FiLCHeRS - A Recap

Falsifiability
A claim must be able to be disproven, otherwise it is untestable and not a valid scientific query.
- Undeclared or vague claims violate this principle.
    Example: Feng shui can create positive changes in your home.
    Why? What exactly are 'positive changes'? This is too broad to be tested.
- The multiple out violates this principle (all negative evidence is conveniently explained away).
    Example: I could not read her mind Monday because I was wearing purple. I could not read
                   her mind Tuesday because the rain disturbed my psychic abilities. I could not read
                   her mind Wednesday because I had eggs for breakfast.
    Why? Each time there is an unsuccessful trial, I have a convenient excuse. Unless the reason
              is testable and consistent (e.g. Matches will light on fire when you strike them. I tried to
              light a match and it didn't work, because the matches were wet.)
- The shyness effect also violates this principle.
    Example: I could not bend the spoon with my mind because a scientist was watching me.
    Why? If it is claimed that the phenomenon will only work in the absence of scientific testing,
             obviously it cannot be tested scientifically.


Logic
Any argument offered must be logical - all of its premises and the conclusions drawn from them
must be true.
    Example: Pat's parents have a daughter, and Pat has a sister; therefore, Pat must be a boy.
    Why? The statement "Pat's parents have a daughter" does not preclude the possibility of their
              having more than one daughter. It may be true that they have at least one daughter, and
              that Pat has a sister, but the conclusion drawn above may or may not be true.

Comprehensiveness
All of the evidence must be considered.
    Example: The ancient Egyptians mummified their dead. The Incas mummified their dead.
                   The ancient Egyptians predate the Incas. Therefore, mummification must have
                   diffused from the Old World to the New World.
    Why? The Chinchorros culture in South America created the world's first artificial mummies -
              before the ancient Egyptians. We cannot look only at evidence of mummification in
              the New World that dates to after the ancient Egyptians.

Honesty
Admit negative evidence. This rule is related to comprehensiveness.
    Example: Some of the authors interviewed in the film The Bermuda Triangle were unwilling
                   to admit that their sources for information on several of the stories were incorrect.
    Why?
No matter how much we want our hypothesis to be true, we should not ignore evidence
              that undermines it.


Replicability
The evidence for a claim must be able to be duplicated.
- The shyness effect violates this principle, as well as falsifiability.

Sufficiency
Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.
    Example: I was abducted by a UFO on the way to work this morning. My evidence is this
                   bruise on my arm.
    Why? For a claim like this, you should require evidence that could not be easily explained by
             normal, everyday phenomena.