Criteria of Adequacy

Criteria for adequacy:  Testability, Fruitfulness, Scope, Simplicity, and ConservatismLet’s run each hypothesis through those.

Camping hypothesis:  The world will end on October 21st, because of his numerological interpretation of the Bible.

Testability – The only test is to wait until October 21st.  Even if you can duplicate his numerological calculations, that is not objective evidence that his claim is correct.  It does not “predict something more than what is predicted by the background theory alone”, so the Camping hypothesi is not a scientific hypothesis.

Fruitfulness – The Camping theory does not successfully predict new phenomena, so it is not fruitful.  It may be fruitful come October 21st (for example, if the world starts ending in ways similar to Camping’s prediction, like a great earthquake occurring and then intense heat waves). A hypothesis that isn’t scientific isn’t very fruitful.

Scope – Even thought is sounds sweeping, the Camping hypothesis is actually pretty narrow in scope.  It doesn’t explain or predict anything outside of what will happen on October 21st.  The lower the scope of a hypothesis, the more inadequate it is.

Simplicity – The Camping hypothesis is not simple.  It makes several huge assumptions; that there is a God, that he plans on ending the Earth dramatically on a single day, and that Camping alone was able to discover what day it is.  The simpler a hypothesis, the better, so this is not good for the Camping hypothesis.

Conservatism – The Camping hypothesis does not fit well with established beliefs.  Very few people agree with his prediction that the world will end on October 21st.  It conflicts with many well-established beliefs; his prediction comes from the Bible, and much of the world doesn’t accept the Bible as truth.  Within the segment of the population that accepts the Bible, very few believe in numerology.  Within the segment that accepts numerology, very few accept his calculations.  Most of the world is pretty sure that the sun will rise on October 22nd.

Alternative hypothesis:  The world will not end on October 21st.Testability – We can test for any scientific causes of an apocalypse, and find no indications of pending earthquakes or earth melting.

Fruitfulness – If the world won’t end on October 21st, science makes a lot more sense.  The theory of an expanding and contracting universe doesn’t agree with the world ending in a week.

Scope – Again, virtually everything we know about how the Earth/solar system/universe functions predicts that the Earth will not end on October 21st.  The alternate hypothesis can predict things like where Saturn will be positioned on October 22nd.

Simplicity – The alternate hypothesis is very simple.  It requires one only to believe the world will continue exactly as it has.

Conservatism – The alternate hypothesis is conservative.  It is the established belief.

After reviewing the Criteria of Adequacy, it becomes clear that the alternative hypothesis is superior to the original claim.

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