First Principles of Science

Inherent to science are many first principles. Here are some of them.

  1. One cannot prove in science, only disprove.

    Humans aren't privy to the axioms of the universe. Even in mathematics, proof is contingent on human-devised axioms.

    Therefore, if the actual result of an experiment is consistent with the predicted result, this doesn't mean that the hypothesis is proved. It means that the hypothesis is not disproved.

  2. There's always the possibility of a valid alternative explanation.

    Even when results are consistently in agreement with a hypothesis, this does not preclude a different or additional explanation.

  3. Certainty about a hypothesis is unattainable in science.

    As noted above, proof is impossible in science. Therefore, one can never be certain that a hypothesis won't someday be refuted.

  4. Disproof of a hypothesis is not contingent upon having another hypothesis in reserve.

    The scientific method states that if the result contradicts the hypothesis, then the hypothesis is incorrect. If an alternative hypothesis is not known, then it's necessary to search for one.

  5. Validity of a science concept is not determined by the credentials of the scientists who support it.

    The scientific method makes no mention of the credentials of the person(s) performing an experiment or anyone else. Validity is determined by whether the result supports the hypothesis, not by who argues for the hypothesis.

  6. The validity of criticism of a science concept is not determined by the credentials of the person(s) voicing the criticism.

    As noted above, the scientific method isn't about credentials: it's about whether the result supports the hypothesis.

  7. Calling someone a name is not valid grounds for dismissing the person's criticism of a science concept.

    Science is not about, or at least should not be about, personalities.

  8. Matter is primarily influenced by its immediate environment, not by the environment elsewhere.

    An experiment includes taking temperature, pressure, and other readings of the environment to which the matter is subjected. Readings are not taken in the hallway, nearby buildings, or anywhere else.

    To take an everyday example, if a home's kitchen temperature rose five degrees in an hour while the overall temperature in the home rose only one degree, the temperature rise in the kitchen wouldn't be attributed to the overall temperature rise in the home.

Given how long humans have done science, one might think that these first principles would be taken for granted. Nonetheless, there is at least one contemporary science concept in which each of the above principles is disregarded:

  1. Its supporters regard the concept as proved.
  2. Any event that in retrospect is consistent with the concept is attributed to it by its supporters.
  3. Its supporters believe that evidence contrary to the concept cannot exist.
  4. Its supporters rhetorically ask what other explanation could there be, as if not having an alternative explanation would justify retaining a disproved one.
  5. Its supporters claim that all legitimate scientists support the concept.
  6. Its supporters characterize anyone criticizing the concept as unqualified.
  7. Its supporters ridicule those who express doubt about the concept.
  8. The concept implies that the melting of ice can be partly caused by warm air thousands of miles away.

What is this concept? Climate change.