Published: 28 January 2007. Updated: None
Copyright ©2007 by Biology Cabinet Organization
“Irrefutable Hypothesis” is any idea or set of ideas that do not admit empirical or observational rebuttal.
Irrefutable hypotheses are not scientific ideas and typically they are based on questions which begin with “Whys?”
Usually, irrefutable hypotheses are ambiguous, i.e., irrefutable hypotheses try to solve a given problem, but they give conflicting answers if evidence leads to an opposite approach with respect to what the theorist expected about the studied problem.
For example, if someone asks, “Why the Earth is warming up?” Some theorists will respond “Because human beings are emitting greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, particularly carbon dioxide”. If a cold winter (like the current one in 2008-2009) suddenly comes and somebody asks again, “If the Earth is heating up by the greenhouse effect caused by the emissions of carbon dioxide from human activities, why the Earth is cooling down now?”, immediately the people who emitted the irrefutable hypothesis would say, “Because the greenhouse gases that human beings emit from their activities cause a negative feedback from the planetary climate system inhibiting the imbalance of temperature of the Earth system”. In this way, the hypothesis turns out to be irrefutable, given that the hypothesis does not admit different explanations on the causes of warming, except the arguments postulated by the inventors of the irrefutable hypothesis.
Another example is the origin of AIDS. Some physicians and virologists have postulated that AIDS is generated by the medicines used against the same disease. If you ask to them, “If those medicines are the cause of the disease, then why the clinical analyses showed the existence of the disease before the application of antiviral medicines and even before the medicines went into the biophase?”, they would answer, “It is because all available clinical analyses for detecting AIDS give false positives and are not specific for detecting the virus, thus any virus could give the same clinical results even if it is not HIV”.
Can someone refute any of the previous hypotheses? No, no body can rebate those explanations because their ideas were postulated specifically for blurring the reality, not for obtaining a reliable scientific explanation. Solipsists always will have an answer against any argument proving through observation or experimentation that their hypotheses are wrong.
Irrefutable hypotheses were invented -and had their height- two centuries ago, when some religious prelates fought against scientific knowledge. Prelates did not find hard to answer any question beginning with “Why?” which could be formulated by the devotees because science does not answer that kind of questions.
Scientists formulate and answer realistic questions, based on observations of nature. The questions beginning with “Why?” do not have permissible answers from the position of science because the unique possible answers to those questions or problems will be, almost always, unrealistic irrefutable hypotheses.
For example, if someone questions, “Why roses are so beautiful?” The irrefutable hypothesis would be, “Because their Designer made them beautiful for delighting the human senses”. However, if you hand a rose by its stem and get a thorn prick on your finger and you ask, “Why roses have thorns which cause pain?” the inventors of the irrefutable hypothesis would answer, “Because the Designer wished to teach us that, for obtaining the good, one has to undergo pain”. This is an irrefutable hypothesis because it cannot be verified by any means.
However, if you ask a scientist the cause (not the “why”) of the beautiful aspect of roses, the scientist will answer that both the aroma and the aspect of the roses may be due to a long evolutionary process that allowed the survival of the attractive flowers with pleasant scent that attracted better to the pollinator insects. This last hypothesis can be verified empirically, whereas the irrefutable hypothesis cannot be verified on support of the idea or to disprove it.
An irrefutable hypothesis cannot be demonstrated to be wrong or correct. There are no means to demonstrate its trueness or falseness. For example, many people think they will survive after death; however, there is not an instrument or unbiased methodology for demonstrating that the continued existence after death is a false idea. All the more, nobody is able to demonstrate it is true!
Concluding, at all times we must remember that the scientific questions cannot begin with “Whys?”, and that the hypotheses must be postulated of such way that always can be verified by means of the observation and the experimentation.