Read it long ago. Popper’s not news to me and also the sciences have grown since Popper’s day. Popper is good enough for high school work.

Read it long ago. Popper’s not news to me and also the sciences have grown since Popper’s day. Popper is good enough for high school work.


I’m 46, so son probably isn’t the right word. And you’re right about Kuhn being surpassed. But this is a case that Popper is inadequate.


Anyway, even Popper foreshadowed Kuhn.
“that scientists necessarily develop their ideas within a definite theoretical framework”,


But you see, that’s throwing the baby out with the bathwater. It’s another way to avoid the topic.


Popper’s not equally relevant as Kuhn, who is not equally relevant as Quine, etc.


Computer science in practice but theoretical physics was what I wanted in college. Never finished so never worked in academia, thankfully. But I did work for corporations. Proved myself through the work, not the lack of degree.

Anyway, “do you consider science to be a body of theory or a collection of practices?”

It’s both and both are dependent upon the needs of the particular field at the time.

At its root, the sciences are “curiosity but taking notes”.


It would barring further evidence to the contrary.


Falsification is one possible tool. It’s not the solitary tool.


What is your goal Rob? To decide with certainty: A) is a absolutely a science but B) is absolutely metaphysics ?

That seems to be your schema.


Apparently, your goal came through as I forgot your original comment and yet returned to it through discourse.


Ok. Here’s a list of criteria that floats around as an alternative to Popper’s that’s in active use:

Belief in authority: It is contended that some person or persons have a special ability to determine what is true or false. Others have to accept their judgments.

Unrepeatable experiments: Reliance is put on experiments that cannot be repeated by others with the same outcome.

Handpicked examples: Handpicked examples are used although they are not representative of the general category that the investigation refers to.

Unwillingness to test: A theory is not tested although it is possible to test it.

Disregard of refuting information: Observations or experiments that conflict with a theory are neglected.

Built-in subterfuge: The testing of a theory is so arranged that the theory can only be confirmed, never disconfirmed, by the outcome.

Explanations are abandoned without replacement. Tenable explanations are given up without being replaced, so that the new theory leaves much more unexplained than the previous one. (Hansson 1983)

Via this:


The law isn’t everything that makes up a society. Law writing is an art more than a science and you can get desired outcomes without naming the desired outcome.

It may be deliberate without being plain-English obvious.


By not directly naming deliberately discriminatory laws in discriminatory words, plausible deniability remains an out lawmakers can take.


I know you’re smart. You know I’m smart. If I’m ‘stuck’ on something, I’d want to be told. You seem stuck on Popper and falsification and asked if anything better came along so I found something.

I’m ultimately skeptical but even of my own reasoning which is why I try to test it. Conversations like ours here are one of many vehicles to do so.

My goal is to learn something new daily or grow in my comprehension in some fashion. I get the sense you may share similar goals.

Even if I’m wrong, I still want to share the benefit I get from this process as it helps me and I hope it helps others as well along the way.


The thing with Popper’s falsification as ultimate dividing line is it curtails the scope of what the sciences are allowed to investigate.

Not all objects of human curiosity are amenible to his criteria, just as not all sciences actually utilize the scientific method and yet are still doing good science.


I also find theology fascinating as I think a lot of methods for dealing with “the human problem” have been created from within religious institutions, many of which have definite pragmatic value in the practices, even if the explanations are labeled strangely.

Here is a humorous but accurate piece about how sciences are done in practice. It’s long but if you like poking at bears, which I do, this is good skim reading.


This was funny to me:

V) The Physicists’ traditional form of the scientific method (by measuring and fitting equations).

A) Measure lots of variables, accurate to as many decimal places as possible. (for example, Tycho the early Astronomer; or Balmer measuring light wave-lengths)

B) Fit these measurements to some geometrical curve or equation. (for example, Kepler the early astronomer)

C) Invent some general laws of nature, which would generate those curves & equations. (Isaac Newton, in particular, invented this part of the approach!) (Bohr did it for Balmer’s data)

D) Find as many different phenomena as possible, that can also be predicted by those same laws of nature.



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