‘scientifically proven’ – I think not

The phrase ‘scientifically proven’ is not one you’re likely to hear from a scientist – but it’s often attached to claims about a whole variety of products. Why don’t scientists use the phrase? Because – as I’ve said before – while we can offer the best possible explanation for a set of data or suite of observations, we can never be 100% sure that it’s correct: it’s always possible that new research might alter our current understanding. (Think of our changed perceptions about the cause of stomach ulcers, for example.)

Now I see that the reincarnated Charles Darwin has addressed this same issue in a recent blog posting. (And if you’re skeptically inclined, one of his correspondents has what looks like a most interesting blog of their own.)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *