As the probability of a specific occurrence or outcome tends towards 0 it becomes less likely, but even the most unlikely events rarely attain classification as an absolute impossibility. However, there appears to be a need to address the misunderstanding that theoretical possibility is the same as plausibility, if only to save the funds spent, and the subsequent time of peer reviewers, on research that pushes the boundaries of credibility.
A solution to this problem has recently been proposed in an article published in Theoretical Biology & Medical Modelling. Dr Abel draws upon previous descriptions and concepts in his article The Universal Plausibility Metric (UPM) & Principle (UPP) and describes an equation, featuring the pre-defined concepts of UPM and UPP, to determine the threshold for implausibility and suggests that it should be used to assess the plausibility of a hypothesis as part of the methods for future research.
Although the biggest impact of this application would be within the fields of astrobiology and life-origin research, it could be applied in all fields of scientific investigation.
Should this equation be used to identify whether a hypothesis is too far-fetched to justify scientific expenditure and investigation? Or do we have a need to test the nigh on impossible in order to satisfy curiosity and to continue to delve into the unknown and improbable?
Latest posts by Lisa Phelps (see all)
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