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