Wednesday, 26 July 2017

To be scientific: validate or invalidate?

I was under the impression that something to be scientific a hypothesis needs to be proved or disproved.

However, it appears that according to Karl Popper's criterion of falsifiability, the capacity to disprove is what makes something scientific.  The idea is that if you go out looking for confirmation of a theory or hypothesis, he said, you are almost certain to discover it. By contrast, good theories or hypotheses are those that allow you to search for contrary evidence. It is possible to conceive of an observation that would conflict with one’s expectations. The capacity to be disproved is what makes a theory scientific.

[Came across this insight reading the following article on Aeon: Is linguistics a science?]

But I guess, any process that involves a systematic and immersed study, either to validate or invalidate, could be termed scientific.  Haven't read much about the falsifiability criterion but seems self-defeating, in a sense.  On the one hand, it keeps at bay the danger of 'assumption', of making something so fundamental and basic that it cannot be challenged.  While from another perspective, if challenged and proved wrong, then is no more valid.

Whatever it be, if in the ultimate analysis, the whole endeavour makes me a better person, willing to see the world in a better light, then that's it!  

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