UPDATE:In a comment below this post, reader Peter Beattie calls attention to a short summary of Popper’s falsifiability criterion that he thinks will be helpful to readers who want the nuances of Popper’s views.
This will be short. As many of us know, Karl Popper demarcated a scientific theory from a nonscientific one because the former is falsifiable—there are experiments or observations that can be done to disprove it. The “theory” of evolution, for example, could be disproven if we regularly found well-dated fossils out of the proper order (like mammals in the Devonian, for instance), if species didn’t have genetic variation to respond to selection, or if we often found “adaptations” in member of one species that were useful only for another species (e.g., a special nipple on a female mole that was only used for suckling mice).
I’m told that falsification is naive…
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