Bad Science and Confirmation Bias

Good honest science is first approached by collecting observational data, analyzing for certain relationships, and finally forming hypotheses around the data. But that's just the beginning. The good scientist then does his level best to disprove the hypotheses suggested by the data. To the extent he tries and fails, the hypotheses gain more acceptance. Then, other good scientists set about to disprove, and to the extent they try and fail, the hypotheses become to be "established science." The underlying methodology is one of falsifiability in scientific propositions. Put another way, a scientific proposition must be formed in a way that methodologically makes room for a negative result. Here's my favorite illustration, from the late Carl Sagan in his book, The Demon Haunted World. "A Fire-Breathing Dragon Lives in My Garage." Now, what’s the difference between an invisible, incorporeal, floating dragon who spits heatless fire and no dragon at all? If there’s no way to disprove my contention, no conceivable experiment that would count against it, what does it mean to say that my dragon exists? Your inability to invalidate my hypothesis is not at all the same thing as proving it true. Claims that cannot be tested, assertions immune to...

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Richard Nikoley

I'm Richard Nikoley. Free The Animal began in 2003 and as of 2022, contains over 5,000 posts. I blog what I wish...from health, diet, and food to travel and lifestyle; to politics, social antagonism, expat-living location and time independent—while you sleep—income. I celebrate the audacity and hubris to live by your own exclusive authority and take your own chances. Read More
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