Scientific reasoning is the process, which provides evidence for scientific theory. Induction is common throughout scientific reasoning since scientists’ use inductive reasoning whenever a limited data is used to form more general conclusions (Okasha, 2002). Induction is used to decide whether claims about the world are justified.
Inductive reasoning is prevalent throughout science since it is common to have a sample size that does not include all of the possible test subjects needed for the study. This leaves the possibility that one of the test subjects not included in the sample could prove the conclusion to be incorrect. In other words, induction involves moving “from premises about objects we have examined to a conclusion about objects we haven’t examined” (Okasha, 2002, p. 19). From this statement it is apparent how induction can be a problem in science due to it’s potential to lead to a false conclusion.
Another problem with induction in scientific reasoning is that induction only generalizes what has already occurred. It classifies patterns that have already happened and deems them to be true even though future occurrences may be uncertain. Inductive conclusions contain more information than in their premises and at best, the conclusion is “highly probable” and can be based on wrong theories (ie. Earth is the centre of the universe). However, inductive theories provide a basis for scientists to further investigate and provide more concrete answers to why things occur the way they do. (ie. Why planet Uranus has a wobbly orbit? Scientists examined that Uranus did not have a perfectly elliptical orbit as first predicted all planets should have).