I have no problem saying their conclusions are not as "hard/concrete " (whatever descriptor you want) as some of the conclusions determined through much more thoroughly controlled experimentation. In no way does this mean that all "inferences" should be treated the same and I agree merely saying "it seems rational" is not enough. Outside of very specific types of research no field operates in a completely controlled experiment condition, it is just not possible. Here is where the science can help guide "inferences" by basing them on knowledge not just from observations but from controlled experimentation. I think another example of this is evolutionary biology. Fossils, geology, species, DNA, animal behavior, etc. were all observed and combined with controlled experimentation (at a extremely small scale that in no way equates to the all of life) to in my mind make evolution a fact as much as there are facts. Now there are certainly debates as there should be about how this all works together, and exact mechanisms at work./n
I will not agree that climatology, astronomy, etc. are not "science." Reading that statement only makes me think of XKCD and old math/physics/chem jokes. In an ideal world every conclusion (controlled testing or otherwise) would be taken on it own merit and examined for possible bias and shortcomings [Here I'm reminded of Feynman's story on the mass of an electron]. When this is done properly, I have no reservations calling a field science. I would hope we never look at something that we don't understand and say, well I cannot do a controlled repeatable experiment, so I can never do "science" in that area.
Out of curiosity what are fields/areas that fit your thoughts on "science?"