Q: How do we know if science is right?

Physicist: Unfortunately, there’s no such thing as a “proof” in the physical sciences.  The best you can do is a disproof.  At the end of the day science is more about “what works” than it is about “what’s real”.

Worse than that, you’ll find frequently that reasonable questions will have no answer, or will have several (but indistinguishable) answers.  For example, you could ask a question like “What’s happening over there right now?”  But relativity shows that any question involving “now” makes no sense, or at least needs to be rephrased.

Also for example: Light can be polarized linearly (regular up-down or left-right), or it can be polarized circularly (clockwise or counter-clockwise).  Circularly polarized light can be described in terms of linear polarization, and linearly polarized light can be described in terms of circular polarization.  So which type of polarization is the true type?  There may be an answer, but there is provably no way to ever find out.

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5 Responses to Q: How do we know if science is right?

  1. akshit says:

    time and distance were defined by humans there is no proof that they really exist

  2. Azhagan says:

    If science is merely ”what works”, Would you agree religion”works” better than science?

  3. The Physicist The Physicist says:

    Depends on what’s being done.

  4. Square Cow says:

    Questioner could all so be asking about the problem of induction which is “how do we know that inductive reasoning works?”. That is a question that can only be answered with philosophy because science is based on inductive reasoning.

  5. betaneptune says:

    Well, I think some things are beyond doubt. The Earth is round, not flat. Atoms exist. Life evolved. Normal healthy humans have four limbs. The heart pumps blood. Eyes provide vision. A prism spreads white light into colors.

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