Argument against the scientific method

Discussion in 'Science & Society' started by w1z4rd, Aug 29, 2011.

  1. RichW9090 Evolutionist Registered Senior Member

    Absolutely meaningless statement. Falsifiability is not an explanation subject to verification (support) or negation (contradiction) by any test.

    Falsifiability is simply an arbitrarily arrived at requirement, under one model of the nature of science, for a valid scientific explanation. It is, if anything, an axiom.

    Incidentally, falsifiability has been rejected as a criterion for a good scientific explanation by most recent phiosophers of science.

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  3. Pincho Paxton Banned Banned

    Science starts with a blooper... 'G' Then 'G' is applied through all other bloopers. It becomes a self propagating blooper.

    When I first started re-writing science from scratch it was because I had to test everything myself. I couldn't use 'G' or any other mathematical formula without evolving it first. I started with a black computer screen. 3 years later I had...... a black computer screen. I was trying to come up with a method to get anything to move from a blank page. I did it! I did it without breaking any rules of energy, or physics. Then I built up from there, and at each stage I had to confirm that I wasn't using anything that hadn't evolved. 'G' took a long time to evolve.

    But why did I do that?

    It started actually watching a program about doctors. The ulcer was recently discovered to be a bacteria. For hundreds of years it was called an acid imbalance. Nobody ever bothered to test if it was a bacteria, so nobody was being treated for it. A brave doctor went against the norm, telling people that he thought it was a bacteria. Nobody took him seriously. So he deliberately drank a concoction of the bacteria. He got a stomach ulcer. Then he cured it with a simple antibiotic.

    So never believe everything in science. To myself I have proved that gravity flows from space. I am the doctor. 10 years later... I'm still trying to get people to listen.
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  5. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    You keep repeating yourself rather than explaining yourself.
    This is not an assumption. It is an assertion which has been tested for half a millennium and has never been falsified.
    What alternative universe do you live in??? Are you suggesting with a straight face that because "classical" logic (is there no "rock'n'roll" version we could use instead?

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    ) is derived from pure abstractions, that it can never be relevant to the physical universe? That's as ridiculous as saying that because mathematics is derived from abstractions, it can never be relevant to the physical universe. And you'd be dead wrong on both counts.

    Please expand on your preposterous notion that logic is irrelevant to reality. I've really got to hear this one! People have been testing the correlation between logic and reality 24/7 ever since our ancestral species developed a large enough brain to entertain the concept (at least for a couple of million years since they first began inventing tools) and the relationship has always been found to be valid.
    I get a headache when so-called "philosophers" start playing with words, merely for the purpose of making themselves look smarter than the rest of us, rather than striving to have a discussion or to solve a problem. I'm going to go take some Tylenol now. I put up with that when I was a sophomore in college, learning why the word "sophomore" was coined. I have more useful and interesting things to do now.

    If you enjoy playing with words, please come over to the Linguistics subforum where we do that every day. You'll be eaten alive.
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  7. ughaibu Registered Senior Member

    I've explained it in an earlier post, so this will be the last time; assume that one thing that is required of scientific methods is that they can show the objects of their study to be false, in some relevant sense, if they are false in that sense. If science can be used to show that science itself fails to meet this requirement, then science falsifies falsifiability. But in order to do so, it is not capable of doing so. This is a simple matter of self reference, think about it.
    Of course it's a fucking assumption and of course it hasn't been tested, because no scientist is in either the past or the future, they are all always and unavoidably in the present.
    So, another moderator indulging in bare faced misrepresentation. Either that or with inadequate reading ability to qualify as a moderator. Your strawman is irritating, that's all.
    What the fuck? That science requires assumptions which are untestable is entirely uncontroversial.
    Then go and do them, because even if this isn't a waste of your time, it certainly is of mine.
  8. Dywyddyr Penguinaciously duckalicious. Valued Senior Member

    Oh, I do so love it when the scientifically ignorant start pontificating...
  9. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    You are repeating yourself and you have never responded to my own refutation of this assertion. The scientific method most certainly is recursive (there's no law against that, in case you didn't know) and has been testing itself since modern science as we know it came into existence five hundred years ago. The premise that the natural universe is a closed system whose behavior can be predicted by theories derived logically from empirical observation of its past and present behavior has been aggressively tested, often by people who would dearly love to falsify it, and it has never been falsified. This of course does not mean that it never will be, but it proves it to be true beyond a reasonable doubt, which is accepted as satisfactory proof to send a man to the gallows, and therefore should certainly be plenty good enough to send the crackpots only back to Mississippi.
    Your understanding of the terminology of logic is just a tiny bit weak. Language can be used to describe, discuss and analyze language. Does that make these descriptions, discussions and analyses invalid because they are self-referential? I get the impression that you've never set foot in a university classroom.
    Since the invention of the technology of writing in the Bronze Age, we have been steadily improving our recordkeeping ability so that we in fact are quite confident about our knowledge of the past. What is your reason for being skeptical?
    I'll let the insult go, but I'll be curious to know whether Tiassa, the Moderator of this subforum, will be so sanguine about it.
    Probably not, since I make a living as a writer and editor.
    Please provide a few links to quotations from respected scientists who agree with you. I wonder if you've misinterpreted them, as you have so much else from science.
  10. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    Logical positivism's verifiability-criterion lost its initial plausibility due to that kind of objection. And I agree with you that a similar argument can be made regarding the falsifiability-criterion.

    Of course, the verifiability-criterion was supposed to be a criterion of meaning. If a proposition was unverifiable, then it was supposed to be meaningless. And it turned out that the verifiability-criterion itself was unverifiable, creating a contradiction.

    As I recall it, Karl Popper's falsifiability-criterion purported to be a criterion of demarcation between scientific propositions and non-scientific propositions. And we aren't necessarily locked into saying that the falsifiability-criterion has to itself be a scientific proposition. It might be classified as a philosophical, a methodological or a logical proposition. That might be one possible way to avoid the kind of objection you raise.

    But you've subtly restated that falsifiability-criterion to be a demarcation between scientific and non-scientific methods (as opposed to propositions). That's certainly plausible, and it argues against the reply that I just suggested.

    Off the top of my head, a response might be to state the methodological falsifiability-criterion as an assertion that if a method is going to count as a scientific method, then it has to be capable of falsifying propositions. (I'm not entirely sure that's true, but let's accept it for the sake of argument.)

    We could go on to say that this falsifiability-criterion isn't itself a scientific method. It's more along the lines of a meta-scientific definitional principle. If it can be falsified, and I suspect that it probably can, then that will be by epistemological implausibility or logical contradiction, not by empirical or experimental disconfirmation.

    Yes. Paradoxes can arise when propositions are self-referential. The liar, the barber and so on. And a great deal of human thinking, perhaps human consciousness itself, is fundamentally self-referential. There might be something philosophically deep and interesting in that.
  11. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    That sounds like you are agreeing with Ughaibu's fundamental point that...

    I think that it's almost certainly true that science requires untestable assumptions.

    The issue seems to be the question of whether or not science's framework of methodological principles can be justified in the same ways that we try to justify science's content, its observational and theoretical propositions.
  12. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    Quine would say that it can't. Come what may!
  13. Dr Mabuse Percipient Thaumaturgist Registered Senior Member

    That's a thoughtful person who made an excellent point.

    I've made lengthy posts with citations and quotes here about the myth of science, that science is as much a religion and philosophy in the majority of minds as it is some method of unbiased revealing of truths and discoveries.

    I'll not do it again. But I will say, there is a long list of Nobel Prize winners in fields of science that had the 'scientific method' and 'unbiased community' refuse to even publish their papers for consideration. Several went through an arduous process spanning decades to finally get published and later win the prize. How many Nobel-worthy ideas have been lost? We don't know, plenty - a lot - is a safe and reasonable assumption.

    We do know from people looking into the religious and dogmatic nature of 'science' in the human mind, that many discoveries are often discarded and ignored because they are against prejudiced expectations or are outright 'heresy' against established dogma. If the most groundbreaking new discoveries and theories are discarded at the level of the Nobel, it's a safe assumption that most breakthroughs in lesser areas are ignored, assumed to be anomalous, etc. There is data to back such assumptions up.

    Science is a new-ish form of religion in the minds of many practicing scientists, and even more so in laymen worldwide.
  14. Grumpy Curmudgeon of Lucidity Valued Senior Member

    Dr Mabuse

    Science is in no way a religion, it is a process. And while not all insights that lead to good science are developed by Karl Popper's Scientific method, all valid knowledge must survive this process to be considered valid science. One example would be Einstein's Relativity, he did not go through the process of the Scientific Method to gain his insight, but he certainly had to go through the process to gain acceptance of it. Popper tells us how to confirm what we think is true in a systematic way. It's harsh, it isn't perfect and it is conceivable that some valid science is lost along the way but it is the only method known to man that produces, dependably, valid results. Those who cannot make it through the process can squawk all they want, but failure to do so is a pretty good sign that the "science" in question is invalid, in error or undeveloped. Remember that it took years of effort by Einstein and his supporters to get Relativity accepted as valid, years in which he had to go back and correct several errors he had made(including his Cosmological Constant fudge factor for maintaining a static Universe, he knew nothing of an expanding Universe). His initial rejection actually improved the final product to the point that it overcame the original objections with it's explanitory and predictive power. Even then, he did not win a Nobel for that work, he won for Electrodynamics. Those who refuse to accept criticism of their work and insist it be accepted without change are usually cranks, those willing to go back and refine their work are scientists, even if their work still ultimately fails.


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  15. wellwisher Banned Banned

    If you consider the case of Einstein and relativity, this theory was not easy to test when it first appeared, even though it ultimately proved to be correct. Say someone did not like Einstein and never wanted his theory to succeed. Could this have been made even more difficult by using politics to withhold resources? The answer is yes, since without proof there is no acceptability.

    One thing that the scientific method lacks is accountability when it comes to the critics or the caretakers of the status quo. Whatever happened to those whom, it turned out, were not qualified to judge Relativity, but had the power to do so? Absolutely nothing was done. There are no parallel rules for the caretakers of the traditions compared to the creators of new ideas. Why is that? This loophole in the scientific method is where corruption is possible.

    Unwritten in the scientific method is, all new ideas are suspect unless proven, but all criticism is valid without proof. If I was an expert in X and my theory was making me money and gaining me prestige, I may not want too many competitors. The scientific method gives me freedom to foot drag without accountability. I can say anything and there is no accountability. If I can poison the well and make resources harder this is good for me. There is no rule that says this is not allowed.

    What you happen if we updated the scientific method to level the playing field. The creator still has to be prove himself just like in the current method, but now the critic has more accountability based on ultimate results. If the critic screws up for whatever reason he is demoted or sent to remediation. If we do that to the creator who is wrong, this is good for them.

    This will never happen since this loop hole will never be plugged. The reason is science needs money and resources. Science is dependent and cannot provide for itself but needs business, government, etc. to give resources. These people may not be the sharpest tool in the science shed, but they have deep pockets and are good with that. Science needs to kiss ass and give them freedom in exchange for money. The unaccountable status quo follows in their wake.

    I would exempt the providers of the resources. They can decide who plays since they bring the ball. But I would make all the science critics accountable and subject to remediation censor unless they follow the same level of accountability they expect from the creators of new ideas.
  16. Grumpy Curmudgeon of Lucidity Valued Senior Member


    Criticizm usually consists of pointing out flaws or where evidence is insufficient, and not all criticizm is valid. It is not the job of a referee to give pointers to the player(although in science they often do), but to call balls and strikes or fouls in the conduct of the game. The peers are also judges, comparing new hypotheses to what is already known. Often the peer review process is a series of correspondence where the peers ask questions or seek clarification, often improving the original hypotheses. Einstein's hypothesis was originally rejected and, over time, Einstein found several errors in his work and had to add a fudge factor called the Cosmological Constant because he assumed(falsely)that the Universe was static and without the fudge factor it would have collapsed already(one of the critiques of a colleague had pointed out this flaw).

    And few scientists get into science to become rich, there's just no money in 99% of scientific research beyond a professional or professorial salary. Only the ones with long, productive careers reach the highest paid jobs but still make less that Mitt Romney does in a week. Scientists are people, and where people interact there will be politics, but good science still makes it through and, by and large, if the hypothesis doesn't make it, that too is on the merits. Don't try to tell me there are no politicians in the Vatican. But the Pope is still the Pope, right?

    And science is not a business, failures are expected, there are usually a bunch of failed ideas before you get one that succeeds. In fact it is often failures that lead to success down the road, the unexpected result often ends up more important than the one you were looking for. The most valuable exclamation is not "Eureeka!", but "Now that's strange!"

    Then there is experimental confirmation(or falsification). I don't care how political the process is you can't politicize the results of physical tests, or the math, physics, chemistry... It is a trump card that shuts up the political crap cold, too bad no such thing exists for theists, just sayin'.


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  17. RealityCheck Banned Banned


    Hi Pincho Paxton, pleased to meet ya.

    I recall some time back at Physforum I used that (Australian Doctor and his colleague) as an example to support my assertion that 'elitism' and 'institutionalised' inertia has occurred to the detriment of science and the individuals who may not be 'part of' the established scientific 'elite' herd who resist new ideas even though the proof is under their very eyes if only they would come down from their 'elitist' perch and condescend to give fair unbiased hearing to 'outsiders'. How much suffering world-wide could have been avoided during the years that the elitist' establishment effectively stifled proper scientific method examination of the Teams results? All the elitist idiotic so-called 'scientists' involved in that disgraceful episode should have been sued by all those/estates that suffered/died unnecessarily in the meantime. Maybe then the establishment's inertia/elitism would be lessened to more tolerable levels in the future!

    I recall that I also offered the example of that chap who developed (single-handedly and despite all the established 'scientific' views/personages who would dismiss him out of hand) the apparently 'impossible' BLUE LED (as distinct from the prior sickly yellow-green sort). He succeeded and the establishment eventually had to accept the reality (but oh the delays and the anguish caused meanwhile by 'elitist' pompous idiots who said he was mad, a crank, etc etc. and were so blindly comfortable with their complacent over-estimation of their own knowledge/understanding of their own supposedly specialist fields).

    Amazing how much inertia is present even in this enlightened age against new ideas and which elicits the kneejerk 'crank' response rather than serious discussion/examination to the 'nth degree' according to the scientific method itself.

    Which method, BTW (and in keeping more specifically to the on-topic vein) is only as good as its scope of operations. By that I mean that, any purely deductive CONFIRMATION approach (on its own) is entirely at the mercy of the limitations imposed on it by the method/procedure itself (due to Godel's Incompleteness Theorem). Hence the need for additional/complementary approaches which may, by INNOVATION, find a 'work around' for that brick wall which the isolated 'deductive only' approach will always hit if not helped along/through by other approaches to reality exploration.

    Sorry, can't stay. Back through in a few days.

    Cheers and good luck in your own original 'outsider' endeavours trying to 'work around' Godel's theorem implications for scientific method/discovery, mate.

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    PS Hi Grumpy! Long time no 'see'. All is well with you and yours I hope. By the way, as the above story (of what happened to the two Australians who tried to get the medical elites/establishment to 'just look and learn' for themselves instead of being 'kneejerkingly dismissive' due to ego/complacency tragically) shows, there is no harm, and sometimes great benefit, in questioning one's 'doctor' once in a while, especially when the reality is not turning out so totally according to the orthodoxy. Otherwise, science and the scientific method are both aces in my book. And as you know from longstanding familiarity with my views on this, I would in no way tolerate them being 'watered down' by superstitious/religious hocus-pocus! On that we are in perfect agreement. Cheers, Grumpy!

    Last edited: Jan 30, 2012
  18. wlminex Banned Banned

    . . . . IMPO . . . . it is wise to ALWAYS seek a second (or more) opinion(s) . . .whether they be medical doctors . . . or physicists/mathematicians!!
  19. Arioch Valued Senior Member

    Here's what it comes down to. I'll start worrying about the validity of the scientific method when it stops demonstrably working. And if that ever happens you can bet your bottom dollar that I won't be turning to theologians or philosophers to find out why, no, I'd rather go to someone who might have answers.
  20. brucep Valued Senior Member

    Wow, bold face diss of the scientific literature. You have serious disconnect with reality. You're views on this are nonsense regardless how long you've held them.
  21. brucep Valued Senior Member

    It's not about opinion. The scientific method is a path to consensus. You build a predictive theoretical model, you empirically test every testable detail so that a consensus can be reached by scientists. The reason we go with scientists is because they have the training to perform analysis and they aren't suffering from delusions of grandeur.
  22. Aqueous Id flat Earth skeptic Valued Senior Member

    Yes, the method is to avoid error. Any one who discounts the method that sets out to avoid of error is living in a state of denial. It is also a state of conflicted choices, gravitating towards truth when convenient (such as swerving to avoid the tree which, by scientific method, can be shown to be in the path of the headlight), otherwise minimizing and even denouncing the very principles relied upon in time of need or crisis.

    There seem to be three motivations:

    (1) religious denial of science
    (2) conspiracy theory
    (3) pseudoscience/fringe/crank/spurious reasoning

    and then there are combinations of these. Add mental health issues to the mix, and I think that just about covers the gamut.
  23. Aqueous Id flat Earth skeptic Valued Senior Member

    This is a complaint in favor of the scientific method, which you are partially demonstrating in your analysis, such as crime detection (forensics).

    The scientific method by definition is accountability. All else is gloss.

    The phrase is emblematic of conspiracy theory

    What turned out? Who are you referring to? Anyone is qualified to judge from a position of error, but are generally disqualified from sucking the bandwidth out of the useful conversation.

    About what? Conspiracy theorists? What would you have done to them? What does this have to do with the scientific method anyway? (Strawman?)

    Caretakers? Is this a Sunday School model, or an Old Folks Home model of the scientific method? Even if conspiracy or some political or economic influence exists, the Scientific Method is how we hedge against and correct such errors. You seem to be unfamiliar with it.

    By your definition, loopholes appear at will wherever they appeal to your personal opinion. This violates the scientific method. The standard definition of loopholes concerns amendable oversights in statutes. Would you propose to amend the scientific principle, to add a presumption of corruption? You would need to create a church of conspiracy theory to contain it, since no practical or reasonable person would subscribe to it.
    No. All proven theorems remain proven until disproven. This is why geometry is so vital to the science curriculum. Do you denounce geometry as well?
    You mean you could publish false results (as has happened in the past), only to draw a plague of flies that will descend upon it and leave its bleached bones in the desert of nonsense? Sounds like a plan.
    Whatever you are referring to has no relevance to the method. For example, consider the syllogism: A=B, B=C, therefore A=C. How does what you're talking about even relate to this method of problem analysis, other than to substantiate its validity? Do you reject the doctrine of syllogism as a result of the drama you describe above?

    You are talking about policy, which has nothing to do with the Scientific Method. None of this changes the definition of congruence, or why culture dishes must be sterilized before use, or any of a thousand details attended to in the simplest of scientific pursuits, all rolled up in a concise statement we call the Scientific Method. You appear to be railing against institutional corruption, another subject entirely, belonging to another thread, where it would need to be tested and substantiated.

    Policy, another subject entirely.

    The Scientific Method prevails against everything you have said, and in fact, your statements reinforce the need for procedures that ensure against fallacy.

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