The Scientific Method For Dummies

Discussion in 'Science and Technology' started by Madeline, Nov 2, 2010.

  1. Madeline
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    CSI | A Field Guide to Critical Thinking

    Any thoughts, folks?

    Me, I liked his "Falsifiability" tenet. It had not occurred to me before but seems true: any belief that is never going to be susceptable to being proven false has to be considered magical thinking or religious belief, not "fact".
     
  2. u2scram
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  3. antagon
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    antagon The Man

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    most importantly, scientific method relies on tying hypothetical conclusions to a basis in what is known. no random guesses allowed. there is a problem with the falsifiability tenet because science is challenged to hypothesize questions which cant provide direct falsification of of conclusions.
     
  4. Madeline
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    I am not understanding you, antagon. Lemme see if I have this right.

    A hypotethical that Mars once hosted plant life cannot now be proven, but might could someday and therefore passes the Falsifiability test.

    A hypothetical that God exists can never be proven by scientific means, regardless of any advances we may make in technology, and must therefore be regarded as a "belief" rather than a "fact".

    Have I got this?
     
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  5. u2scram
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    "science is challenged to hypothesize questions which cant provide direct falsification of of conclusions."

    quantum physics has raised huge problems for scientists. problems they dont like for the reason that you state.

    its possible to formulate all kinds of elegant mathematical possibilities without ever having much hope of coming up with an experiment that will actually prove, or disprove them.
     
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  6. Madeline
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    I thought we could "see" the quanta....or will be able to, one day?
     
  7. antagon
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    antagon The Man

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    what you have said here aligns with the falsification model. i would say that both martians and God would be scientific/non-scientific hypotheses based on whether or not they are supported by what we currently know, whether or not it can be falsified.

    if someone proposes that there is a god based on scientific evidence, they would have to argue how that evidence supports the conclusion that god best explains a phenomenon. this is why the intelligent design folks, for example, when they attempted to argue for the existence of a god or something like it through science, introduced stuff like 'irreducible complexity' to tie what we know about something to the conclusion that this designer was involved. it is broadly held in that case that there isn't a phenomenon such as irreducibly complex nature in the first place, and thus the basis of conclusions exploring it are not scientific.

    with respect to the martians. one could not simply posit that they exist because in time it could be falsified or not. it, too, would have to be supported by evidence of life based on what we know about life.
    [​IMG]
     
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  8. Madeline
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    :clap2:

    Thankies!
     
  9. antagon
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    that says a bit about scientific method, but in becoming a scientist, you are subject to a year of scientific philosophy covering the method and the history of study as well as the current approaches. in the end, the method is deeper than what any summary can confine, certainly beyond the capacity of a word like demonstrable or falsifiable. it is flexible enough to address (hopefully all) physical issues, some of which are forensic, or requiring explanations which might not make repeatable experiments achievable or accessible.
     
  10. Madeline
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    I have no doubt, antagon...but presumably, this was written for lay people. We have so much muddled thinking here that there are two new palm readers doing a fire sale business in my neighborhood. They are competing against the third, which has been here as long as I have, and all three are advertising against each other.

    Yet, every month, another real business in my neighbor is closed. We've lost two fast food restaurants, KFC and Arby's. I dun understand people who have no money for food spending their last $5 to be entertained by a good story teller.

    This trend alarms me, and I had hoped we could discuss ways to reach the public with some basic training in reality-testing.
     

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