Originally posted by cruddas
It's like trying to walk up an escalator at the same speed as it moves down, i would like to see an alternate theory talked about in mainstream
science for a change (many know what theory i speak of) instead of it being called psuedoscience all the time.
You misunderstand how science works: theories are models constructed from the data. Theories explain the data. The data determines the theory. If the
theory doesn't fit the data, it is either tweaked or the model is replaced with something better.
Hypothesis are "works in progress" if you like, of which there are many and more kicking about. They haven't been road tested yet and are largely
speculative (but again, drawn from the data) as usually they require more data to come in in order to be validated. Many people work hard to get the
new data to test hypothesis and to give people a better picture to adjust the models to (or simply to validate predictions made by existing theories
and hypotheses, an important part of science).
The data reflects objective reality (as that is of course where it is sampled from) and the data does not give one fig about anyone's ideas,
speculations, beliefs, pet theories, wants or desires. Science thus has to draw information impassionately from the data and will systematically shoot
down any theories or hypotheses that do not fit the data. This is the essence of science and what differentiates it from pseudo-science.
Pseudo-science starts with the answer and ignores the data that contradicts it. So you are wrong to imply that "mainstream science" ignores
alternative ideas. In order to finish your training as a scientist you have
to have new ideas. Science is all about new ideas as the entire
research and publication process is built entirely on contributing novel ideas.
The problem is that in order to usurp a popular theory in science it has to be shown to be incomplete or unable to accommodate new
has been obtained and is unexplainable by the theory. The new idea must explain this new data and existing data in a logically consistent manner as
well as be both testable (falsifiable) and make useful predictions as well as being given the once over by scientific peers of pertinent professional
training to ensure the idea is both logical sound and doesn't rely on data that is either fabricated or unreproducible by independent laboratories.
These are the cornerstones of scientific method and are sorely lacking by pseudo-science.
The reason why most of the "theories" touted by self-proclaimed experts on this website to be the be-all and end-all of science (as well as the
obligatory "all science is a lie/conspiracy/made up/wrong") are not accepted by "mainstream" science is because:
1) These "theories" are unfalsifiable as the proponents often are completely shut off to any information or data that contradicts their "theory" or
simply because no practical way of testing and falsifiying the "theory" is ever presented.
2) They are unsupported or directly refuted by existing data (i.e. they are not a true reflection of reality). This kills them dead in the water.
There is no coming back from here. To paraphrase the late Richard Feynman, "It could be the most beautiful, elegant, intuitive explanation of them
all, but if it doesn't fit the data... it's wrong".
3) Not only are they untestable but make no useful predictions (other than "well it must be right because mainstream science is wrong!"). Sure, they
might explain the existing data but so does the existing theory. What predictions does it make that can be tested to validate that this new idea is in
fact a more accurate reflection of reality?
4) They are not logically consistent (for any of the reasons above and more).
Science doesn't care what the theory is, so long as it is useful in explaining the known data. They are models, not reality itself hence why they
often involve unintuitive and abstract concepts. Spacetime could very well not be curved, it could be a giant disco ball for all that it matters so
long as the curved model explains all the known data. Likewise, a theory of gravity could involve magic unicorns for all science could care, so long
as that model explains the known data and makes useful predictions. Could gravity really be caused by tiny unicorns? It doesn't matter, it is a model,
not reality itself. So long as it is the the explanation that makes the least assumption that is logically consistent and useful for explaining and
interpreting reality then it will be accepted.
This is what the proponents of pseudo-science don't grasp. They don't understand that science doesn't cling to models or have prejudice against
certain explanations. Science doesn't care, science just wants answers. To paraphrase Bob Geldolf, it says "Just give us you effing explanation!". The
reason why pseudo-scientific explanations don't get accepted is not because they're too "far out", it's not because science is threatened by new ideas
(on the contrary, in fact), it's not because of a cover up or conspiracy, it's simply because the pseudo-scienific ideas are unscientific and
. It's no more complicated than that.
edit on 31-10-2012 by john_bmth because: (no reason given)