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Are questions about the existence of repeatable, scientific experiments to validate a hypothesis on topic?

For example, there are two questions asking for experimental evidence for evolution, one of which is closed, one of which is not:

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Tricky one. I'll start by addressing the examples you gave.

The first question you list (https://skeptics.stackexchange.com/questions/15082/are-there-any-experiments-that-prove-evolution) was a bit vague. It didn't ask for a notable claim (presumably some aspect of evolution) to be demonstrated to be true or false. It asked for help with lesson plans - experiments that student could conduct in optics and evolution. That is off-topic. It was rapidly voted closed.

I suspect it also suffered because we've seen creationists attempt to ask loaded questions about evolution, in bad faith. With a small amount of clicking, you will find the questioner is openly a Young-Earth Creationist, raising the question of whether his putative students (learning optics and evolution, from a teacher without resources?) actually exist.

The second question you list (Demonstrable and repeatable examples of evolution) was asked first. It was back in 2011 when the site was still new (in Beta? I haven't checked) and the community standards were still being developed. If it was asked again today, there would be pressure to turn it into a question about a skeptical claim, rather than an open-ended question looking for resources.


One interpretation of your original question is that it is asking whether a question like "Has [some notable scientific hypothesis] been supported with empirical evidence, such as repeatable experiments?" is on-topic.

With some caveats, the answer is yes. It is even okay if the the scientific hypothesis is widely accepted, but note the caveats about good faith here too.

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Are questions about the existence of repeatable, scientific experiments to validate a hypothesis on topic?

If you mean that the claim is that there are no repeatable scientific experiments on a topic then we ask:

  • that the claim be believed by a significant amount of people
  • that the topic is well-defined topic
  • that the question be completely answerable in a few paragraphs
  • that the question is well posed and answerable
  • that answers are either wrong or right

If the above criteria are met, I think there's no problem.

In the example above, the old question clearly doesn't meet a few of these criteria, but we are keeping it for historical reasons. New questions should be more contained as above.

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