证明科学理论意味着什么？数学在科学中的作用是什么？你如何定义科学方法？看一看人们对科学的基本看法，证据的含义，以及假设是否可以证明或无法证实。故事的开头是一封电子邮件，似乎批评了我对大爆炸理论的支持，毕竟这是无法改变的。该电子邮件的作者表示，他认为这与我在“科学方法导论”一文中提到的事实相关，我有以下几点：分析数据 – 使用适当的数学分析来查看实验结果是否支持或反驳这一假设。他暗示强调“数学分析”是误导。他声称数学在后来得到了解决，理论家认为科学可以用方程式和任意指定的常数来更好地解释。根据作者的说法，基于科学家的先入之见，数学可以被操纵以获得所需的结果，例如爱因斯坦对宇宙学常数的所作所为。这个解释有很多好处，我觉得其中有几个很广泛。让我们在接下来的几天内逐点考虑它们。大爆炸理论绝对无法证明。事实上，所有的科学理论都是无法证明的，但是大爆炸确实比大多数人受到的影响更大。当我说所有的科学理论都是无法证明的时候，我引用了着名的科学哲学家卡尔波普尔的观点，他以讨论科学观念必须是可证伪的观点而闻名。换句话说，必须有某种方式（原则上，如果不是在实际实践中），你可能会有一个与科学观念相矛盾的结果。根据波普尔的定义，任何可以不断转移以使任何类型的证据适合的想法都不是科学的想法。 （这就是为什么上帝的概念，例如，不科学。那些相信上帝的人使用几乎所有东西来支持他们的主张并且无法提出证据 – 至少没有死亡并发现没有发生任何事情，不幸的是这个世界的经验数据几乎没有产生 – 甚至在理论上也可以反驳他们的主张。）波普尔与可证伪性合作的一个结果就是你从未真正证明过一种理论。相反，科学家所做的是提出理论的含义，根据这些含义做出假设，然后通过实验或仔细观察来证明特定的假设是真是假。如果实验或观察与假设的预测相符，那么科学家已经获得了对假设（因此是基础理论）的支持，但尚未证明。总是有可能对结果有另一种解释。
What does it mean to prove a scientific theory? What’s the role of mathematics in science? How do you define the scientific method? Take a look at the fundamental way people look at science, what proof means, and whether a hypothesis can be proven or unprovable. The story starts with an e-mail which seemed to criticize my support of the big bang theory which is, after all, unprovable. The author of the e-mail indicated that he thought this was tied into the fact that in my Introduction to the Scientific Method article, I have the following line: Analyze the data – use proper mathematical analysis to see if the results of the experiment support or refute the hypothesis. He implied that placing an emphasis on “mathematical analysis” was misleading. He claimed that mathematics was tacked on later, by theoreticians believed that science could be better explained using equations and arbitrarily assigned constants. According to the writer, mathematics can be manipulated to get the results desired, based on the scientist’s preconceptions, such as what Einstein did with the cosmological constant. There are a lot of great points in this explanation, and several which I feel are far wide of the mark. Let’s consider them point by point over the next few days. The big bang theory is absolutely unprovable. In fact, all scientific theories are unprovable, but the big bang does suffer from this a bit more than most. When I say that all scientific theories are unprovable, I’m referencing the ideas of famed philosopher of science Karl Popper, who is well known for discussing the idea that a scientific idea must be falsifiable. In other words, there has to be some way (in principle, if not in actual practice) that you could have an outcome which contradicts a scientific idea. Any idea which can be constantly shifted around so that any sort of evidence would fit it is, by Popper’s definition, not a scientific idea. (This is why the concept of God, for example, is not scientific. Those who believe in God use pretty much everything to support their claim and cannot come up with evidence — at least short of dying and finding that nothing’s happened, which unfortunately yields little in the way of empirical data in this world — which could, even in theory, refute their claim.) One consequence of Popper’s work with falsifiability is the understanding that you never really prove a theory. What scientists do is instead come up with implications of the theory, make hypotheses based on those implications, and then try to prove that specific hypothesis true or false through either experiment or careful observation. If the experiment or observation matches the prediction of the hypothesis, the scientist has gained support for the hypothesis (and therefore the underlying theory), but has not proven it. It’s always possible that there’s another explanation for the result.