Ground-water models: Validate or invalidate

Ground Water
By:  and 



The word validation has a clear meaning to both the scientific community and the general public. Within the scientific community the validation of scientific theory has been the subject of philosophical debate. The philosopher of science, Karl Popper, argued that scientific theory cannot be validated, only invalidated. Popper’s view is not the only opinion in this debate; however, many scientists today agree with Popper (including the authors). To the general public, proclaiming that a ground-water model is validated carries with it an aura of correctness that we do not believe many of us who model would claim. We can place all the caveats we wish, but the public has its own understanding of what the word implies. Using the word valid with respect to models misleads the public; verification carries with it similar connotations as far as the public is concerned. Our point is this: using the terms validation and verification are misleading, at best. These terms should be abandoned by the ground-water community.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Ground-water models: Validate or invalidate
Series title Ground Water
DOI 10.1111/j.1745-6584.1993.tb01808.x
Volume 31
Issue 2
Year Published 1993
Language English
Publisher Wiley
Contributing office(s) Water Resources
Description 2 p.
First page 178
Last page 179