Proof that science can't prove anything

First thing fishy is that this guy starts from the premise that science is about PROVING things. My understanding of science is that science is a system for objectively getting to understand the natural physical world around us as well as possible given the evidence at hand. With the expectation that more evidence will provide a more accurate understanding - but never absolute proof or the CERTAINTY that the faith-shackled seem to be so dependent on, and desperate for.

Mathematics deals with PROOFS while Science deals in Probabilities.

Of course, I’m not a scientist so others can speak to this with more authority. Any takers . . .

"Dr William Lane Craig vs Dr Peter Atkins highlights" (actually highlights of Craig's certainty while Atkins' response is cut off)

Courtesy of the deceptively self-titled “HonestTheist” - Published on Jun 19, 2009

01:25 there are a good number of things that cannot be scientifically proven but that we’re all rational to accept let me list five logical and mathematical truths cannot be proven by science.

Science presupposes logic and math so that to try to prove them by science we’d be arguing in a circle

01:43 metaphysical truths like there are other Minds, other than my own, or that the external world is real or that the past was not created five minutes ago with an appearance of age our rational beliefs that cannot be scientifically proven

01:57 ethical beliefs about statements of value are not accessible by the scientific method

02:01 you can’t show by science whether the Nazi scientists in the camps did anything evil as opposed to the scientists in Western democracies

02:10 aesthetic judgments cannot be accessed by the scientific method because the beautiful, like the good cannot be scientifically proven and

02:19 Finally most remarkably would be science itself.

Science cannot be justified by the scientific method science is permeated with unprovable assumptions - for example in the special theory of relativity the whole theory hinges on the assumption that the speed of light is constant in a one-way direction between any two points a and B but that strictly cannot be proven.

We simply have to assume that in order to hold to the theorem …(a couple jumbled indecipherable words?)

02:49 yeah so okay none of these beliefs can be scientifically proven and yet they are accepted by all of us and we’re - VIDEO CUT OFF MID SENTENCE

Oh and what are metaphysical “Truths”? Jesus died for your sins??? There’s a closet up in heaven with a spare body waiting for me when I die so that I have something to wear in heaven?

What metaphysical truths?

Oh I guess there wouldn’t be a body waiting for me in that heavenly closet, since God already knows that I do not accept Jesus as the key to my “afterlife” - Jesus is a wonderful spiritual brother to help guide some of us through the trials and tribulations of our own lives while we are living here on Earth. After death we go back to the Earth that created us to begin with. Our spirit lives on, but only in the living! Our material selves decompose, then live on in other forms having nothing to do with its former self.

Not in the mood for a WLC video at the moment. This is more interesting. The title is a bit of an attention grabber, but it gets in to the philosophy of science, the actual philosophy of science. It explains that any measurement we make is really only relative to other things and limited by our own ability to sense anything. It also covers that despite that, scientific knowledge is still the most “real” knowledge.

Not in the mood for a WLC video at the moment.
I've heard so many WLC debates that I have his pompous voice stuck in my head and I hear it droning on every time I read anything by him. If you don't have that problem yet, I suggest you watch videos of him with the volume down and closed captioning on. It's a terrible disease that is 100% preventable. Unfortunately I stumbled onto debates with him on my own, so there were no kind souls to warn me.
The title is a bit of an attention grabber,
'Scientific proof is a myth' is the only message some people will get out of the article. They can read the whole thing and walk away with only the message from the title in their head.
...any measurement we make is really only relative to other things and limited by our own ability to sense anything.
That all measurements are relative to other things is an obvious fact that's only obvious when you really think of it. For years I never wondered how the makers of rulers knew how far apart to make the marks. Then I heard about the different ways they defined a meter. It's an interesting topic.

But the inherent and unavoidable uncertainty of measurements it doesn’t invalidate the theories that are supported by them, as much as some people might like to say it does.

Good science doesn’t have to prove anything. It makes things “known” by demonstration. Contrary to “gnosticism” which pretends to make things known without demonstration, but by invocation of “hocus pocus”.

I always find these juxtaposotions irritating and wasteful.

Scientist fail to commit 100%, even if all evidence suggests a “constant”.

OTOH, the religious “deviners” claim 100%, without any evidence whatever.

Lausten - September 17, 2019 at 12:32 pm#308175
Not in the mood for a WLC video at the moment. This is more interesting.

Scientific Proof Is A Myth Ethan Siegel, Nov 22, 2017,

You’ve heard of our greatest scientific theories: … prove the theory of … .

Except that’s a complete lie. While they provide very strong evidence for those theories, they aren’t proof.

In fact, when it comes to science, proving anything is an impossibility.


Reality is a complicated place. All we have to guide us, from an empirical point of view, are the quantities we can measure and observe. … No matter how good our measurements and observations are, there’s a limit to how good they are.


In order to come up with a model capable of predicting what will happen under a variety of conditions, we need to understand a few things.

What we’re capable of measuring, and to what precision.
What’s been measured thus far, under specific initial conditions.
What laws hold for these phenomena, i.e., what observed relationships exist between specific quantities.
And what the limits are for the things we presently know.
If you understand these things, you have the right ingredients to formulate a scientific theory: a framework for explaining what we already know happens as well as predicting what will happen under new, untested circumstances. …

In science, at its best, the process is very similar, but with a caveat: you never know when your postulates, rules, or logical steps will suddenly cease to describe the Universe. You never know when your assumptions will suddenly become invalid. And you never know whether the rules you successfully applied for situations A, B, and C will successfully apply for situation D. …

Indeed, thank you Lausten. Ethan Siegel does an excellent job of summarizing the flaws in the specious ‘science by rhetoric’ confusion point.

It’ll be interesting to see if Holmes simply ignores this - or if he going to try to show where Siegel is mistaken (in his estimation, of course)


I have the feeling the best he could do is point out that since humans can never know anything with absolutely certainty, that’s proof of why we need God to tell us (or is it our imaginations) what is absolutely certain.

And still nothing about media reporting on climate change

And still nothing about media reporting on climate change
What's that got to do with this thread?


But since you asked - about the failure of the media regarding climate science reporting. Okay?



Does anyone believe in such a thing called “green growth”???

Great spend all day working outside and come in for your games.

Don’t you love changing the subject. “Green growth”?, dude our biosphere is coming apart at the seams, I don’t deal in delusion.

And our civil guardrails and political system and business ethics ain’t doing much better.

Green growth was the reality project of the '70s, '80s, but we’ve done pretty much everything wrong and destined produce hideous consequences for future generations. The runway behind us don’t do us any good.


Extinction event isn’t a joke, it’s only a matter of time. Of course, you would have to have learned a few things about Earth systems and her life story to truly appreciate the scope of that. Of course, for that you’d have to take life somewhat seriously.



Oh heck, then I walk right into this:

By Katy Daigle and Maanvi Singh

AUGUST 15, 2018 AT 9:30 AM

By 2005, coastal city flooding cost the world an average of $6 billion a year, according to calculations by Hallegatte and colleagues. Even if humankind manages to limit the release of carbon dioxide enough to keep global warming to an average 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels — which is highly unlikely — seas will still rise by a global average of about 20 centimeters by 2050, if not more. That’s enough to more than double the frequency of flooding in the tropics, where Mumbai is located, according to a 2017 paper in Scientific Reports. and so on.

Nah, its not fake news for players, this is the real thing.

Is that a yes or no??

Like most of these argument this one stems from a fundamental misunderstanding of how science works. The argument conflates theory with belief with fact. Ask any scientist if the speed of light in a vacuum is constant and he will say, “Yes”. Ask him if he is able to prove that and he will say, “Yes”. Ask him if there’s a possibility that is wrong and he will say, “Yes”. To the laymen, if it’s true and you can prove it’s true then how can you admit it might not be true?

To a scientist everything is based on current understanding, but leaves room for future discovery. In science nothing is ever taken to be absolutely true, but they speak about it as if it is. This is for a couple of reasons. First of all, it’s just easier to say, “That is true” than it is to say, “That is true (Some restrictions apply. Claim may not be valid in all realities or dimensions. Claim good while data remains unchanged. See college science classes for details).” Second, they’re usually talking to other scientists, who already understand what “true” means in science.

A lot of times those with religious-based agendas purposely confuse the issue to exploit common misunderstandings about science. That’s exactly what this guy was doing.

Oh and what are metaphysical “Truths”
Welcome back. You know there is nothing wrong with asking people to define what they mean when they say things. If I had the time I bet I could collect a variety fo definitions for "metaphysics" - besides it's tossed around so much, why not have someone nail it down like you did for me. Thank you, the quote may make for good reference at some point.


Beyond that, indeed I do not pretend to be well versed in formal philosophy - my reading is limited and ad hoc for what I’m trying to understand at the time. We only have so many hours in a day, I felt mine were better spent living than reading, not that I haven’t accumulated a decent list of read and listened to books.

Long long ago, I formulated a simple question - will I be dictated to by what old men tell me to believe - or will I experience and learn the truths for myself?

Every lengthy reading into philosophy puts me too sleep, too much of it is obvious or contrived. On my own feet I can get lost in the deep philosophical questions for endless hours when left to myself. So that’s what I claim, I know what I know because I’ve lived it, not because I read it. And at 64, I must say it feels pretty good having done it like this.

see ya around, gotta run

The first line in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy on Metaphysics

It is not easy to say what metaphysics is.
** mic drop gif
Truth In Our Time Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss philosophical approaches to truth.
What's did that discussion have to do with this discussion, "Proof that science can't prove anything?" ??

I didn’t hear it, perhaps you can give me something specific, time references are always appreciated.

Oh and what about HONESTY? What about misrepresenting that facts others have collected?

But back on point:

Holmes let me ask if you can acknowledge that science isn't about absolutely proving things?

Or would you disagree with a statement such as:

<em>Science is about understanding things as thoroughly as possible, always knowing there is more to be learned and that our understanding will evolve with more information.</em>

How would you rephrase that?

I understand that but you will eventually discover that philosophy underpins science far more than many really understand.
Excuse me? I never implied that it didn't. I didn't even say it's worthless! I simply explained I'm doing it my way. It's not like I can't appreciate why others do it their way.
Yes but that’s also a philosophical statement about the way we ascertain truth a huge subject in philosophy.
Great, so I'm a philosopher. It's honesty and the weaponizing of doubt and deliberate bastardization of "true" facts, and personal slanders, that pisses me off.

Got nothing to do with philosophical considerations. Oh excuse me, guess that’s not really accurate, now that I’m thinking on the times. Yeah, my bad, I am wrong on that. After all Bannon would have to be counted as among the great philosophers of the times, particularly the justification of the wanton disregard for honesty to the point that truth just becomes a parlor game.


If I had the time I bet I could collect a variety of definitions for “metaphysics”
You think that's bad, try getting people to explain what "spiritual" means. For some it has to do with faith, for others crystal magic, still others find nothing supernatural about it.

CC, you typed these phrases:

...weaponizing of doubt...
That is a beautiful way of describing how the proper application of skepticism has been incorrectly and nefariously used as an argument against the methods and practice of science. Nicely done.
...deliberate bastardization of “true” facts...
I also hate willful ignorance. I've said it before on here that it's the most despicable form of deception there is.

Your posts are often too long for me to wade through, but the sentence those phrases came from was totally worth my time.