The Argument from Unwarranted Design


Coined by psychologist Nicholas Humphrey, and also referred to by the same as the Argument from Unnecessary Restrictions, this is a useful means of calling into question some types of supernatural or paranormal fringe claims when a conventional explanation to account for them is not immediately available.

Note that this sort of argument applies equally well to such sorts of claims as Intelligent Design as it does some paranormal research, to note just a couple.

It goes without saying that a hypothesis should explain the data, but just as importantly, it must also conform to them. If the data we obtain for a particular claim is not what we would expect given the hypothesis proposed, then that’s reason to consider the falsehood of the hypothesis, and the attendant claim, to be very likely indeed.

For example, if Professor M, reputed mutant feline telepath, can actually read minds solely using supernormal mental abilities, then it’s valid to ask why she needs face-to-face contact with the subject, why she has to speak with the subject, why she has to be under conditions favorable for reading various sorts of verbal and non-verbal physical cues, why she cannot statistically score above the chance of guessing by a control subject when properly blinded to these things, and finally, why the subject and she must share a common language even under these conditions to find out anything when the information gained is allegedly via memorized sensory imagery and emotions as well as otherwise privately articulated thoughts, etc, etc. If Professor M’s ability is truly paranormal and not simply clever cold-reading trickery, this is not what one would expect.

To sum it up, any hypothesis that is proposed should both explain and comply with the data, and if it makes testable predictions that the data don’t bear out, then we have good cause indeed to question it.

References-
(How To Think About Weird Things: Critical Thinking For A New Age, 4th Edition (pp. 73-74) by Theodore Schick, Jr. & Lewis Vaughn)

About Troythulu

I seek to learn through this site and others how to better my ability as a person and my skill at using my reason and understanding to best effect. I do fractal artwork as a hobby, and I'm working to develop it to professional levels, though I've a bit to go till I reach that degree of skill! This is a crazy world we're in, but maybe I can do a little, if only that, to make it a bit more sane than it otherwise would be.

Posted on Saturday, 0:28, March 19, 2011, in Reason and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Not bad Troy’O, not bad at all. Raises some interesting questions in a really simple way.

    I like.

    TFIY

    Like

Commenting below. No spam or trolling, or my cats will be angry.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

jhgoodglass

80's Revivalists UNITE!

Storiform.com

Writing Popular Fiction

Sharmishtha Basu

paintings, poems and thoughts

Realm of Empress Musie

Sharmishtha Basu's poetries

colours and words waltz

Colours and words two muses dancing together

Thoughts

Realm of Musie (my muse)

Marianne Talbot Philosophy

Marianne is Director Of Studies in Philosophy at the University of Oxford's Department for Continuing Education

La Audacia de Aquiles

El Mundo Visible es Sólo un Pretexto

Optimal Human Modulation

Your Space To Defrag

Words on a blackboard

In a world of poems, words steal love and put it on a blackboard

Math Outlet

Math Resources For Elementary Teachers

Kurt Brindley

WAXING POETICS... fervently so ------------------------------------- status: decisions decisions, brb | music: w/ mos def @ youtube | mood: /_(' ) -------------------------------------

Author -Carole Parkes

Psychological, thriller, mystery, secrets, betrayal, adoption, romance, poetry, art

Some Bad Plankton

creative outlet plugged in

kvm88

I don't want believe I want to know. - Carl Sagan

Physics and Art

The strange case of Dr. August and Mr. von Orth.

Charlotte Cuevas, Author

Current writing projects: 52 Flashes of Fiction & The 365 Poetry Project: Year 2

WordPress.com

WordPress.com is the best place for your personal blog or business site.

Deidra Alexander's Blog

I have people to kill, lives to ruin, plagues to bring, and worlds to destroy. I am not the Angel of Death. I'm a fiction writer.

lalocabrujita

Zingendewoorden

Riley Amos Westbook

A fantasy Author with too much free time on his hands.

Kelsey's Cluttered Bookshelf

My ramblings about books and other random things.

Radhika Mukherjee

Writer. Editor. Dreamer. Eco-Feminist.

The Nerd Nebula

The Nucleus of the Universe for all Nerd Hacks!

The Skeptical Teacher

Musings of a science teacher & skeptic in an age of woo.

Sucheta the Scribbler

Random. Purely Random. And then some more...

Eric Ian Huffman

I've come to Write.

Woodland Rambles

A writer, a dog, and miles of trails

A.D. Martin

writing - novels - film - television - video games - other stuff

Sausey is Sexy...

Humor, Dating, Sex, and a Whole bunch of Sause...

bdhesse

A writing WordPress.com site

1 SIGFRIDSSON

ON = TIME

UP!::urban po'E.Tree(s)

by po'E.T. and the colors of pi

Mik Mob's Music Mass

share your favourite tunes with The Mob

Something Like a Storybook

This is where Morgan Bradham shares stuff.

Project i•Am•You

Awareness. Lifestyle. Motivation. Spirituality. Inspiration.

hessianwithteeth

This site is all about ideas

Zebra Humor

The world's biggest collection of zebra jokes!

koniramm

This WordPress.com site is the cat’s pajamas

Katzenworld

All about (our) cats. Food, toys and other cat related products

nadiaharhash

living in the shoes of a woman

Ray Jay Perreault

Science Fiction writing about aliens with lives you can relate to.

Spirituality Exploration Today

Delving into the cross roads of rationality and intuition

The Wrong Triangle

Obscurum per obscurius | Ignotum per ignotius

Daily (w)rite

A Daily Ritual of Writing

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,104 other followers

%d bloggers like this: