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Manufacturing facts from a theory

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Manufacturing facts from a theory is a logical fallacy in which the arguer states things as fact because they derive from a particular theory which he believes to be true, but which are not observable or testable. A proposition derived from a theory is a hypothesis, rather than a fact. A hypothesis may or may not be true; it only becomes a fact after scientists determine ways to test it, do so, and it passes the test.

Examples:

  • "Humans and apes are related." This derives from the theory of common descent. However, the fact itself is not observable or testable. Humans, apes, and australopithecines may have been created separately, and thus be unrelated. There is no way to falsify either hypothesis. Thus the statement, "Humans and apes are related" is not a falsifiable scientific fact, but speculation manufactured from a theory which may or may not be true. Instead, "Humans and apes are related" is a hypothesis derived from the theory of common ancestry, which may or may not be discovered to be true if it ever becomes testable.
  • "All flowers were once used to encourage insects to come and pollinate them." This assumes that organisms only acquire characteristics because that characteristic encourages reproduction. It excludes the possibility that flowers might have been created because they are beautiful, even when not necessary for reproduction. It is not possible to falsify either hypothesis. Thus the statement, "All flowers were once used to encourage insects to come and pollinate them" is not scientific fact, but a speculation manufactured from the theory that may or may not be true. Instead, "All flowers were once used to encourage insects to pollinate them" is a hypothesis derived from the theory of evolution, which may or may not be discovered to be true if it ever becomes testable.
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Warning:
This argument represents a
Manufacturing facts from a theory.
Use the {{fallacy|Manufacturing facts from a theory}} template to insert the above warning on a page containing Manufacturing facts from a theory. The template links the warning label to this page.