In a genuinely creative way, the utilization of the scientific method is depicted in the frontispiece of Riccioli’s “Almagestum novum”. At this piece, the geocentric system of Ptolemy is presented as debunked, whereas Riccioli’s system, introducing the elliptical orbits of the celestial bodies, is presented as judged to be an improved version of Copernicus’ heliocentric system by the scale of Astraea, the goddess of justice. This analogy is chosen by Riccioli to depict one basic principle: that his theory is superior to those introduced in the past, because it is more scientifically correct.
A theory or a conceptual scheme in natural sciences comes as a result of a syllogism. However, for this syllogism to be approved as truthful, and this theory to be considered a scientific law, its truth needs to be proven beyond any question through the scientif method. A syllogism based on correct observances that results in a correct conclusion is not always correct: its truth also lies upon the logical path through which the interpretation of these observances leads to the conclusion.
Today, we know that these models of the solar system are incorrect. However, even if all three models where based on accurate observations and they accurately predicted the astronomical observances at the time, we would favor Riccioli’s model, as it is closer to what we today know to be the truth, because it explains the observances in a more logical and truthful manner.
In natural sciences, the laws are scientific, as they are proven through the use of mathematics and their truth is not open to personal interpretation. In other areas of study, such as economics, psychology, sociology etc., these laws are empirical. However, is our experience suggesting that something is in a certain way a sufficient indicator that a theory has the same accuracy as a scientific law, and the study of this theory can be considered a science?