Godwin’s Law is one of those laws that seems to be universally accepted, but that’s not necessarily true.
The law states that if a scientific theory is disproven, the idea can be called out.
That is, if someone suggests that Godwin was wrong about something, they are not allowed to ignore the idea of Godwin himself being wrong about it.
For example, in the 1930s, German physicist Wilhelm Reich claimed that the earth was round.
In 1931, the French mathematician Georges-Louis Lagrange made the same claim.
But both of them were rejected by scientists.
The theory that Godwon was wrong has now been proven wrong by scientists, as they proved it in a famous paper in 1992.
So, is Godwin wrong about the earth?
Yes, and so are we, according to this law.
The proof, however, takes more than just logic.
In fact, it is the scientific method itself that is being challenged.
“Godwin’s rule is the law of proof, which basically means that you must prove a hypothesis, but if you don’t, then you don of course have a proof,” says professor David L. Rees.
Reis is the chair of mathematics and astronomy at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and he has spent his career researching this law and its origins.
“There are two ways to go about proving a hypothesis: either by experiment or by the use of a physical or logical principle,” he explains.
“The first way to prove a theory is to see if the hypothesis can be disproven.”
That’s what happened to the famous German physicist, Wilhelm Reich, who said that the world was round in 1931.
But, he wasn’t wrong about what he had done.
He did not observe any evidence of this.
Instead, he had made the mistake of using the same theory as Godwin had used.
“He made an error and he made a mistake in his original paper and he got in trouble,” says Rees, explaining that it was only after years of studying his work that he discovered that Godwins law was wrong.
In the case of the earth, this error occurred because Godwin did not use a physical principle to explain the phenomenon.
Instead he relied on an idea that he had formulated in the 1870s.
“In the 1880s, he was convinced that the atmosphere had a temperature that was much higher than the surface of the Earth,” Rees says.
That was the idea that the Earth is an insulator and therefore the heat of the atmosphere would be absorbed into the Earth.
“So, he concluded that it must be the temperature of the air,” Reis says.
“That’s why he concluded, essentially, that the temperature at the surface was too high.
That’s why, in his paper, he used an atmosphere of water and he didn’t consider the other possibility that it had to be the air.”
The second way to disprove Godwin is by testing the idea.
But this method was never applied to Godwin because, he claimed, it was not physically possible to test his hypothesis.
And so, the theory that the theory of Godwinn was wrong, was not proven wrong.
Instead of testing the hypothesis, Rees and his colleagues applied a logical principle that is the basis of a lot of science: logical fallacies.
The principle is called the principle of the logical fallacy, and it basically says that there is a logical fallacy when you make a statement without evidence that is demonstrably false.
For instance, if you said that, in a vacuum, there would be no water in the air, it would be a logical fallacious statement.
Re and his team have also used logical fallacy to disprover Godwin.
The second test of Godwat’s law, however in a completely different way, involves using mathematics to prove it wrong.
“What you need is to use mathematics to show that the statement you make cannot be true,” Re says.
For this, they have a famous mathematical argument called the proof by contradiction.
“Basically, you need a proof that the proposition cannot be logically proved,” Re explains.
That statement is that the statements ‘the sun rises at noon every day, there is no moon, the sun is the center of the universe, there are no galaxies, the earth is flat, and there is not enough water in it, are all logically inconsistent.
“And so they show that they can show that each of these statements cannot be verified.
The problem for the laws of nature is that they are often used to disproven the existence of God. “
When you look at the facts and the proofs, there really are no logical fallas that can be proved by this,” Re adds.
The problem for the laws of nature is that they are often used to disproven the existence of God.
“One of the things that we have to understand in mathematics is that mathematical logic is a tool for making predictions and predictions are subject to error, they can be wrong,” Re argues.