It was done by Feynman first (I had heard of it in 2007, before this video was published, when I was finding about Feynman after reading his classic "Surely you're .."). I don't think Lewin acknowledged that though
It is common to have time on the x-axis, but that doesn't seem to be the case here. The dots on the line are equally spaced horizontally, but the number of years between each dot varies, sometimes it is 20 years, sometimes it is 40 years, so I don't think the horizontal location represents time.
I'd call this a parametric plot, useful when you have two quantities which vary over time, and you want to visualise how they relate to each other. There are some good examples of that on the Ladder of Abstraction demo, http://worrydream.com/LadderOfAbstraction/ The "Abstracting Over Time" graphic is a parametric plot of the position of the car, where x is horizontal position, y is vertical position, and distance along the line is time.
Oh, I somehow missed that half of the intervals were only 20 years.
But it's not a parametric plot either, because the number of pirates goes up and then down.
I guess it could plausibly be a normal graph with the X axis being some silly function of time; or a parametric plot with the X axis being a stupid function of pirates. But really I think aw3c2 was right: the graph makes zero sense.
I'm being picky here, but the word "proven" doesn't really make sense in the context. A more accurate way of expressing the title would be "Evidence supports a different theory" or "Less support for this theory", as theories can never be proven.
If theories could be "proven" in the mathematical sense then they wouldn't be falsifiable and therefore it wouldn't be a "theory" in any scientific meaning of the word. So yes, I completely agree with your being picky about this!
> If theories could be "proven" in the mathematical sense then they wouldn't be falsifiable
Ack! This is not what "falsifiable" means.
Falsifiability is the property that states, there exists some hypothetical evidence which would be accepted as conclusive disproof of the theory. For instance, newton's third law ("equal and opposite") can be falsified by the discovery of a method of applying force which avoids any opposite application.
Extrapolating some, we can see that for all falsifiable theories, there is an extensive class of evidence which doesn't quite prove the theory wrong, but does weigh against the theory. Non-falsifiable theories don't have this property - for any method of assigning a probability of correctness to a non-falsifiable theory, there is a positive number below which that probability cannot go.
The reason the giant-collision theory should not be said to be "proven" incorrect is that it has not been. Its probability of correctness is still non-zero (and significant). However, it's not true that scientific theories cannot be "proven" incorrect - classical mechanics has been, for instance.
In what sense can a scientific theory be "proven" correct of incorrect in the same way that a purely mathematical statement can? Aren't they two completely different things - with the mathematical argument being binary (it's either true or false) and the scientific argument, as you say, involving degrees of confidence based upon supporting or contradictory evidence?
[Of course, a scientific theory could be disproven by being based on incorrect mathematical reasoning - but that's presumably not very interesting]