Scientists are conjecturers by nature. Like their hypotheses & theories, all scientists are inherently fallible. The testing and refuting of hypotheses and old theories are the paramount qualities of scientists and the scientific process. When a scientist’s ideas or theories, new and old, survive refutations and testing, they are shown to be more correct and therefore closer to reality &, approaching truth.
Science differs from pre-science in two fundamental ways. Both pass on their theories, but science passes on questioning and critical attitudes towards theories. Pre-scientific theories are passed on as dogmas, while science embraces the challenge of evaluating and and improving them.
Do medical doctors, bright 3-year-olds, dentists, Kindergarten teachers et al who know and occasionally practice the scientific method, also regularly participate in the testing and refuting of others’ hypotheses and existing theories?
Or are they more focused on promoting and following scientific or medical consensus ?
If you like these perspectives, check out some of Karl Popper’s perspectives on the difficulties of proving theories.
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© Steven M. Fry
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