Verification versus Falsification of Existing Theory
A disturbing feature in science is the frequent emphasis on verification of popular theories rather than on falsification of hypotheses. As Dayton and Oliver (1980) stressed recently "The verification of ideas may be the most treacherous trap in science, as counter-examples are over-looked, alternate hypotheses brushed aside, and existing paradigms manicured. The successful advance of science and the proper use of experimentation depend upon rigorous attempts to falsify hypotheses." While all disciplines of science suffer from this problem, the reliance of behavioral research on observational techniques requires that one exercise extreme caution in data interpretation. To avoid compromising the conclusions of field and laboratory studies, it is necessary to test rigorously alternative hypotheses and to rely on valid statistical techniques.
Itagaki, Harry and Thorp, James H., "Verification versus Falsification of Existing Theory" (1982). Journal of Chemical Ecology 8(7): 1073-1077. Faculty Publications. Paper 117.
Journal of Chemical Ecology