sorting science from speculation

sorting science from speculation

What makes a theory scientific?


Observations lead to hypotheses, which through procedural experimentation may confirm an objective basis for a theory. A systematically consistent approach to testing and observation should ultimately establish the verification, or repudiation, of one’s assumptions.

Science is constrained by the following principles of induction: experimentation must be employed to affirm or falsify a hypothesis inspired by observation. The fundamental prerequisite of experimentation is testing by observation, repeatability or reproducibility, and empiricism. Conclusions are necessarily derived by verifiable data collection and the objective analysis of that data. If a hypothesis postulates a solution to an observable problem, it is its falsifiability rather than its verifiability that distinguishes it as “scientific” by empirical standards. Falsifiable conclusion are to be determined by experimentation that produces or affirms observable, reproducible, and empirical evidence. If a hypothesis is said to be affirmed without meeting the empirical criteria of the scientific method, then at best it remains a hypothesis; it is not a “scientific” theory. In the words of Karl Popper, “I shall certainly admit a system as empirical or scientific only if it is capable of being tested by experience. . . . Not the verifiability but the falsifiability of a system is to be taken as a criterion of demarcation.”

What makes a theory scientific? Empiricism. Otherwise it is at best a working assumption. The debate over origins surpasses the limitations of science.

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