In my recent article in Scientific American, I wrote about one issue that I deal with more extensively in my book The Great Paradox of Science and that is that we should get rid of the idea of falsifiability being both a defining element of what makes a theory scientific as well as it being the driver of scientific evolution. I said that my argument that falsifiability is a myth that does not describe how science operates is borne out by a close examination of actual scientific history.
I also argue that getting rid of falsifiability takes away one of the main arguments that anti-science groups use to discredit the scientific consensus in areas like climate change, evolution, and vaccinations. They point to this or that piece of data that happens to disagree with the scientific consensus in those areas to argue that the consensus has thus been falsified. I argue that what is necessary to overturn a scientific consensus is a preponderance of evidence in favor of an alternative theory, and a few isolated pieces of evidence do not come anywhere close to achieving that.
In response to my article, I have got some private responses and also looked online and they fall as I expected. Historians and philosophers of science tend to have no problems with it because they have been discussing such ideas for a long time, while some scientists are not happy that I am attacking something they believe in strongly.
But the people who seem to be objecting the most are evolution deniers and climate change deniers, arguing that I am denying falsifiability because I am trying to save science from their critiques. You can see them in those posts making the very points that I said they depend upon in their efforts to undermine science using falsification.
My primary goal in writing the book and the article was not to save science from these anti-science forces. It was to enable people to have a deeper and more accurate understanding of the nature of science. It was an incidental side-benefit that it undermined the arguments of the anti-science forces. I am glad that it seems to have had that effect and that they are reacting with some concern that their weapon is being taken away.
It is interesting that some people in both the science and the anti-science sides are attacking me for writing the article and Scientific American for publishing it. It appears that it is not only politics that makes for strange bedfellows!