Part 1.

I was making some questions regarding scientific proofs here and I have been told that falsification "is a long abandoned idea of science, it lives on only in amateurish discussions". Well, as far as I knew, falsification was the most modern and accepted view on what is science, but maybe this is not current accepted (or never was). It, then, bags the question to be asked: what is the definition of science that we currently accept and actually use in the most known fields of study such as Physics, Chemistry, Medicine, Psychology, etc. Also, can we one day change what we belive to be science.

Part 2.

Taking into consideration the answer to the previous question, which fields of study can be classified as scientific? I mean, many chemistry experiments can be done in a lab, but many astronomical facts cannot, for Popper, one could be falsified and the other not. Psychology seems a hard to falsify field of study too, since testing humans is quite difficult.


2 Answers 2


Science consists of the following activities (algorithm, the scientific method)

  1. Data collection aka observation. This activity is crucial i.e. the quality of the data must guaranteed.

  2. Pattern detection. Is there a, sensu amplissimo, trend in the data? Is the pattern, if there is one, mathematizable i.e. can we express the pattern as a mathematical formula/equation?

We can stop here. I would, but most go all the way if you catch me drift.

  1. Hypothesis generation. Think of a set of ideas that would explain this pattern? Usually multiple hypotheses are offered for evaluation for every pattern detected.

  2. Experiment. Choose a hypothesis and make predictions based off of that hypothesis. Do the predictions come true? If yes, we could say the given hypothesis is confirmed but that's allegedly lost favor among scientists. If the experiment yields negative results (predictions fail), the hypothesis in question is falsified (re Popper). Back to the drawing board - think of a new hypothesis and conduct new experiments based on it.

Wash, lather, rinse repeat.

Any field in which this method is applied is a science.

Me two cents.

  • 1
    Note that the experiment does not have to be of your own staging. They tested relativity vs Newtonian mechanics in a transit of Mercury
    – Mary
    Dec 24, 2022 at 15:08
  • Okay, got it. Now, can this processed be skipped a bit? Like jumping right to the third step? As far as I remeber, Einstein didn't have much data to observe before coming with the idea of Relativity; some will say it's more about creativity Dec 27, 2022 at 2:20
  • 1
    @BernardoBeniniFantin "Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world." ~ Albert Einstein Dec 27, 2022 at 8:43
  • @AgentSmith so the science process can be skipped? to the third step? Dec 27, 2022 at 13:31
  • @BernardoBeniniFantin, well, not exactly. You need to work on something, there's got to be a phenomenon you want to hypothesize about (explain). That said pure mathematics, they say, is precisely what your question inquires into - mathematical worlds, literally pulled out of thin air and a favorite hang out for physicists in search of mathematical models for their pet hypotheses/theories. Dec 27, 2022 at 14:04

Science is defined as Study of Experiments. Nothing more, nothing less.

If you are not doing experiments, just observing and making theories or just doing thought experiments then you are not doing science. You are doing philosophy.

Consider all Greek philosophers agreeing that heavy object will fall first, no one bothering to test it by doing a simple experiment. As soon as an experiment is done, thousands of years of philosophy is refuted.

Astronomy is applying known scientific laws, which are found by many, many experiments on far away, celestial objects. It's still just observation and theorizing. It cannot be science.

Psychology is science when you apply different treatments or run different tests on humans and animals. You do not just theorize, and you do not just observe.

Marketing is science when you have focus groups. You present an idea to them and see how well its accepted.

Physics is science when you do your own experiments or analyze results of experiments done by others. You see how the data fits. The data must come from experiments, not from observations. It's important because if you are running the experiment you are preventing a lot of factors not in study to interfere in the results. More you can prevent those factors from interfering more accurate your conclusions are. Problem with theorizing on observations alone is you cannot control those factors from interfering.

  • Hmm, it seems to condradict a bit with the previous answer. Do you recomend any book to understand more about the subject? Dec 27, 2022 at 2:23

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