But there must be some commonness when we use the term--'scientific'.
There is no universally accepted definition of science, although there are several proposals. This is the problem of demarcation.
One such proposal, pushed by the Logical Positivists in the early 20th century, is the verification principle, or the verifiability criteria of meaning, which states that scientific statements are those that can be empirically verified. Those that aren't, are dismissed as nonsense (or metaphysics, which the L.P saw as a bad thing).
For example A.J. Ayer, one of the main English speaking Logical Positivists, in "Language, Truth, and Logic" (p16) states that:
The criterion which we use to test the genuineness of apparent statements of fact is the criterion of verifiability. We say that a sentence is factually significant to any given person, if, and only if, he knows how to verify the proposition which it purports to express — that is, if he knows what observations would lead him, under certain conditions, to accept the proposition as being true, or reject it as being false.
The reason I bring up the Logical Positivists is that the verification principle is frequently refuted as being unverifiable. A.J. Ayers definition of test if genuineness is itself untestable.
This seems to be very close to the question you ask: "Can we say that modern science is scientific?" -- and someone would respond, along the same lines that the verification principle was refuted, by saying, "statements about modern science are themselves unscientific, since there would be no way of testing or falsifying them".
Your question also reminds me of Paul Feyerabend, who has a radical stance on the demarcation problem.
Paul Feyerabend, in "Against Method", believes that not only is there is currently no proper definition of science or the scientific method, but that there can never be such a strict definition of science as solutions to the demarcation problem try to achieve, and that science is essentially "anarchistic". In his opening chapter, he states:
- Science is an essentially anarchistic enterprise: theoretical anarchism is more humanitarian and more likely to encourage progress than its law-and-order alternatives.
- This is shown both by an examination of historical episodes and by an abstract analysis of the relation between idea and action. The only principle that does not inhibit progress is: anything goes.
And then further down in the opening chapter, he states:
- Thus science is much closer to myth than a scientific philosophy is prepared to admit. It is one of the many forms of thought that have been developed by man, and not necessarily the best. It is conspicuous, noisy, and impudent, but it is inherently superior only for those who have already decided in favour of a certain ideology, or who have accepted it without having ever examined its advantages and its limits. And as the accepting and rejecting of ideologies should be left to the individual it follows that the separation of state and church must be supplemented by the separation of state and science, that most recent, most aggressive, and most dogmatic religious institution. Such a separation may be our only chance to achieve a humanity we are capable of, but have never fully realised.