In the past several decades, certainly, the old lines between the history of astrology and astronomy, and between alchemy and chemistry, have been blurred; historians of the scientific revolution no longer insist on a clean break between science and earlier forms of magic. Where once logical criteria between science and non-science (or pseudo-science) were sought and taken seriously—Karl Popper’s criterion of “falsifiability” was perhaps the most famous, insisting that a sound theory could, in principle, be proved wrong by one test or another—many historians and philosophers of science have come to think that this is a naïve view of how the scientific enterprise actually works. They see a muddle of coercion, old magical ideas, occasional experiment, hushed-up failures—all coming together in a social practice that gets results but rarely follows a definable logic.
Yet the old notion of a scientific revolution that was really a revolution is regaining some credibility.
Adam Gopnik, “Spooked”, The New Yorker (30 November 2015), 86.