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The Five Virtues of a Hypothesis

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The idea is what you come up with,,a hypothesis is the result you think willl happen from the idea:)

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You can have a lot of consensus on a hypothesis but it doesn't add to its validity. .......It's hard to accept a hypothesis on faith alone.

Just aman

 

I'll likely get accused of playing with words here, but surely we never accept a hypothesis on faith alone. Indeed, we never accept a hypothesis, full stop, period. We either reject it (having proven it invalid or found superior alternatives) or convert it (promote it) to a theory. The theory, if it is repeatedly substantiated across a spectrum of applicable circumstances, may eventually become a law.

Some persons, regrettably even some with scientific training, still confuse laws (and theories and hypotheses) with facts. The laws (and theories and hypotheses) are there to explain the facts.

:rolleyes:

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Guest mrcurious

Quine (who died justa few years ago) was a distinguished American philosopher, perhaps one of a handful of "great American philosophers".

 

This general subject is "philosophy of science", and it's especially important for understanding science. The distinction between "theory" and "hypothesis" is very important; it's especially telling that the wackos who believe in creationism etc don't understand the differences, or refuse to acknowledge them. (I've tried to explain the differences, and the fascinating thing is, the anti-evolution crowd is very hostile to even listening to any of these ideas.)

 

BTW, iirc, Quine played an important role in WW II, in the effort to decrypt the material that the Germans had encrypted using the Enigma machine.

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An hypothesis can vary from person to person. But surely an good hypothesis is based on at least some fact and asumption based on the facts.

When it is first proposed, a hypothesis comes from our imagination and doesn't have to be based on any fact at all. It is testing AFTER you form a hypothesis that establishes a connection to facts.

 

Now, hypotheses come in 3 forms, depending on the state of testing:

Untested.

Supported

Falsified.

 

But hypothesis can be wildly different if we take on intent as an ingredient in the building of the hypothesis even though facts dictate both hypothesis.

Example= The capitalist world is the ideal circumstance in which to invest capital for profit, so let the capitalist world thrive and let us make more profit.

Anti= The caspitalist ideal is to make more profit, at the expense of the poor, justice and the enviroment, so end capitalism.

These aren't scientific hypotheses, because both involve ethical judgments: "ideal" in the first and "justice" in the second.

 

Now, you can have competing hypotheses that both explain the data. For instance:

1. The fossils at Dinosaur National Park were deposited by a local flood.

2. The fossils at Dinosaur National Park were deposited by a world-wide flood.

 

Both would account for the data, since both involve a flood. The difference is the extent of that flood. To decide between the hypotheses, you need more data.

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A hypothesis usually states that something' date=' or in contrast nothing, will happen when you alter a single factor in an experiment. That nothing will happen (nothing out of the ordinary that is) is called the null hypothesis. That something (something out of the ordinary) happens is called the alternate hypothesis.

 

This means that an experiment tests two mutually exclusive hypotheses in order to determine whether or not a single factor produces an effect.[/quote']

 

This is how we state it in our research papers at school:

 

Ho(Null Hypothesis): There is no significant difference between the observed....

 

Ha(Alternate Hypothesis): There is a significant difference between the blah blah blah...

 

I wonder though if this is the only way? Is this the standard? We've been taught this, and we use this like a tradition.

 

To test a hypothesis do you always have to experiment on it in comparison to some standard?

 

What is the difference between a thesis and a hypothesis?

 

Thanks in advance!

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Hypothesis are like food while cooking' date=' smell good, look good, but it cant be not eateable.

in other words... you can only do 3 things with a hypothesis.

1.- Prove that its true

2.- Prove that its wrong[/quote']

You can only disprove a hypothesis. You can never prove it, only generate results that support it.

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An hypothesis can vary from person to person. But surely an good hypothesis is based on at least some fact and asumption based on the facts.

 

Not necessarily. You are talking about supported hypotheses. When a hypothesis is first made, it does not have to be based on anything at all; it is an imaginative construct.

 

However, the first step a person making a hypothesis should do is attempt to falsify it before he tells anyone else. This is where your "based on at least some fact" comes in. The hypothesis has already survived YOUR best efforts to falsify it before you tell anyone else. You have already tested it against facts to see if the hypothesis has any false consequences.

 

Now, the hypothesis can fail the testing. It is still a hypothesis, but it is now a falsified hypothesis.

 

So, you can see that hypotheses can be:

1. untested.

2. falsified

3. supported.

 

In these discussions, we tend to forget the first two and improperly assume that all hypotheses are supported hypotheses.

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This general subject is "philosophy of science", and it's especially important for understanding science. The distinction between "theory" and "hypothesis" is very important; it's especially telling that the wackos who believe in creationism etc don't understand the differences, or refuse to acknowledge them. (I've tried to explain the differences, and the fascinating thing is, the anti-evolution crowd is very hostile to even listening to any of these ideas.)

 

There's not that much difference between hypotheses and theories. Both are statements about the physical universe. Theories tend to be more general statements and hypotheses more specific ones.

 

However, there is the misconception that certainty increases as you go from hypothesis to theory to law. IOW, that a theory is better supported than a hypothesis. This isn't true. There are very well supported hypotheses and some very speculative theories. And, of course, data can show any hypothesis OR theory to be wrong.

 

The creationist mistake is to use the colloquial usage of "theory" as "wild guess" in order to denigrate well-supported theories that they don't like.

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This is how we state it in our research papers at school:

 

Ho(Null Hypothesis): There is no significant difference between the observed....

 

Ha(Alternate Hypothesis): There is a significant difference between the blah blah blah...

 

I wonder though if this is the only way? Is this the standard? We've been taught this' date=' and we use this like a tradition.

 

To test a hypothesis do you always have to experiment on it in comparison to some standard?

 

What is the difference between a thesis and a hypothesis?

 

Thanks in advance![/quote']

 

This is confusing the statistical hypothesis with the research hypothesis. Two different things.

 

In statistics, you are trying to determine whether 2 sets of samples belong to the same overall population (null hypothesis or H0) or different populations (alternative hypothesis or H1). Population = all the possible examples.

 

For instance, you have a research hypothesis that a Zickel nail decreases healing time in a fracture of the neck of the femur (thigh bone).

 

You must test that by comparing people with fractures not treated with a Zickel nail and those people with fractures treated with a Zickel nail. The populations are 1) anyone who ever has had or ever will have a femoral neck fracture and 2) anyone who ever has been or ever will have a femoral neck fracture treated with a Zickel nail. You obviously can't get these populations, so you settle for samples of them. In an ideal world, you take the next 100 femoral neck fractures that come into the emergency room and you randomly treat 50 without the Zickel nail (controls) and 50 with the Zickel nail (experimentals). You then follow them with x-rays and other means and get a healing time for each patient.

 

If you plot the healing time vs number of people for each of these you will get a bell-shaped curve. The question is: do these bell-shaped curves represent different populations or do they represent one population and you just happened to get the appearance of 2 curves by chance?

 

THIS is your statistical hypothesis. The null hypothesis is that you got the 2 curves by chance and there is really one population. The alternate hypothesis is that there really was 2 populations.

 

So, you perform the statistics and we get two possibilities:

 

1. H0 (null hypothesis) results. This means that your research hypothesis is falsified. There really isn't a decrease in healing time with the Zickel nail.

 

2. H1 results. This means your research hypothesis is supported. You have failed to falsify the hypothesis -- despite your best efforts -- and now you can accept the hypothesis as (tentatively) true.

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Looking forward to the two remaining characteristics of hypotheses, Blike.

 

But I'll state what I think characterizes a valid hypothesis in science:

 

It is based on some set of observations (facts)

It is an attempt to explain or relate those facts in a systematic way.

It is framed in such a way as to be testable - that is, an observation can be imagined which, if obtained, would contradict the hypothesis.

It is productive - that is, it suggests further hypotheses (explanations) which can in turn be tested; each one that is confirmed lends further support to the originating hypothesis.

 

Rich

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You can have a lot of consensus on a hypothesis but it doesn't add to its validity. Common sense usually helps judge the propositions as blike put forward. To some minds though stuff makes sense to an individual first and he has to get consensus. Valid accepted arguments help support the case.

It's hard to accept a hypothesis on faith alone.

Just aman

Hypotheses are the basis of logical (deductive) arguments. Hypotheses state a property of reality as one perceives it. It represents an inductive step, arguing from the known to the unknown, a creative process computers are less suited to. Some examples of hypotheses are:

 

a + (b + c) = (a + b) + c states a property of addition.

 

"c, the speed of light, is constant relative to any observer" is a property of creation.

 

Newtonian mechanics was based on hypotheses which were only approximate by the factor 1/(1-v^2/c^2)^(1/2), which is insignificant when v << c.

 

We can not prove hypotheses, they abstract from complex reality by isolating variables. Without them, logical arguments or deductions must be infinitely derived or become circular (begging the question).

 

Hypotheses can only be formed from available evidence. Aristotle & Plato, Darwin, Hubble, and Freud did not have available the same evidence we have today. As evidence increases, hypotheses may need to be reexamined in new light, and arguments based on them must be abandoned. However, the status quo may, because of advantage, create massive inertia to such change. Frequently evidence is simply ignored and kept out of the light. This is supported by the history of revolutions in thought.

 

This very important basis for reasoning seem poorly understood, and the nature of 'proof'' is thus well exposed. It must always rests on unproveable hypotheses, which can be quite unconscious. "Common sense is that layer of prejudice laid down in the human mind before the age of 18." Albert Einstein.

 

Prejudice, axioms, and premises are other words for hypotheses. I hope this clears up a few matters, rather than confuses further.

Edited by Pymander

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