- I've been doing more thinking about unfalsifiable claims. One I've run into with UFO claims is
not quite voiced this clearly, but the essence is "the lack of evidence is only evidence of how
big the conspiracy must be"
The following is a really good cross post on the subject from the more busy "skeptics"
Date: Fri, 12 Oct 2001 11:44:05 +0900
From: "Thomas Robertson" <pentatonika@...>
Subject: more unfalsifiability clauses
Since my last message, I thought of some more unfalsifiability clauses:
1. This medicine is effective.
If you get sick after taking this medicine, then your body is undergoing a
process of purgation.
2. "I think, therefore I am." But is anyone else conscious?
If I ask you if you're conscious and you say yes, that won't prove anything.
It's still possible that you and everyone else were created just to fool me.
If you say any differently, you're only lying as part of the hoax.
3. The Communists were behind the Kennedy assassination.
If a government investigation failed to find any Communist activity, then
the government investigation was only part of the Communist plot.
4. John Lennon was dead at the time of the rumor in the Sixties.
If you saw his image on TV, announcing that he was very much alive, then you
only saw an impersonator.
5. You were sexually abused as a child.
If you don't remember that, it is because you have suppressed those
6. Now the shoe's on the other foot. You have sexually abused your own
If you don't remember that, it is because you are "in denial."
7. If I don't get along easily with you, it's all your fault.
You may say, "It's not so easy for me to get along with you either."
But that's only because I "tell it like it is," and you're afraid to face
8. I once had a day care job in which the director told me that I was
incompetent in managing the children and all the other teachers were
competent. But I also saw the children misbehaving under the supervision of
the other teachers. But did that affect my rating in comparison with the
other teachers? Heck, no!
When the children misbehaved under the supervision of the other teachers, it
was because I was "setting the tone" for disorder throughout the entire
And here are some claims with built-in falsifiability:
1. A philosophy professor once asked me how I knew that a "ghastly ghoul"
didn't extract my brain shortly after I was born and stage all the
experiences I've had since then.
2. All of physical matter is an illusion.
You can talk all you want to about atoms, molecules, and ions, but I can
just say that atoms, molecules, and ions are an illusion.
3. Martin Gardner mentions a theory that God created and buried all the
dinosaur skeletons at the time of Genesis, thereby creating a memory of the
According to Gardner, one could just as easily suggest that the Universe was
created at any other time in the past. For all we know, we could have all
been created five minutes ago.
You can meet with a friend and compare memories of common experiences from
last week, last month, or last year, but that wouldn't prove anything. I
can just that you and your friend were created five minutes ago with
memories of those common experiences.