Falsifiability refers to the logical possibility that certain physical experiments or observations can prove particular assertions to be untrue. If an assertion is false based on observations or given tests then it is falsifiable. This does not necessarily mean that the assertion is false but rather that its falsehood can be proven. For instance, is a claim is made to the effect that ‘no humans live forever’ one cannot prove it to be untrue. This is because to prove that the truthfulness or otherwise of the statement, one would need to observe a human that lives forever in order to affirm that indeed no humans live forever. On the other hand, if a person were to say that ‘every human lives forever’, one can prove the statement to be false by presenting a dead human. Such proof makes the statement falsifiable. Additionally, an assertion can be true and falsifiable at the same time. For instance, if an assertion that all humans live forever were true, one would never find body of a dead human. Consequently, the claim would be falsifiable since one can still imagine or make an observation that could prove the assertion to be wrong.
The importance of the falsifiability is that it provides an objective standard by which people can measure the true worth of various scientific concepts. Falsifiability helps scientists to ensure that they do not rely on their subjective ideas regarding various concepts thus ensuring the deduction is unbiased. As such, Popper opines that by using the falsifiability to test ideas people will avoid misleading themselves and others, subconsciously or unintentionally, regarding scientific theories. In a nut shell, falsifiability provides scientists with the ability to reject and to objectively test the ideas through predictions before making conclusions regarding specific concepts. Once the prediction fails, then the theory fails since it does not meet the certainty standard. Accordingly, if the test succeeds, the theory is considered to be true irrespective of the fact that one may find the theory unlikely. Falsifiability therefore makes it possible to test scientific theories repeatedly by attempting to disapprove them time and again. If people try to prove a scientific theory wrong repeatedly and the theory has not been proved to be wrong, chances are that the theory is not wrong. This makes all scientific theories falsifiable to the extent that if a theory is not falsifiable then it falls short of the scientific standard. As such, the falsifiability helps to decode whether or not an idea is scientific.
Astronomy versus Astronomy
Astrology refers to the study of the effects of the planets, moon, and the sun on human beings and the earth as a whole. It is based on validation and interpretation rather than formation and testing of hypotheses. As such, it is a pseudoscience in that it is a theory that is usually presented as scientific but it does not adhere to scientific standards. As a pseudoscience, astrology lacks plausibility or supportive evidence. It cannot be subjected to reliable tests hence does not meet the falsifiability test. This is precisely because it relies on claims that cannot be objectively proven by experts. In this regard astrology does not undergo the systematic processes that other scientific processes are developed. Since it is based on observation, it does not provide any dilemmas that scientists can probe hence astrological concepts are beyond scientific knowledge.
On the other hand, astronomy involves methodical study of the universe, planets, and stars. It is based on predication of certain concepts with a view of explaining what happens in the outer space. If predications fail, there are other scientists who are keen on providing a correct observation. As such, astronomy is based on inquiry through observations and physical experimentation as scientists seek to verify certain observations. Astronomical concepts enable scientists to conceive ideas that they believe can help in explaining certain new astronomical phenomena. Such ideas are then transformed into hypothesis that concludes that if certain phenomenon occurs after certain things happen. As such, it is only through physical tests that astronomical theories are proved. Astronomy is therefore factual because it requires clear evidence to support concepts. Such evidence is continuously challenged as and when scientists find new information. The fact that the processes used to ascertain and refute astronomical ideas are physical means that the concepts are falsifiable. As regards the foregoing, it is important to note that, although astrology and astronomy are considerably similar, they are also very different.
An example of a theory that is widely believed to be true that is also falsifiable is that ‘if there is no air resistances, two objects that are released from the same altitude above the ground reach the surface at the same time. This hypothesis can be tested by conducting a physical test by picking two objects, raising them to the same height and releasing them at the same time. The test is therefore testable because it can be proven wrong in new information becomes available.
An example of a theory that is not falsifiable is, ‘God is a human being’. This assertion is impossible to prove. This is precisely because to prove the assertion, one will have to see, touch, observe, possibly carry out some tests, and observe the character of God to conclude that indeed God is a human being. Ascertain or refuting the scientific status of this assertion is implausible.