Tuesday, November 03, 2015

The self-correcting process in science

Nasir Khan, November 3, 2015 
“There are many hypotheses in science which are wrong. That’s perfectly all right: it’s the aperture to finding out what’s right. Science is a self-correcting process.”

― American scientist and cosmologist, Carl Sagan (1934-1996)
The body of knowledge ranging over vast areas in physical and social sciences is enormous, both in quantity and quality. While in physical sciences any new evidence may support, modify or refute any existing theories, there is a lot of laxity in the social sciences where competing theories and postulations may exist at the same time or may refute the earlier positions held by some.

However, the undercurrent that determines the course of search and research in both the physical and social sciences is the scientific method of inquiry – experimentation, gathering factual data, testing propositions, making more hypotheses along the way, etc. – that is more of a process, an incessant struggle to seek and make adjustments in the light of new information. As a result, there is no room for anyone to make claims for the end of such a ‘self-correcting process’, as Sagan aptly says.

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