Karl Popper: What Makes a Theory Scientific


Finally, Popper was careful to say that it is not possible to prove that Freudianism was not true, at least in part. But we can say that we simply don’t know whether it’s true, because it does not make specific testable predictions. It may have many kernels of truth in it, but we can’t tell. The theory would have to be restated.

This is the essential “line of demarcation,“ as Popper called it, between science and pseudoscience.

Source: Karl Popper: What Makes a Theory Scientific

Another succinct article from Farnam Street.

Science Isn’t Broken

The scientific method is the most rigorous path to knowledge, but it’s also messy and tough. Science deserves respect exactly because it is difficult — not because it gets everything correct on the first try. The uncertainty inherent in science doesn’t mean that we can’t use it to make important policies or decisions. It just means that we should remain cautious and adopt a mindset that’s open to changing course if new data arises. We should make the best decisions we can with the current evidence and take care not to lose sight of its strength and degree of certainty. It’s no accident that every good paper includes the phrase “more study is needed” — there is always more to learn.

via Science Isn’t Broken | FiveThirtyEight.

An interesting article about the problems of “doing science”: probability values are misleading, different analytical techniques can yield different results, people make mistakes, people cheat, people are biased, failed projects don’t make headlines…

The Baloney Detection Kit

The Baloney Detection Kit.

Another great post from farnham street. Coincidentally, I’m currently reading Carl Sagan’s The Demon-haunted World: Science As a Candle in the Dark, but I haven’t got to the chapter that inspired the linked video.