand, but that's different to phenomena which can't be proven. Science tries to tell us 'this is all that's proven, so this is all that is', and if anything else exists, then science is wrong - and what else might it be wrong about?

That was what I was trying to get at


And I'm not sure science can easily prove paranormal phenomena. I know a lot of scientists have no interest, but there's many genuine, talented people out there trying earnestly and they have been for some time. I think if it could be proven, at least easily, it would have.



posted on Jun, 25 2009 @ 08:41 AM
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The following is my opinion as a member participating in this discussion.

Big question. And like any big question, a lot of it depends upon what definition you're giving to the words. Scientific proof is one thing, subjective proof of an individual is something very different. And there's also a big difference between what's not provable and what's not been proven yet. And there's no way to know which is which. Things are frequently considered "not provable" until they're proven.

Having said that, sure things exist that aren't proven. Unless you think we know all there is to know.

As an ATS Staff Member, I will not moderate in threads such as this where I have participated as a member.



posted on Jun, 25 2009 @ 08:58 AM
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Certainly... military intelligence for one... Republican morality for another and Democratic restraint.


All do exist but you would be hard pressed to prove any of them.



posted on Jun, 25 2009 @ 09:24 AM
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reply to post by yeahright
 


Very good point. Perhaps I should've referred to 'evidence' rather than 'proof', but I guess even both are somewhat subjective and require definition. To me, 'evidence' is what science uses to define something as unprovable rather than nonexistent. Proof is what is considered 'uncontrovertable' evidence by science. I guess the only saving grace for believers in the paranormal like mysef is that by the nature of logic it is impossible to prove a negative.

But also, uncontrovertable is a subjective term. I guess the science as religion thing was about the fact that - in my experience - science tends to ignore evidence and only considers proof. That's a problem imo. Science should focus less on refining the things which are proven, and more on the things for which some evidence exists, even if most scientists dismiss that evidence.





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