Sunday, April 6, 2014

Scientific vs Non-scientific claims

There's no easy way to distinguish between scientific and not-scientific claims but it will be interesting to know what fraction of academic research passes the following tests:

  1. Let the claim statement be S.
  2. Let entire set of reasoning used to prove that S is true be R.
  3. Let the entire set of data used to obtain inferences R be D.

Check the system
  1. Ensure that D is free from instrument or observer error.
  2. Make sure that R is obtained by performing mathematically and physically sound analysis of D.
  3. Verify that S can be concluded from R.

Check the complementary system (alternate contending models)
  1. Find out if there are no hidden D' in the system that will lead to (or falsify) conclusions R because D might itself be a side-effect of D' and hence not being the cause of R.
  2. Make sure there are no hidden R' which are in fact responsible for possible truthfulness (or falsification) of S and R merely being side-effect of R'. (Here D' and R' together form alternate contending models proving or disproving S)

Test the system
Finally, ensure that the effect of D used to support R and subsequently statement S has been correctly identified by removing the ingredients from D one or two or many at a time and trying to predict the outcome S' in absence of those sets of ingredients. If predictions match the actual outcome S' it is very likely that the effects of ingredients in D have been correctly understood.

The overall result will be a probability value indicating how correct claim S is. This value is subject to improve or diminish or fluctuate when more observations, data and analysis tools are made available over time. For example, if the number of strongly contending models increases, truthfulness of S should diminish.


  1. Where do all the data come from?
  2. Every belief is false unless there's no better explanation available.

Theory of Evolution

Biological evolution is not a 100% fact. It is 99.9% fact and hence it is a mere theory.