I believe that distinguishing between predictions and demonstrations places most people in dilemma. Any claim or proposition may connote or denote either the present or the future in the time line. So, any claim if is it supposed to be a fact must be demonstrable in the present; because, you and I live in the present not in the future. I think our judgment must be based on current evidence not any pipe line dreams whatever that claim might be whether it is material or immaterial. But remember that immateriality is always destined to fail the test before we even begin the test because it just does not only contradict with the present― it does not even exist in the present in order to contradict with the present; so that we can classify it as bogus or fact. Thus, we can just dismiss all immaterial claims as puerile altogether and analyze other material claims and predictions.
We must always analyze the present in order to seek any truth to any stated claim that supports the likelihood of the manifestation of it in the future. For example, we have a claim of the Singularity —a super intelligence which will manifest at the end of evolution. Now, based on current evidence it is absolutely plausible that it is a highly likely scenario that it will― because as I said elsewhere if you line up the computers in the 1950’s and today’s computers in 2017 then you will observe objectively in the present that they are getting more powerful, less bulky and most importantly autonomous . This is where it gets trickier maybe even scary and silences the critics who state that machines will never be conscious like human beings; because that is where they are seemingly heading. The Singularity does not exist today therefore we must call it a highly likely hypothesis because current evidence on the ground supports the claim. But we can never be certain because we do not live in the future.
When we come to other claims like “afterlife” and analyze in order to label it as a highly likely hypothesis or a bunk; we first need to analyze current evidence on the ground which may support this claim. Now, if we open any grave to see any sign of “afterlife” we will only discover a decomposing human being without a sign of the so called “afterlife”. Thus, it can never even be considered for a hypothesis because the present does not support the future. When we proceed forward to analyze other claims like the coming of Jesus or the resurrection of the dead as in Christian and Islamic mythologies; we will find that the man called Jesus Pandira himself is already buried somewhere in Palestine. Thus, current evidence does not support his return because he is already dead and did not ‘fly’ to God senior with a space suit or something as thought by Christian mythologists.
Most claims are based on the future i.e. on predictions but nobody in the world can be certain about the future unless otherwise the future presents itself in the present. Therefore, I think the best way to analyze the future isto scrutinize the present for signs and evidence about the future. If current evidence supports the future then there is a high likelihood of the claim being a fact. If it does not then it is bogus. I think most people are fobbed and confused because they do not understand how to distinguish between predictions and demonstrations; the present and the future. But my method of discerning whether the future claims are veracious or deceptive might help people in distinguishing facts from fiction; reality from reverie.
So predicting the future based on the present might be called sensible because it is like seeing the tail of an organism in the present but you assume that this organism must have a head in the future. Therefore, you state that: “I presume that what I am seeing is not just a tail but a whole organism.” But you can never be certain until you observe it as a whole in the future. Thus, certainty does not really work for the future; certainty can only be right for the present. It does not matter what type of claim it might be. In order for anything to be even considered for hypothesis it must have a tailor in other words possess present supporting evidence right now today. If it does not then it is not even a hypothesis like the existence of a supernatural god for example because currently in the present time scientists have demonstrated that the material world cannot be extinguished or switched off; if so then it will kill the idea of a forth coming supernatural god who supposedly created the cosmos; because something without an end can never have a beginning. Thus, even in the future the supernatural god is not coming at all. Therefore, supernaturalism is not a hypothesis but a futile dream. There are other several claims similarly with “supernaturalism” which do not have a tail in order to assume a head. Thus, this is what I mean by analyzing the present in order to predict the future only as a hypothesis and I hope I was very clear to the reader.
Furthermore, we have already established how to create a hypothesis; we have seen that a hypothesis is an argument which analogically as I have said possesses a tail which will help us into assuming a head. Or in literal terms which has the support of current evidence. As was the case with the hypothetical singularity but as already stated above supernaturalism does not have the support of current evidence in the present; thus, it will be discarded out the window. I think this is the safest and wisest way of analyzing our world and reality in order to protect mankind from erroneous and nocuous patterns of thinking which might lead to suffering and extinction.
In short, in order for a claim to be a hypothesis it must have the support of current evidence and nobody in history will ever have the power to know the future because everybody lives in the present. Because you must remember that the basis of knowledge in epistemology is rationalism based on reason and empiricism based on experience not intuition. If you say “I have a feeling that the future is going to be like this and like that” then you are committing a fallacy because “feelings” are not a source of knowledge.
Finally, on the other hand predictions can be divided into two: empty predictions and viable predictions empty predictions are predictions that do not have a tail and are in conflict with the present; thus, can never exist in the future. Viable predictions are the opposite of empty predictions that do have a tail and are highly likely to a manifest in the future but still can never be known for sure until they do. Most problems occur from predicting the future and the best way to discern efficacy is to analyze the present in order to verify the future as a hypothesis. In short,there must be evidence today and right now in the present which is in alignment with the futuristic claim which does not contradict with the present or reality.