Scientific processes are in many cases dynamic, with new theory being built upon old in order to further expand the limits of human knowledge. This is done through a process known as criticism, which works by providing an alternate explanation for why certain phenomena occur. Upon experimentation, this alternate explanation may either be supported or rejected based on its ability to accurately predict future phenomena. This is also true for any chemical process technology or physical one.
When a hypothesis is supported by the evidence, it is often accepted as provisionally valid and used to make further inferences, whereas when a hypothesis is rejected, another type of explanation for the phenomenon must be sought out. For example, if an experiment were to show that three objects dropped from the same height would land at the same time (as predicted by Newtonian mechanics), an alternate explanation would need to be offered as to why the objects landed at the same time, such as “the objects have no mass.”
In science, a hypothesis usually serves as a prediction of what will happen in an experiment. A good hypothesis makes predictions that can then be tested through observation or experimentation. The most interesting hypotheses are ones that make surprising or counterintuitive predictions, because they may be proved false (and thus require new ways of looking at things).
A hypothesis must be falsifiable, implying that it is possible to prove it false through an experiment or observation. When a scientist thinks up an idea to explain something, the scientist tries to think of ways to test the hypothesis. If it is possible to think up at least one test that could show the hypothesis happened but is false, then there are possibilities for new discoveries.
Karl Popper was a major philosopher in relation to this theory, he believed that no one can ever prove anything with 100% certainty because you could always find something that contradicts it. However, this does not mean you cannot completely disprove something either. For example, let’s say someone found a star that wasn’t visible before and claim that they have proved the earth is 5 billion years old because the light took that long to reach us.
The only problem with this is “what if” an asteroid happened to pass by the star and blocked out its light for a few minutes. If this happens, the only logical explanation would have to be that the earth is much younger than 5 billion years. So no matter how accurate something is, there will always be holes in it that someone could use as an argument against it.