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# The Scientific Method

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Unfortunately, the predictive power is based on a logical fallacy called Affirming the Consequent: If A, then B; B, therefor A." A homely illustration: "If it rained last night, then the streets will be wet; the streets are wet, therefore it rained last night." This fallacy is linked to the assumption of causation. Event A precedes event B, therefore, event A caused event B." Hume showed that there is no logical justification for such a position.
I agree with Hume quite simply because A being previous to B is a necessary but not a sufficient condition for A being the cause of B. B ==> A is condition for A being the only cause of B. Your homely illustration only shows that a street may be wet for causes other than rain.

The doctrine of causality states more like: "If B happens, there must be a cause" but it does not assert that if A causes be, and B has occured, then A must have been the cause of B.

One thing that distinguishes science from drivel is the suit for an explanation of how and why A causes B; this is what is considered most relevant to accepting A as being a cause of B.

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Furthermore, causality needs to be tested - which is what the scientific method is there for. If the street is wet, we can find out several causes for why this could happen (someone sprayed the street with water, a water truck leaked, it rained). We can then test them and find out which are most likely, and calculate the likelyhood for any of these reasons being the actual one. We can also gather data about how wet the street is, how long it has been wet, what kind of liquid we are talking about etc.

Casuality doesn't mean things have to be taken at face value - like Q points out it is the basis for testing how and why, but it does not give us a "therefore" until tested.

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Imagine Aristotle[A] reincarnated as caveman and he began using a stone as 'science' to hunt animal.

A -----> B

A = an Aristotle was a caveman, conscious human as observer= mass +energy+ consciousness

B = a stone which Aristotle would dream that someday a stone can be created 'a conscious machine' by using scientific method = mass+energy+expected consciousness.

We started from stone age, we began from cavemen, but after 10,000 yrs civilization :

When do we get expectation A = B , if B would be processsed by using scientific method :

stone-->bronze+iron-->sword-->machine-->computer-->conscious machine ??

Then someday we can formulate :

B -----> A ????

So what's wrong with scientific method that we use it for our civilization ?

1. Scientific method can not probe physically what is really self-conciousness of A , so how can we use standards of testable and falsifiable, scientific method can be used only for conditional B that someday we may expect A = B.

2. But I think scientific method is most actually for human only to understand 'self-consciousness' at last.

3. Scientific method can not create the way that some day human may drive a big bang for universe , but explain it in space-time.

4. We are actually not a spare-part of mass-energy evolution, we're observer in space-time.

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Imagine Aristotle[A] reincarnated as caveman and he began using a stone as 'science' to hunt animal.

I suggest you read up on what the scientific method *is* before you start talking about using things as 'science'.

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Science is not free from being told what to believe. Consensus beleives that the earth has an iron core even though there is no proof for or against. That theory is based on logical deductions from other theory that is also only indirectly proven from logical deduction from still other not fully proven yet consensus theory. These deduction may be the best at a point in time but may be subject to change in the future. In the mean time, building causual relationships on semi-speculative foundations does not hurt our development of logic and scientific method, but can lead to houses of cards with compounding errors. Once the house of cards is set up, nobody is allowed to pull out the base card even if good arguments exist because the whole house of cards would fall. This is where science dogma comes in.

For the sake of argument, picture if the earth core was cheese. That small change would ripple through science requiring a rethinking from the creation of the solar system all the way to plate techtonics. Such a change in foundation theory, even if true would be resisted due to the whole house of cards being in jeopardy. This is especially true if ongoing research is at risk.

For example, the road is wet so it rained yesterday. It rained yesterday so a low pressure system passed by. Low pressure systems are often due to stirring currents in the upper atmosphere. The jet stream must be taking a dip near where we are. This may mean that a new weather pattern is developing. This new weather pattern may mean more rain. I should bring my raincoat. It turns out the street cleaner sprayed water on the road because the extended drought was making too much dust. The whole house of cards will fallsdown even though it was based on sound reasoning using sound principles of science that could all be computer simulated, compared to other historical data and reproduced in the lab. It all fell because it was built on one faulty premise. The scientific truth within all its parts does not make it true. If uncle sam spent \$1B proving this house of cards, the drought would be ignorred as long as necessary to avoid political consequences. Those doing research would just continue like nothing happened. They are still doing good science that may have other uses. The little boy who says the emporoer is wearing no clothes, would be discredited for the sake of the greater good?, just like a religious sacrifice. Sometimes it might be better to keep one's mouth shut when dealing with religion.

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Once the house of cards is set up, nobody is allowed to pull out the base card even if good arguments exist because the whole house of cards would fall. This is where science dogma comes in.

Sure, houses of cards occasionally build up - in all walks of life. Science is not a holy grail.

You seem to think that science is run by committee. Sorry to tell you otherwise.

There are tens of thousands of scientists all over the world. Some of them work on studying the Earth core. They do not agree what is is made of. There are theories that are better backed up by evidence than others. What the public consensus is has absolutely no bearings on the outcome of the study of the Earth's core.

I think it's also imperative to point out that there is a difference between the sciences. In psychology, for example, different methods are applied than in mathematics. Trends change differently. Scientists look for different things.

Like everyone else, scientists are driven by a need to earn their living. Therefore most scientists will have to be told what to study - like being told to study star formation, changes in the global climate, trends in gay shopping, or how the universe was born, or, let's face it, how to improve this shampoo or that nail polish. It is a fact of life.

Bad science is still revealed through use of the scientific method.

Sometimes it might be better to keep one's mouth shut when dealing with religion.

I think it is interesting that there are so many people here who bother to spend so much time showing how fearful they are that science might actually be a worthwhile thing.

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The scientific truth within all its parts does not make it true. If uncle sam spent \$1B proving this house of cards, the drought would be ignorred as long as necessary to avoid political consequences. Those doing research would just continue like nothing happened.

Please show me an example of where this has happened. I would especially be interested if Uncle Sam is involved.

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I think it is interesting that there are so many people here who bother to spend so much time showing how fearful they are that science might actually be a worthwhile thing.

I think this is because so many religions are based on fear. They make the people afraid of asking questions so they don't have to fear giving contradictory answers. Personally, I don't see how any one could believe that a god would create humans and make it human nature to think and to question things, then punish them to eternal damnation for questioning things. It's just not logical.

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My intent was not to dump on scientific research. I believe that it is doing what is correct by science and the scientific method. Where I was trying to make a distinction was fundamental premises of science. If one assumes that people need eye cream, there is a lot of good science and engineering that will go into that end. The premise can be a little silly and not based on the best use of scientific energy but the resultant science can still be impeccable.

A possible example of faulty premises might be fusion. We all agree that it is worthwhile to pursue that goal. Science began the task using certain assumptions about how it is suppose to work based on contemporary theory. Based on those premises, a lot of good science is amounting to little very toward the goal of fusion, even after several decades. The periphreal stuff is evolving with good science.

If anyone suggested changing the approach, the response is like a back of wolves even though the current path is not working as well as had been expected. The current path is so tied into existing theory, which then comes into question; whole new theory would have to be created before anything would change. That is fine. On the other hand, if one questions exisiting theory it becomes like religious dogma inspite of its obvious shortcomings with respect to its predictions.

The old timer greats of Physics came up with the A-bomb and H-bomb starting with a little better literature file than chemistry, and in less than two decades of experiments created both. After fifty years of physcis and all that they created, and all the lastest theory, I expected quicker progress today, than was made by the spartan old timers who didn't even have real computers; everyone did. Then it dawned on me that maybe certain assumptions behind the existing theory of fusion may be off.

There two ways at looking at foundation theory. Should it remain in power until it is replaced by something better. Anything in power is not going to make it easy for its replacement. This path creates the problem of continuuing to go down the wrong path unitl the replacement is firmly in place. Or should incumbant theory be subject to reason and logic. If one can logically find flaws should it continue to exist or should it be pulled our without first filling the void with the hope the void will help fill itself? This second path disrupts science in the short term but also opens the doors to a wide range of marginal brain storm ideas that will get a shot because of the need. Without the need or demand, the same supply side science has to fight the inertia of resisted obsolescence.

The current earth core theory is far simpler to look at. An iron/nickel core would have corrosion problems because of the surface water. The ocean levels should be dropping. Such phase separation of solid plasma iron from plasma water (early on) makes no sense other than forfills the needs and expectations of solor system formation theory. Sling plasma water and plasma iron in a centrifuge and see if the iron sinks. To addres this problem now water comes later by asteroids. Pulling this 1950-60's theory out by the roots would be beneficial for progressive change but it would also create a ripple effect shaking a wide range of other theories. How many of these other theories could withstand this theoretical earthquake, is unknown.This is where science stops looking just for truth and has to weigh policial and economiic implications. Good science can still stem from weak foundation premises, but the over all progress toward scientific truth is much slower.

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___I note not one comment on Fuller that I referenced in post #32. Whatever camp you hail from I have to again challenge you on Fuller's behalf. Perhaps the gauntlet is better applied to facial epidermis rather than terra-firma? :hihi: :) :hyper:

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Theophilus: I think the rest of your post was addressed sufficiently by others. I do, however, want to address this quote:

Are you suggesting that philosophical problems relating to knowledge to not apply to science. Do you have a refutation to Hume's discrediting of causation?

That is exactly what I'm suggesting. If you had bothered to actually read the post you gleaned my original quote from and used, erroneously, to try to show creationism was science, you would know this.

Off-hand I don't have a proper logical refutation of Hume's discrediting of causation...if indeed one exists. I honestly couldn't care less if one did.

However, I do have something to show that these philosophical problems don't apply: I'm typing this to you right now. That is the whole of my claim. Philosophy is irrelevant to science because, despite its objections, science continues to kick butt and take names. No other discipline in the history of humankind can claim the success science has. We have refrigeration, great agricultural technology, medical and surgical techniques that work insanely well, food preservatives, cars, etc, etc, etc. All thanks to science.

So who's wrong? The philosopher or the scientist? There was a time when philosophy and religion ruled the day. In fact, we have a name for this time period: The Dark Ages.

I will again quote Feyerabend: There are no philosophers, only pedants. Think that statement over clearly as you read it off a computer that philosophers didn't--and couldn't--create.

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So who's wrong? The philosopher or the scientist? There was a time when philosophy and religion ruled the day. In fact, we have a name for this time period: The Dark Ages.

I will again quote Feyerabend: There are no philosophers, only pedants. Think that statement over clearly as you read it off a computer that philosophers didn't--and couldn't--create.

I must say I totally disagree with this type of statements. What do you think philosophy is? What do you think science is? They have a lot more to do with each other than you appear to think. In past centuries science was called "natural philosophy" and the word science simply meant knowledge and not the pursuit of increasing it.

Only in recent times science has become a little bit separate from philosophy but they are still intimately connected. At least, serious philosphy. Do you know who wrote the first known book of logic?

It has largely been a change in use of words, little more, except that many of today's researchers unfortunately tend to ignore things like epistemology.

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This is a great thread.

I read this in one sitting, and I would like to offer a couple of summary points and ask a few questions.

1) Tormod (consistently) defines science as that body of knowledge that is demonstrable/evaluable by the scientific method. I would like to refer the this as the Tormod Model. I happen to agree with him, but that is just my opinion.

2) There are other bodies of knowledge (theology and philosophy, for example) that are important bodies of knowledge, but they are not Tormod Model science. This does not suggest anything about their relative importance, only that they are not science.

3) I suspect there are people on this site that would not agree that the limits of science are equivalent to the limits of the Scientific Method. One could, for example, characterize the classification of things (species, rocks, stars) as a science. Tormod would not (I think). That is, establishing a lexicon as a foundation for science is not Tormod Model science. It is just establishing a lexicon.

4) Nearly everyone resists having their fundamental frameworks shaken (as several have pointed out above). My opinion is that people do not readily like to spend the energy to reclassify the facts in their personal frameworks. It does not matter if you a physicist discussing physics with another physicist, a Christian discussing free will with another Christian, or a Christian discussing Intelligent Design with an atheist. The tendency to resist movment of opinion seems to apply to everyone.

5) Point 4) above certainly applies as well to the peer-review committees of reputable journals. It is indeed difficult to get new controversial stuff published. It can certainly be done, but anybody that pretends that it is not pushing a large rock uphill is self deluded. But publication of controversial results still happens, which I think was the point of those folks defending the Scientific Method, whether or not they accept the Tormod Model.

Tormod (if you don't mind me picking on you for a moment) is a great example of the soft assumptions in science, and the manner in which they permate our communication. When Tormod says (for example) that "Creationism is not science", he is speaking from the Tormod Model. If he were to say that "Creationism, as a theory, does not predict anything", he is suggesting that is is not demonstrable by the Scientific Method. This would be a more general position that does not require the Tormod Model. Tormod routinely speaks in both frameworks.

I would like to suggest that nearly everyone thinks and speaks through their own model. I certainly do. One of the values of a good discussion forum (lke this one) is that you get to figure out other folks internal models.

I can predict (OK, sometimes) when Tormod, or Q or HydrogenBond (and even occasionally Erasmus) are going to defend something, because I know a little about ther internal models. But if I wanted to challenge Tormod on the Tormod Model, it would have to be a very focused discussion, and it would take a bit of work.

The questions:

1) How many here agree that "science" is bounded by those things that are demonstrable/evaluable by the scientific method?

2) Is there a convenient nomenclature that we can use to refer to nonscience knowledge, that does not imply second class status?

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The Tormod Model!!!! :surprise:

Does mathematics comply with the TM? Is math a science? :confused: Does it predict anything?

4) Nearly everyone resists having their fundamental frameworks shaken.
Without this there wouldn't really be much discussion. What fuels discussion even more is the stive of each of us to persuade opponents that we are right.

5) Point 4) above certainly applies as well to the peer-review committees of reputable journals. It is indeed difficult to get new controversial stuff published. It can certainly be done, but anybody that pretends that it is not pushing a large rock uphill is self deluded. But publication of controversial results still happens, which I think was the point of those folks defending the Scientific Method, whether or not they accept the Tormod Model.
What really happens is that journals usually won't take the responsability for an article without their own referees' approval. If a result is controversial but you are able to convince the referees you should be able to get it published. There are also journals that are eager to receive material and will even publish some crap if it is moderately convincing, they do this at the peril of their own reputation. Researchers that don't ignore reputation will submit their papers to the most esteemed journals in their field.

In any case it's easy to have a letter published as the journal explicitly takes no responsibility for letters, but they have to struggle with crackpots making articles out to be letters just to see them published.

That's the way it works.

1) How many here agree that "science" is bounded by those things that are demonstrable/evaluable by the scientific method?
Somewhat tautological. :surprise:

2) Is there a convenient nomenclature that we can use to refer to nonscience knowledge, that does not imply second class status?
Knowledge?
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Why we should refer to Aristotle syllogism A-->B ? This is survival method of a naked caveman when scientific method have 'serious problem' to answer huge numbers of life mystery beyond a simple universe. We are conscious human[A] observing object , and I would like represent from simply a stone then we learn a stone-->a molecule -->an atom-->an electron-->a photon-->a string, and we need dicipline of scientific method [develop a hypothesis, perform a test, gather objective data, analyze the results, publish, criticize, and replicate] but this is actually conscious process till we're being as clock-watcher of universe, most phenomena of drammatical self-consciousness orchestra.

So what's wrong scientific method facing up humanity problem solving and science is most urgent expected actor as a problem-solver rather than trouble-maker in next future ?

I suspect the naked problem of scientific method is caused from 'natural character of self-consciousness as human' , scientific hypocrisy. A lot of unexplainable in life bio-chemical-physical mechanism, why it's simply natural selection but what's really automation mechanism, there is a meme as selfish genes but what is it ?

But the most scientific hypocrisy is our selfish conscious reality, an acceleration of self-annihilation development when we're growing more conscious in micro-cosmic quantum level. We're growing 'unbalance' as a conscious Vishnu and as a mimic Shiva in one coin toss, then we play it a drama. Why are we in this chaotic system, it's very slow to beat AIDS, avian flu and idle to understand virus mutation but it's very fast to collect 10,000 mega-ton nukes ?

Will science face up disbelief in next future ? But why does God always being handicap as 'Eternal Martyr' in scientific method ?

Quoted from Alister McGrath presentation :

Richard Feynmann: Scientific knowledge is a body of statements of varying degree of certainty – some most unsure, some nearly sure, but none absolutely certain.

If the sciences are inferential in their methodology, how can Dawkins present atheism as the certain outcome of the scientific project ?

Quote from me

God loves Dawkins introduce Him as 'Blind Watchmaker' because He[God] understands human is a 'Selfish-Gene'.

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The Tormod Model!!!! :surprise:
I thought you would like that one.
Does mathematics comply with the TM? Is math a science? :surprise: Does it predict anything?
In the Tormod Model, mathematics is not a science. I have never considered math a science anyway. In the US, in normal usage, we usually encapsulate math as a separate curriculum. It usually has its own department. We will describe elementary school instructors as "math/science" versus "science". I don't think mathematics is a science.
What really happens is that journals usually won't take the responsability for an article without their own referees' approval. If a result is controversial but you are able to convince the referees you should be able to get it published.
Agreed.

Knowledge?

I was a littile loose with my nomenclature. I was referring to information that is not confirmable by the scientific method. It ranges from classification systems, language itself, philosophy, feelings, and generally any information that is a result of perception, as opposed to reproducible experiment. I don't think we have a general classificaiton for this, except to call it "non-scientific" information.
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In the Tormod Model, mathematics is not a science. I have never considered math a science anyway. In the US, in normal usage, we usually encapsulate math as a separate curriculum. It usually has its own department. We will describe elementary school instructors as "math/science" versus "science". I don't think mathematics is a science.

___How does one conduct science if not with mathematics? Without enumeration, you have nothing. I have always considred mathematics the archetype and foundation of science. WWTT (What Would Tormod Think :surprise: )

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