Scientific Self-Correction


Science icon from Nuvola icon theme for KDE 3.x.

Image via Wikipedia

Though not infallible and not claiming to be, science is the only major human collective activity that is internally self-correcting, rather than corrected from without.

To this date, no documented case of scientific misconduct or fraud has ever been uncovered by mystics, alternative cosmologists, creationists, astrologers, homeopaths, psychics, nor by post-modernist philosophers, only by other scientists.

This self-corrective nature is absolutely essential for science to make any progress, as it is but a logical process for testing hypotheses against evidence, to provisionally lend credence to or to falsify them, at least for the time being, as even the best established findings of science are subject to the suspicion that they might need rejection or at least refinement at some point in the future.

Such findings, facts, and the logical constructs, the theories and their component hypotheses that explain and describe them are thus tentative, subject to update with newer and better evidence, newer and better data. Newer and better methodology.

That being said, while a given theoretical framework may not be absolutely conclusive, never beyond all possible doubt, it can if confirmed be proven beyond a rational doubt, though still subject to rejection or fine-tuning by newer data.

This is because one never knows when better observations, experiments, or reasoning will pop up to cast doubt on even the most airtight set of ideas, and require them to be updated, tossed out, or amended.

This does not sit well with those who crave absolute certainty.

That which comes to be recognized after a fair hearing as pseudoscience is not so accommodating, and whose advocates tend to retrofit facts and shoehorn observations post-hoc to conform to theories rather than the converse, and who also tend to work backwards from a predetermined conclusion which is never updated nor corrected, but held to be eternal truth.

Pseudoscience is dogmatic, unwilling to concede to the possibility of its proponents’ error, indeed, perpetuating and often compounding these errors, and it tries to do an end run around the rules of due scientific process. It wants the credibility of science without having to do the hard work or play by the rules of fair conduct to get it.

Science is open to but highly critical of new ideas.

It has to be in order to move forward, to allow us to learn new things, and at the same time weed out what does work from what doesn’t. To weed out the diamonds from the crap.

The work of any scientist, even the most well-regarded, is subject to numerous attempts by other scientists to confirm or refute her ideas, after which the idea is granted conditional assent or rejected by the scientific community at large. Nothing gets a scientist more of a reputation, more prestige, more of a place in history than to overturn an established theory, and if nothing else, at least to show another scientist wrong.

As Benjamin Franklin is said to have put it:

In going on with these experiments, how many pretty systems do we build, which we soon find ourselves obliged to destroy.

Ben, you phrased it perfectly.

About Troythulu

I seek to learn through this site and others how to better my ability as a person and my skill at using my reason and understanding to best effect. I do fractal artwork as a hobby, and I'm working to develop it to professional levels, though I've a bit to go till I reach that degree of skill! This is a crazy world we're in, but maybe I can do a little, if only that, to make it a bit more sane than it otherwise would be.

Posted on Wednesday, 19:24, August 18, 2010, in Science and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. It is stupid pants when believers tell us that believing in science is faith (and I think that understand is a better word than believe). They poo poo the fact that science is fluid and changes when better (more correct) information presents itself, when that is the beauty of science, and the not beauty of old, tired, faith based, unchanging religion. Great post “T”.

    Kriss

    Like

  2. This brought to mind the article I was reading earlier this month. New observations of the heliosphere tend to show that the proportion of Oxygen in the sun may be misfigured. I didn’t quite catch why, but if confirmed, it seems that the assumed weight of protons will be off. My what fun a new sattelite can bring….. :-)

    Like

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Scientific Self-Correction « The Call of Troythulu -- Topsy.com

Commenting below. No spam or trolling, or my cats will be angry.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Ethereal Heights

its a beautiful world

"Tell me a story" ebook in amazon

new home for ethereal heights

Earth in black and white

A slice of real world

Petals of Fire Lotus

books of poetry and painting

daintypetals

a bouquet of wild flowers

"Black Mist and other stories"

I dreamt for stars, gathered stardust in my soul, sprinkling some to earth now, waiting for them to grow up in dream wood.

HotDog on ACID

Comics and Doodles

Rare Horror

We provide reviews and recommendations for all things horror. We are particularly fond of 80s, foreign, independent, cult and B horror movies. Please use the menu on the top left of the screen to view our archives or to learn more about us.

Michelle M. Welch

author of speculative fiction

Poetgeneral

In the world of Literature, Anything Is possible. Poetry/ literature is the express expression of the heart and soul.

Write With Warnimont

Write for fun. Write to inspire. Write to change the world.

Echo LaVeaux

...mystical musings from a magical mind...

dpapa

Living a flip flop life!

randommusings

"Everything you can imagine is real." - Pablo Picasso.

DARK MATTER SPACE

Seeing Future in Space

BOOKS (UN)LIMITED

(im)personal book store for you

Beautiful Life with Cancer

Discovering the Gift

jhgoodglass

80's Revivalists UNITE!

Storiform.com

Writing Popular Fiction

Sharmishtha Basu

paintings, poems and thoughts

Realm of Empress Musie

Sharmishtha Basu's poetries

"songbird sings to sun" ebook in amazon

Colours and words two muses dancing together

Thoughts

Realm of Musie (my muse)

Marianne Talbot Philosophy

Marianne is Director Of Studies in Philosophy at the University of Oxford's Department for Continuing Education

La Audacia de Aquiles

El Mundo Visible es Sólo un Pretexto

Optimal Human Modulation

Your Space to Defrag

Words on a blackboard

In a world of poems, words steal love and put it on a blackboard

Math Outlet

Math Resources For Elementary Teachers

Kurt Brindley

RELATING TO HUMANS

Author -Carole Parkes

Psychological, thriller, mystery, secrets, betrayal, adoption, romance, poetry, art

Some Bad Plankton

creative outlet plugged in

kvm88

I don't want believe I want to know. - Carl Sagan

Physics and Art

The strange case of Dr. August and Mr. von Orth.

Charlotte Cuevas, Author

Current writing projects: 52 Flashes of Fiction & The 365 Poetry Project: Year 2

WordPress.com

WordPress.com is the best place for your personal blog or business site.

Deidra Alexander's Blog

I have people to kill, lives to ruin, plagues to bring, and worlds to destroy. I am not the Angel of Death. I'm a fiction writer.

lalocabrujita

Zingendewoorden

Riley Amos Westbook

A fantasy Author with too much free time on his hands.

Kelsey's Cluttered Bookshelf

My ramblings about books and other random things.

Radhika Mukherjee

Writer. Editor. Dreamer. Eco-Feminist.

The Nerd Nebula

The Nucleus of the Universe for all Nerd Hacks!

The Skeptical Teacher

Musings of a science teacher & skeptic in an age of woo.

Sucheta the Scribbler

Random. Purely Random. And then some more...

Eric Ian Huffman

I've come to Write.

Markovich Universe

The Bliss of Reality

Woodland Rambles

A writer, a dog, and miles of trails

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,170 other followers

%d bloggers like this: