[Harp-L] Testing Comb Materials
Thu May 12 08:44:57 EDT 2016
I wrote this email yesterday with the intention of posting it to this list but accidentally sent it to Vern only. I agree with Vern’s position and am reposting what I had written yesterday here now:
>> Vern: The burden of proof lies on the person making the assertion that different materials produce perceptible differences in tone…
> cdh: While I may be the least accomplished harmonica player here, I’ve had to spend a lot of time with the scientific method, reading and writing peer reviewed publications and am a strong follower of analytic philosophy, the field from which the rules of debate are derived. The statement above could not possibly be more true regarding any issue of proof in a scientific manner.
> cdh: If someone asserts something to be true, it is incumbent on that person to provide the evidence to support their claim. As Carl Sagan taught us, it is impossible for any of us to prove that there is *not* a room temperature, odorless gas dragon flying around in the room where we’re sitting. Proving a negative is impossible as, no matter how absurd a claim may sound (gas dragons for instance), there is a non-zero probability that it may be true.
> cdh: Thus, relevant to this discussion, it is incumbent on those claiming that different comb materials make a difference to the listener to provide the evidence to support their claim. Denigrating the $1000 challenge, as it appears to be the best test from which we have data now, is a logical fallacy called “moving the goal posts” as, instead of supporting he argument that comb material in fact does make a difference, it attacks the testing methods and, inserting a logical fallacy, adds a “straw man” argument by refusing to support a position by providing evidence but, instead, changing the focus of the discussion from the “meat” - whether or not the comb material makes a difference to “I don’t like your experimental system.”
> cdh: Thus, while I have no opinion on this matter as I haven’t the experience and expertise to from a reasonably well informed opinion, I’ll stick with the SPAH results until someone publishes a more well controlled and “better” set of data based on an experimental case using different methods and perhaps better controls. But, from what I’ve read here, the SPAH test, while informal, seems pretty solid for what is essentially an experiment seeking qualitative result.
More information about the Harp-L