Originally Posted by SMS1977
Why is "proof" so important? I put the would proof in quotes because what one person says constitutes proof another may not. Further, we all know that studies can show anything (i.e. studies will show that smoking does cause cancer and others show it does not). Look at the environmental report that was in the news right before the Denmark conference because the results had been doctored to show greater environmental problems than were true.
Studies can be made to show anything. If someone believes that cdp's DO make a difference than they can design a test, conduct research in a manner that will show those results. The same is true if they believe the opposite. The fact is peoples biases can affect their research, scientific reports, studies, etc.
That's where scientific rigor comes in, in designing a test actually capable of addressing the question. And that's where peer review comes in. The test methodology is detailed, such that others can critique it if the methodology omits important things.
In the case of most audio comparisons which are meaningless, the major error is sighted testing, which renders tests on small audible differences entirely meaningless. That means the test is completely not rigorous at all, and yields no valid results. One can say "but I heard a difference" but that result is not supported by the test.
So you can design any test you want and then say "look it proves X" but that's a ridiculous statement. It doesn't mean that the test was valid or that the conclusion can actually be supported by the test results.
It is simply not true that you can make a test to show anything. You can try to do that, but only be doing so in an unrigorous and hence meaningless way, and asserting conclusions that are not supported by the evidence.
I could throw a ball over a fence and say: "look gravity doesn't actually exist because the ball didn't come back down." Nobody looking at that test would describe it as a rigorous test of gravitational theory, and nobody would at all agree that my conclusion is supported by my test.
So really it is a matter of what you believe and what your senses tell you.
Take an example I think someone may have referred to earlier - gravity. The fact that gravity has been scientifically proven to exist hasn't changed anything about gravity. That is, if it had never been scientifically proven to exist would you really deny its existance?
Let's not confuse things together. Gravity is a fact. There's nothing proven
about gravity, and no need to prove it. It is an observable fact, accessible to science by direct observation. We know, factually, that a force which we've named gravity exists. That's not what science tells us. Science designs tests to understand the nature of that force, and attempt to explain what causes it. That is where science develops theories of gravity to explain what we have factually observed. And work on those theories continues to this day because we do not have a complete understanding or a complete model of physics. That doesn't throw into question whether or not gravity exists. It certainly does, factually and observably so. But we do not have a complete theory of gravity.
This distinction might be made more clear by a situation where the terminology differs between what we're observing factually and the theories we have to explain it: evolution. Evolution is not a theory. It, like gravity, is a directly observable phenomenon, a fact. We have developed theories to explain the mechanisms by which this occurs, namely natural selection. Whether we have a robust and complete theory of gravity or of natural selection doesn't impact the factual existence of the gravitational force or of evolution. Neither of those things are debatable, they are direct observations, which are as close to what a layperson could characterize as a "fact" as science can come.