Dr. Neppe’s Keynote topic at the AAFS describes an extraordinarily important area originally based on Professor Neppe’s research: e.g. Neppe, V. M. and E. R. Close (2015). “The second conundrum: Falsifiability is insufficient; we need to apply feasibility as well Lower Dimensional Feasibility, Absent Falsification (LFAF) as a scientific method ” IQNexus Journal 7(2): 21-23. Drs. Neppe and Close were awarded the prestigious Whiting Memorial Award in late 2016, and a fundamental contribution to this was their model of LFAF (see www.tddvp.com).
At every level of forensic science, what is pertinent is not only what is definitely falsifiable, but also what is feasible, even if we cannot prove that it is definitely true. It simply must not be falsified and it must be feasible.
Because of these many ranges of applicability and theoretical importance, LFAF could generate several novel ideas for forensic hypothesis testing and applications. This extends analyses and conclusions in Forensic Science.
This concept of LFAF (Lower Dimensional Feasibility, Absent Falsification) represents a paradigm shift in the Philosophy of Science. LFAF allows science to recognize what is feasible provided it is not actually falsified. It allows a relative component to the absolute idea of ‘only falsifiable data is scientific’. The application of LFAF, therefore, extends the long-standing Karl Popper current classical definition of a scientific theory that science necessarily must be measured by so-called ‘falsifiability’: Applying Popper’s view, if you cannot disprove it, it does not constitute science. Applying the Neppe-Close extension, yes, it is important to be able to falsify and idea, but even if we cannot, we can still approach topics scientifically: This we do by recognizing that an idea or concept or hypothesis may be feasible, and yet we may never be able to prove it wrong. This implies ‘LFAF’.
Our currently accepted Popperian scientific model can be applied to most of our real world’s ‘Standard Model of Physics’. Yet, Popper’s falsifiability standard does not always fit into certain well-known scientific enterprises and therefore denies important areas on ’scientific endeavor’. Even Quantum Physics becomes questionable as a science, and certainly analyses of Multidimensional Sciences and Cosmological paradigms (e.g., dark matter and dark energy) require rethinking the basis of scientific exploration. Popperian science has failed in developing a so-called Theory of Everything (TOE). Yet, Neppe and Close, by allowing LFAF principles have proposed what may be the closest we have come to an all-embracing TOE in their book Reality Begins with Consciousness: A Paradigm Shift that Works (www.brainvoyage.com) and their follow-up research.
Consequently, Vernon Neppe MD, PhD, FRS(SAf) (and his collaborator Edward Close PhD) have cogently argued that Popperian falsifiability in science must also be extended to include feasibility. These scientists have recognized this important void in scientific analyses: Scientific events can still be feasible, even when they’re impossible to falsify their data. This new method of validating data, LFAF, necessarily includes feasibility even when we cannot falsify the data, and is a method to examine science, including Forensic Science.
Popper’s standard needs to be extended because we can apply many important examples in numerous scientific domains that cannot be falsified but are certainly feasible: Many features of Medical diagnosis and management, as well as basic Pharmacological responsiveness must be feasible, and, ironically, sometimes falsifiability is insufficient —we need patients to get better, not just scientifically know treatments analyzed based on thousands of patients are better than placebo! Similarly, we recognize the profound research in several scientific disciplines based on the LFAF philosophy of science model: How can we apply almost any evolutionary model otherwise? Moreover, the Consciousness Sciences, Psychology and the Social Sciences, in general, are heavily dependent on hypotheses that require feasibility and therefore extensions of scientific analyses. When logically indicated, we need to apply this new more inclusive LFAF approach to the Philosophy of Science.
The LFAF approach appears particularly applicable to the Forensic Sciences, where we often cannot apply falsifiability, but can apply what is feasible and logical in the approach to the evidentiary standard of proof.
LFAF has profound implications in Forensic Science because we cannot usually falsify data. Yet we can look at what is feasible at the levels of various standards of forensic evidence: Forensics does not require 100% falsifiability in proof: It can be relative, and particularly so, when we look at all the evidence. Effectively, we ask, “is this evidence feasible at the level of legal proof required for the particular case?” This includes all the fundamental levels of legal proof, namely: ‘beyond reasonable doubt’; ‘clear and convincing’; ‘on a more likely (probable) than not basis’ or ‘preponderance of the evidence’; or ‘as likely as not’. Other applicable terms are ‘substantial evidence’; and ‘to a ‘reasonable degree of medical certainty’ and these also examine “what is feasible?”
At all of these forensic levels, feasibility, and therefore LFAF, becomes far more pertinent than just ‘falsifiability itself’. In reality, the highest level of proof of 100%, can only be achieved mathematically and that is usually falsifiable. Even statistical evidence is based on probabilities, but that is often falsifiable. One could also argue for ‘it is possible, but very, very unlikely’ and arbitrarily give a probability of say <1%: effectively, that is “not feasible or definitely falsified”.