Coming Untrue helpfully provides a primer:
In case you’ve never thought it through, here’s a quick list of where the scientific method can go wrong, and these days, almost invariably does:
The hypothesis can be nonsense, wish fulfillment or fantasy.
- The “falsifiable prediction” or predictions may not be falsifiable. How, for instance, could one disprove the existence of God? It’s a classic case of a non-falsifiable prediction.
- The experimenter may stack the deck by faking results or discarding those that that don’t agree with his hypothesis.
- The experimenter may refuse to discard his theory no matter how much proof accrues against it, or may adopt it without legitimate evidence.
- At the peer review stage, the “scientist” may stack the deck by submitting only to those who already agree with his hypothesis and dismissing those who disagree as “deniers”, or refuse to show his results in full or at all in order to allow replication of his experiment.
You may say, “Those things could never happen”. Except they do, on a regular basis.
It’s very strange that it is those who criticize the misuse and abuse of science that are most often accused of being “anti-science”. It’s like complaining that the person who calls the paramedics when they see someone is injured are “anti-patient”.