On the topic of astronomy there is a view that, for whomever may practice it, astronomy is a pseudoscience.
Being restricted by location and access, the astronomer is at a disadvantage. Astronomy does not, and can not, follow the Scientific Method; which is an empirical method of inquiry that demands that hypothesis is tested with experiment. The astronomer cannot put the stars under controlled experimental conditions to demonstrate ideas and come to the truth of a matter, as a chemist can do with his or her materials. The astronomer can only observe and interpret—a scientific fallacy which hinders truth and progress.
From Copernicus to Stephen Hawking, its practitioners publish works but fail to perform experiments to verify the hypothesis put fourth, such as the hypothesis of the metric expansion of space. Scientists in other fields are expected to perform experiments to come to their conclusions, and so we must ask, why not the astronomers?
“ One of the questions asked in this astronomy course was "What type of experiment do astronomers perform?" None, was the answer. An astronomer's lab is his observatory. Astronomy is an observing science. Sight is the primary sense used in this science. The instrument that enhances this endeavor is the telescope. ”
The Scientific Method
The Scientific Method is a method of inquiry, expected even of school children, where an experiment is made to confirm or disprove a hypothesis.
Without experimentation, the steps of the Scientific Method are unable to be fulfilled. The researcher of the science is left in the dark to build one hypothesis upon the next: A 'house of cards' model of nature without solid empirical foundations.
The reader may decide from contemporary sources whether astronomy, or any other field of science which relies on observation and interpretation, fits the definition of a pseudoscience.
a collection of beliefs or practices mistakenly regarded as being based on scientific method.
“the new pseudoscience of 'counseling'” ”
“ Pseudoscience consists of statements, beliefs, or practices that are claimed to be both scientific and factual, but are incompatible with the scientific method. ”
“ Pseudoscience mimics aspects of science while fundamentally denying the scientific method. A useful definition of the scientific method is:
- principles and procedures for the systematic pursuit of knowledge involving the recognition and formulation of a problem, the collection of data through observation and experiment, and the formulation and testing of hypotheses.
A key phrase is "testing of hypotheses". We test hypotheses because they can be wrong. ”
“ When conducting research, scientists use the scientific method to collect measurable, empirical evidence in an experiment related to a hypothesis (often in the form of an if/then statement), the results aiming to support or contradict a theory. ”
Chemical Times & Trends, Volume 23 states:
“ A theory does not become a fact without experimentation and repetition to rule out all other explanations. ”
Roger Bacon, father of the Scientific Method, said:
“ "Without experiment, nothing can be adequately known. An argument proves theoretically, but does not give the certitude necessary to remove all doubt; nor will the mind repose in the clear view of truth, unless it finds it by way of experiment."
“The strongest arguments prove nothing, so long as the conclusions are not verified by experience.” ”
“ Why is experiment so essential to empirical science? Mere observation is a passive affair. It means but “wait and see” and often depends on chance. Experiment, on the other hand, is an active method of investigation. The experimenter does not wait until events begin, as it were, to speak for themselves; he systematically asks questions. Moreover, he uses artificial means of producing conditions such that clear answers are likely to be obtained. Such preparations are indispensable in most cases. Natural events are usually compounds of numerous effects produced by different causes, and these can hardly be separately investigated until most of them are eliminated by artificial means. There is, therefore, in all empirical sciences a distinct trend toward experimentation. ”
- Zetetic and Theoretic Defined and Compared in Earth Not a Globe