Limitations of science

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A few of the limitations of science are: "the scientific method is limited to what can be observed with the senses; the scientific method is limited to the present; the scientific method is limited to telling us “how” a process works, not “why.”; the scientific method is limited in that it is amoral (non-moral); and the scientific method is limited in that it cannot deal with the unique."[1]

Science is often better at studying the present through observation rather than forecasting the future or determining the past. Extrapolations involving the future or past can have a number of assumptions and it is sometimes difficult to predict matters in a multiple variable situation.

Difficult scientific questions can involve a number of scientific fields. Scientific experts are more likely to err when speaking outside their area of expertise.

Another limitation of science is that science is a social enterprise and current societal ideological fashions can impinge on the objectivity of scientists and squash dissent. See also: Paradigm shift.

The fall of man and man's sinful nature introduces problems into the scientific community such as scientific fraud, scientists engaging in immoral research such as eugenics, egotistical scientists making proclamations beyond their expertise and scientists actively suppressing various truths (see also: Suppression of alternatives to evolution and Evolution and Cases of Fraud, Hoaxes and Speculation and Atheism and deception).

Scientific fraud

The scientific enterprise is greatly enhanced if a society is virtuous. On the other hand, a great deal of errors are introduced into the scientific community in a culture which lacks integrity.

Scientific community and fraud in science publications

Social science literature has major problems

Example of a scientific law being overturned

See also: Law of parity

The article Reversal of Parity Law in Nuclear Physics published by the National Institute of Standards and Technology indicates:

In late 1956, experiments at the National Bureau of Standards (NBS, now NIST) demonstrated that the quantum mechanical law of conservation of parity does not hold in the beta decay of cobalt-60 nuclei. This result, together with experiments on parity conservation in µ-meson decay at Columbia University, shattered a fundamental concept of nuclear physics that had been universally accepted for the previous 30 years. It thus cleared the way for a reconsideration of physical theories and led to new, far-reaching discoveries regarding the nature of matter and the universe.

In particular, removal of the restrictions imposed by parity conservation brought order to the theoretical chaos that existed with regard to subatomic particles. The "elementary" particles seen in cosmic rays and particle accelerator experiments were understood to be manifestations of the strong and weak nuclear interactions. The better understanding of their characteristics has led to a more unified theory of the fundamental forces.[2]


  • "The great climate science centres around the world are more than well aware how weak their science is. If you talk to them privately they're scared stiff of the fact that they don't really know what the clouds and the aerosols are doing." - James Lovelock [3]

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