Falsified AND Unfalsifiable

From a recent comment on Good Math, Bad Math (edited here for clarity…and yes it’s my own comment):

“So you’re saying you falsified my claim, AND the claim is unfalsifiable?”

This seems to be a common response when some people are confronted with the fact that their ideas* are unfalsifiable. It’s intended to demonstrate how ridiculous such a stance is.

What’s actually happening is that a prediction is generated based on the given idea and a thought experiment is proposed which could potentially falsify the prediction. When the test is followed to it’s logical conclusion it is found to contradict the prediction and thus falsifies the claim. In rebuttal definitions are changed, values are shifted, and concepts are restated using different words, all of which serve to render that test invalid in some way, or to make the results consistent with the reworded idea. The fact that all of these change are still consistent with the original idea is a clear demonstration that it is in fact unfalsifiable.

The claim is not that “I tested it AND it’s untestable.” The claim is “I attempted to test it, but every test resulting in a falsification is simply reinterpreted in such a way as to render it unfalsified. Since this can be done at will while remaining consistent with the original idea, it is in fact unfalsifiable.”

* I am purposefully using the term “idea” here instead of “theory” because the fact that these ideas aren’t falsifiable means that they are not in fact theories at all.