Re: The straw man.

H. M. Hubey (
28 Oct 1995 17:12:39 -0400 (Phillip Bigelow) writes:

>>As for definition
>>of truth, it actually seems to be of a provisional nature. Something
>>is true at best provisionally or temporarily.

> That's bunk. If you walk into an auditorium full of people and tell your
>friend, "I believe there are over 200 people in this auditorium", and
>you then count each and every person in that room, you will know the TRUE
>number of people there. Only your hypothesis or theory is held suspect.

I was referring to general statements even of mathematical
nature and not to something that you can verify as in your example.
I'm also not referring to statements like "ripe bananas are yellow".

Statements of this type have as much truth content buried in
definitions as anything else.

>Once the count is completed, you will know whether your statement was proven
>true or proven false. There is no "provisionality" or "temporary" truth in
>this case.

Of course. I extended the concept of truth to mathematical logic.
Even there, we need definitions, and it's easier to define truth
as 'not false' and then to try to define falseness via examples.

The whole idea of falsifiability comes from this general bias
toward definiteness of falsity.

> I think you are confusing *experimental results* with theories and
>hypotheses. Theories and hypotheses don't follow the "whatever is not false
>must therefore be true" flow-chart that you espouse.

I'm not confusing anything. See above. That's how we behave in
real life. Falseness is definite since we can always falsify
a general statement with a counterexample. But general statements
can NEVER be proven. Even in math truths are a matter of following
from definitions and have nothing to do with 'real world' truth.

> AAT-ers' insistence on claiming that "because the AAT is the only theory
>floating around, it should be considered true until proven false"
>is not only poor logic, but it is also horrible science.
> <pb>

It's true for every science. The vast accumulation of evidence for
the present theory of classical physics is enough to make us believe
it. In truth the evidence for its truth is of statistical/probabilistic


Regards, Mark