Posted: Jun 12, 2010 12:09 pm
by Dr. Nancy Malik
Shrunk wrote:
Right. Hence the need to repeatedly try to falsify a hypothesis even once it has seemingly been confirmed experimentally. Technically you're correct; no theory can be said to be correct with 100% certainty, as you never know if the next observation will falsify it. However, after a sufficiently large number of falsification attempts have failed, it can be said for all practical purposes that the theory is correct with a certainty that approaches 100%.

A negative result is not proof that something doesn't work. Eddison, reportedly had over 10,000 negative results before inventing the light bulb. By your logic after the first failure he had successfully proven that electricity could not be used to produce light. Clearly this was not the case.

the fact that he had 10 000 failures means that all the failures were proof that it didn't work, the time it started to work was proof that he finally found the right method.