Failure of a Theory

A reader wrote…

“I have a decent background in astronomy but know only little about Mahabharata. I simulated number of your claims of Mahabharata verses and I also read articles written by Mr. Phadanvis.

What I am struggling to understand is while good number of Mahabharata verses can be verified with astronomy simulations, some of them do not quiet agree for your year of Mahabharata war.

Isn’t this failure of your theory? or at least a failure of your proposed date (of Mahabharata War)?

My Response…

I am glad that this reader is reading blog articles of Shri Phadnis.  So far, that is the best detailed analysis and criticism of my theory and also of specific observations.

I encourage all readers of my blog (or books) to read blog of Shri Phadnis.

http://mymahabharat.blogspot.com/

Reader states that ‘some of the Mahabharata astronomy observations do not agree with my proposed year (5561 BCE) of Mahabharata war’.  Unfortunately he did not state what specific observations do not agree and why.

Even then his question can be answered.  The answer is that one must distinguish between a falsification and non-corroboration. They are two distinct things…even as it relates to  as perfect science as (as close as it gets) that of cosmology.  And thus more so when it comes to science of history (or historical dating).

But let me not even distinguish between physical theories and theories for historical event (see my notes on this subject in my book – ‘When did the Mahabharata War Happen? : The Mystery of Arundhati’, or ‘Poverty of Historicism’ by Sir Karl Popper, for additional explanation)

It is critical to recognize that domain of scientific theories is that of ‘better theory’, i.e. better than all other existing theories.  All theories are attempts to grasp (and thus closer to) the truth, however, it will always remain a journey. This is because even if someone reaches the truth, one can never be certain of it.  Thus failure of a theory is always in comparison to another better theory.

As a result, it is not enough to say/ascertain (vaguely or with respect to specific observations that are not corroborated by a specific theory) that certain theory may be wrong.  This is because science has produced many counter-intuitive results (e.g. geocentric vs. heliocentric, circular vs. elliptical orbits, terrestrial = celestial, etc.). It is always our intuition (subjective judgments, assumptions, opinions) that had to be updated.

Thus we must pinpoint the alleged failure of a specific theory.  However it is also critical to understand (point lost on many) that it is not enough to say that something (e.g. a theory or a proposed date) fails in some ultimate sense, for this is always true of ALL theories.

The failure of a specific theory (or proposal which in turn is based on a theory) can be accepted only if one has a better theory (and a proposal, as in the case of historical event) which corrects this failure.

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