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A Note on our Scientific Philosophy

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"The discovery of instances which confirm a theory means very little if we have not tried, and failed, to discover refutations. For if we are uncritical we shall always find what we want: we shall look for, and find, confirmation, and we shall look away from, and not see, whatever might be dangerous to our pet theories. In this way it is only too easy to obtain what appears to be overwhelming evidence in favour of a theory which, if approached critically, would have been refuted.” — Karl Popper, The Poverty of Historicism

The scientific approach we embrace is a strictly deductive  approach based on falsifiability, as proposed by Karl Popper. The approach we undertake goes beyond a declaration of philosophical preference of deductive empirical falsification over the inductive concept of verifiability in logical positivism. The purpose of this choice is deliberate and, we believe, necessary to cleanse our “pet theories” from the biases that such theories inherit from their human creators. This is necessary since biases can be disruptive to the rational pursuit of scientific truth, and consequently to society, whenever scientific knowledge is of practical application. More importantly, we believe that at this historical juncture of our planet, inductive procedures, based on verifiability, will not serve us well, since the future will likely be very different from the past, in ways that may be hard to fully predict based on our past experiences and knowledge of the world. This is the ultimate sustainability challenge: predicting a future which will be nothing like our past, do it fast and as accurately as possible. In this context, in which our experiential intuition (and consequently induction) will likely fail, discovery - which arises from making scientific theories predictive and testable, and hence of practical use - will have to be achieved by subjecting theories to the harshest tests and identifying the boundaries beyond which they break. For it is only after one has tried to break a theory, that one will know how strong it is. The Scientist will not be emotionally attached to their theory and defend it; They will try to break it to understand when it is strong (and predictive). Our integrated approaches attempt to do that, certainly imperfectly, by subjecting the study of complex multiscale multiphysical processes  to experimental, numerical and mathematical “cross-fire”, such that what remains standing shall be strong.