Confirmation is necessary for falsification

This is a terrible problem for any straightforward falsificationist theory of science:

"To say that an unexpected discovery begins only when something goes wrong is to say that it begins only when scientists know well both how their instruments and how nature should behave." -- Thomas Kuhn, "The Historical Structure of Scientific Discovery"

In other words, to identify one theory as having a problem, we must have other theories we consider well-confirmed.

Popper's theory of falsification was both logical and simple. Unfortunately for that theory, it was made up out of whole cloth, without any investigation as to how scientists really worked. The people who seriously looked at the history of science, such as Kuhn, Polanyi, Feyerabend, and Lakatos, all discovered that it bore little relationship to how science is actually done. Furthermore, if scientists tried to put Popper's theory into practice, scientific progress would grind to a halt.


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