What are some misconceptions regarding the scientific method?

1.  A hypothesis is not by its nature untested.  And being tested once is not the end of the process.
Testing of some hypotheses may go on for years.

2.  Scientists should not try to prove hypotheses valid or invalid, but must be open to either possibility.
Reduces scientists’ biases that may consciously or unconsciously lead them to ignore or rule out data according to those biases.

3.  The scientific method does not prove anything TRUE.
Science is done by humans, not all-seeing, infallible, omnipotent beings, and its very nature requires that we do not think of science proving things true…

   Some Specific Reasons
a.  Can’t test every case.
It only takes one case to falsify a hypothesis.  How many cases does it take to prove it true?

b.  Two or more competing hypotheses can be proposed to explain a phenomenon.
Even with testing it is sometimes difficult to rule out competing hypotheses.

c.  There may be a better explanation.
New information or new techniques or simply a different way of looking at the world may lead to development of new explanations or an expansion of the previous explanation.

d.  There can be human bias, error, or fraud.
Humans can:
- misinterpret the data.
- consciously or unconsciously set up an experiment in a way that will support their hypothesis.
- consciously or unconsciously disregard data that don’t support their hypothesis.
- falsify data.

e.  There can be mechanical or technological error.
Cold Fusion!

f.  Thinking a hypothesis is “true” turns scientific thought into dogma and blocks development of new explanations.