Theories and hypotheses

The destiny (or rather, the fate) of a theory is to be developed, i.e. altered over time in such a manner that it is gradually capable of encompassing and explaining more and more phenomena. In this, it differs fundamentally from a hypothesis. The destiny (or rather, the unavoidable fate) of most hypotheses, is to be falsified, i.e. to be rejected as invalid. Understandably, scientists would prefer to be able to verify their own hypotheses, to confirm their validity. I would like to emphasize the word “own” in the previous sentence. We very happily demonstrate the falseness of other peoples’ hypotheses (and these are in the majority around us). Unfortunately, we must accept the unpleasant fact that scientific hypotheses (at least outside the field of mathematics) cannot be verified. For example, the hypothesis “all mammals give birth to live young” can be shown to be false if we encounter at least one mammal, for example, a duck-billed platypus, that hatches from an egg. However, if we did not discover a mammal hatched from an egg in books or nature, this would certainly not mean that we have confirmed our hypothesis. Until we study the reproduction of all mammals, extant and extinct, there still remains the possibility that such a mammal exists or existed (and that we have simply not found it) and that our hypothesis is thus invalid. As was convincingly explained by Karl Raimund Popper, hypotheses are thus divided into only two groups in science, the invalid, i.e. falsified, and the conditionally valid, i.e. those that have so far resisted attempts at falsification.

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The classical Darwinian theory of evolution can explain the evolution of adaptive traits only in asexual organisms. The frozen plasticity theory is much more general: It can also explain the origin and evolution of adaptive traits in both asexual and sexual organisms Read more