That's fine, except for the fact that some aura readers believe that everything has an aura. That, in itself is not a tight enough question.
If they claim everything has an aura, then there's nothing to test. I'd recommend a good optician because that sounds more like a sight defect than anything else.
It's all academic, since I don't study auras so won't be doing the tests. Let's deal with the other argument here.
This is a separate argument, by the way, on a non-paranormal subject. Nothing to do with any other argument. This argument is about the application of the null hypothesis in a scientific format and does not reflect on any points anyone has raised in any other argument.
On the 'null hypothesis', it's a common error to assume it has an overall applicability to a subject. It has a specific applicability to individual experiments.
No appeal to authority, no argument ad hominem, no 'style over substance'. The latter applies when someone tries to shoot down your argument by emphasising, say, a misspelling or the wrong use of a word or term. I haven't tried to shoot down Dikkii's argument, in fact we can agree that auras are unproven and the ability to see them, if it exists, is difficult to test. The only argument I see here is that he doesn't think it's worth trying, while I think it might be. Since I'm not planning to try, and neither is he, there's not even much of an argument at all.
I don't even have a claim to defend with those buzzword structures. All I was doing was trying to correct a common misconception about a specific component of any scientific experiment. Call it a hangover from my lecturer days, but I don't like to see incorrect interpretations of scientific terminology.
So, Dikkii, let me try again. If you have a hair you found in an area where Bigfoot is sighted, you can test it. Your null hypothesis for that test is 'the hair is from a known species'. With that in mind, you test it against every species known. Not just those indiginous to the area, because someone might have released a pet, or the hair could have been planted by a fraudster. Your null hypothesis holds true until you are certain the hair does not belong to a known species. If you find a match, the null hypothesis is proven. End of experiment.
However, 'bigfoot doesn't exist' sounds like a null hypothesis, but it isn't because there's no specific experiment to test it. 'Bigfoot doesnt exist' and 'Bigfoot exists' are, at this stage, opinions.
Better yet, let's make it 'ghosts' (because we're both of the opinion Bigfoot isn't real so we'd have nothing to argue about).
Now, your opinion is 'ghosts don't exist', mine is 'they do'. I can't prove they do, and I don't have a clear experimental protocol which would lead me to produce such proof. Likewise, you can't prove they don't - and you don't have an experimental protocol to prove that either. So neither of us can formulate a null hypothesis.
If we visit a specific site, where a haunting is claimed, then we can formulate a null hypothesis. We would both arrive at the same one, which is 'any physical effects observed have a non-paranormal explanation'.
Say the lights are flickering. Change the lightswitch, it stops. Null hypothesis proved for that case.
Scratching in the walls, accompanied by evidence of rodent infestation. Null hypothesis proved again.
Feelings of unease, shapes glimpsed from the corner of the eye - look for low frequency vibrations. Turn off the source, and if the symptoms vanish, the null hypothesis wins again.
In any such investigation, of course, the null hypothesis cannot be broken unless a ghost actually appears. In the absence of such an event, the investigation concludes 'no detectable physical explanation', but the null hypothesis is intact. The site remains of interest because the experiment was not concluded one way or the other.
Back to the bigfoot hair - again, the null hypothesis cannot be broken here because even if you don't find a match, it might be another unidentified species. No match doesn't prove it's bigfoot. However, if it's an unidentified species you can bet zoologists will carry on looking for that species, whether it's a bigfoot or a new kind of shrew.
That's how the null hypothesis works. I wasn't intending to 'have a go' at you, just correcting erroneous usage. It's a public blog, and if I let it go (and thereby tacitly agree to that usage) then my scientific credentials take a dent. It certainly wasn't any attempt to shoot you down by means of a personal attack.
I'm curious as to why, if it's not standard "use of jargon", as you describe it, you would imply that a scientist's comprehension skills are so deficient that they wouldn't be able to decipher such a simple statement?
Nobody would have any trouble working out what you meant, but what you meant wasn't a null hypothesis.
In any event, a quick search on Google brings up 18,700 hits for "assuming the null hypothesis" in quotes.
Not that many, considering there are far more than 18,700 scientists in the world. Also, it's such a common error that I'd have expected far more. Bad argument, and an appeal to Google's authority, perhaps? A good scientific/statistical textbook might be a better choice.
I would suggest that you steer clear of arguments such as these.
I never steer clear of arguments. Sometimes I start them just for fun.
You're just simply incorrect, is all.
Not this time. The null hypothesis has a specific application. It must be directly testable in an experimental format. It is not just a fancy way to say 'no it isn't'. I could direct you to a university statistics department website or two, or even Wikipedia's entry, but you'd just call that an 'appeal to authority' and ignore it. For anyone who does want to check up on me, the search term to use is 'null hypothesis definition'.
I've restricted this post to a discussion of the null hypothesis, and separated it from any other paranormal discussion so that it can't come across to anyone as if I'm trying to break an argument with semantics. In fact, I will state now that discussing the use of this term has no bearing on any of the points Dikkii has raised and is not at all a part of the arguments we are having now, or might (probably will) have in the future. This is an entirely separate argument.