Is there a method?

Discussion in 'General Science & Technology' started by Juanchogespacho, Jan 11, 2014.

  1. Aqueous Id flat Earth skeptic Valued Senior Member

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    6,152
    Your stated intent was

    Therefore you have cast some unspecified culprits as being rigid and dogmatic. The word "adherence" casts this as an anti-science claim. It's incorrect. What you want to be posting on a science site is your fear and loathing of the enemies of science so we can all express our solidarity with you rather than to take you to the carpet for conspiring with them. You haven't expounded on what appears to be a grudge about things "written in stone" but many a paleontologist and geologist, among others, will take you to task over that phrase.

    Again that's cast as a couched aspersion. You're presupposing that (whoever the suspects are) are people who are not already immaculately rigorous and therefore innocent of whatever you're charging them with. Credence is a fairly general and vague notion. For the most part, just about anything that passes muster in order to get published in a credentialed journal is assumed true until proven false. More interesting are the results that are repeatedly corroborated in similar studies. It's right about that time that this "rigidity" you're afraid of begins to set in. The rule is this: you can't reverse progress. It's an extremely rigid one, but certainly not harmful to the discovery of truth. So be careful what you're attacking. You don't want to cut your own nose off just to spite your face.

    You're entitled to your beliefs, but that doesn't change the world around you. People will still use the term "scientific method" without consideration for any anti-science "dogma" and "un-rigorous" "methods".

    First you must remove the splinters of cynicism from your own eye, so that you may see, to remove the stones of experience from mine.
     
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  3. dumbest man on earth Real Eyes Realize Real Lies Valued Senior Member

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    R_W, where in any of my Posts, have i, dmoe, stated that I think that a "flaw", imagined or otherwise, exists in the Simplified Scientific Method or the real process of science?

    I have never implied, nor have I ever stated that there are any "flaws" in any of the methods.

    Misconceptions about the the methods, does not equate to "flaws" in the methods - at least not in any truly scientific conversation.

    Most likely another question that will be ignored.
     
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  5. dumbest man on earth Real Eyes Realize Real Lies Valued Senior Member

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    Aqueous Id, I was taught at a very young age what "fear" actually is, and to not "fear".

    I was also taught that to "loathe" someone was an indication of a problem with ones self.

    I have no use for any "solidarity" offered by anyone that would choose to embrace their "fears" or choose to practice "loathing".

    I hold no "grudges", so therefore feel no need to express any "grudges", nor "expound" upon those non-existent "grudges".


    A lot of thoughts expressed in the ^^above quoted^^.

    I will only ask though, why would one choose to "spite" their own face?

    Many people use many things without consideration - heck, I once had a fellow tell me that he was "so intelligent" that he "did not have to think before" he spoke.

    It may just be that "the stones", that you claim to have in your own eyes, are affecting your vision in such a way that you fail to see the absence of any "splinters" in mine.

    Since you mentioned "experience". I have nearly 40 years of experience in a fairly broad variety of the Sciences (almost 60 years- if you include paddoboy's loose interpretation!).

    May I inquire as to the methods that you utilized to accomplish your acquisition of the aforementioned "stones of experience"?
     
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  7. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    4,661
    There pretty clearly isn't any single 'turn-the-crank' methodological algorithm that all scientists must follow and that all science must conform to. So I don't think that DMOE's first post should be particularly controversial.

    The various methods employed by scientists obviously do need to be rationally justifiable in logical, epistemological and scientific terms. Everyone agrees on that. But that doesn't mean that all scientists must always employ the same methods in the same prescribed order.

    It seems to me that some people treat science almost as if it was a religion. And one of the central dogmas of that scientistic faith is that science possesses a unique method that sets it apart from all other human activities. During the European enlightenment, the success of Newton's physics thrilled intellectuals so much that many of them started thinking that if the wonderful methods of the new science could just be turned to all areas of life, then all manner of obscurantism might be swept away and a new paradise could finally dawn.

    But the possibility exists that there isn't any single unique scientific method that sets science apart from the rest of human thought and accounts for science's extraordinary success. The often-cited hypothesis-testing idea is essentially a description of common-sense, it was probably already being applied (albeit unconsciously) in the stone-age, and it's seemingly consistent with everything from random trial-and-error to traditional Islamic jurisprudence. It's way too vague and way too broad. As much as some people want that to be the answer, I don't think that it really is.

    What jump-started the natural sciences in 17'th century Europe likely wasn't the sudden application of a new or hitherto rarely used general scientific method. It was more likely the fortuitous application of what turned out to be effective mathematical techniques to a class of physical problems in which simple mathematical principles do seem to govern events, and hence where the kind of mathematical models being employed could be surprisingly accurate and predictive.
     
  8. Aqueous Id flat Earth skeptic Valued Senior Member

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    "Fear and loathing" is the sentiment conveyed in your speech, when you disparage science broadly, claiming that scientists are overly rigid, set in their ways, etc. Perhaps you'd prefer if I referred to this as a phobia.

    You reversed what I said. I said you were expressing fear and loathing (of science) rather than enjoying the solidarity among pro-science folks whose fear and loathing arises from the anti-science movement of the past few decades.

    Evidently you have some unresolved issue with science that is manifesting as a grudge. If it's not politically/religiously motivated (if you're not just echoing the mouthpieces for social conservativism and deregulation) then by process of elimination that leaves me to guess that you had a bad experience in your early education. As I said, you never gave us the underlying causes for your anti-science stance. It stands to reason that something left you holding a grudge against science, as adults sometimes report some sort of emotional damage that scarred them when they were young.

    I'm not the one being cynical, so that makes no sense. You are the one attacking the status quo. My intent here was to apply the relevant philosophy from the playbook of the social conservatives, to show the irony of attacking knowledge from a position of illiteracy.

    I was borrowing the phrase as it was coined in the 1st person. It wasn't a reference to me myself. I was attempting to convey the irony of your attack on science, through an eye jaded by some as-yet-to-be-explained cynicism of science, such that you would offer to improve the "vision" of scientists at large (the I of that statement) who you seem to think are hardened -- like stone -- so much so that they can't see straight.

    That leads us back to the original question which remains unanswered. What in the world puts you at odds with science?
     
  9. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    10,877
    That's what I am sensing as well. That this emphasis on the scientific method smacks more of the scientismic subculture of skeptics than of real science. IOW, people with an agenda to fight pseudoscience and superstition and creationism and who see the scientific method as an infallible method for obtaining the truth. This formulaic approach to epistemic certitude seems more a matter of faith than of genuine truth-seeking. More of a dogma that must be rigidly followed with stoic perseverance and puritanical self-discipline and rewarding the diligent with the promise of privileged knowledge.

    "Science refers to applying scientific methods as tools of inquiry to collect and interpret data, whereas "scientism" refers to cultural and ideological views promoting the primacy or superiority of scientific methods over all other tools of inquiry. Some scientists embrace scientistic views, in part because scientism provides a much-needed counterbalance to aggressive anti-science attitudes that are prevalent on both ends of the political spectrum and among some religious institutions. However, other scientists are concerned about propping up scientism as a bulwark against ideological science-bashing because it smacks of throwing out the baby with the bathwater. Science is characterized by healthy skepticism, the dismantling of dogmatic views and a continuous process of introspection and self-criticism. Infusing science with ideological stances concerning the primacy of the scientific method could undermine the power of science which is rooted in its willingness to oppose ideological posturing." - See more at: http://www.3quarksdaily.com/3quarksdaily/2013/08/scientism-reloaded.html#sthash.arBQ9Zty.dpuf
     
  10. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    6,614
    Yes, up to a point. Several of us with scientific backgrounds do not recall any specific "method" looming large in our training, so putting it on a pedestal seems a strange and faintly embarrassing thing to do. But, when dealing with pseudoscience, of which there is a great deal about these days, given the "emancipation of the ignorant" that has been made possible by modern media and IT, it is often necessary to invoke it, just to draw an important dividing line between science and what may well be nonsense. In previous times, when discussion only took place between people with similar educational backgrounds, it was less necessary.
     
  11. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    10,877
    I can see that. It's easier to debunk pseudoscience if you have a proper procedure you can point to that must be rigidly followed to qualify as real science. But other standards might be invoked instead, like replicability, peer approval, and falsifiability. Perhaps more emphasis should be placed on these rather than giving the impression that the scientific method is absolutely crucial to doing real science.
     
  12. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    10,877
    I speculate a lot about underlying motivations and causes but usually lack any means to test those theories. So I remain content to call them only speculations.
     
  13. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    Back in the day, blasphemers were burned at the stake. Today they're flamed on the internet. That's progress, I guess.

    It certainly makes a good club for bashing opponents in the head.

    Most people are laymen and aren't practicing scientists. They were never science majors at the university level either. But many people have gotten into arguments with cranks and creationists and similar types. So that's how lots of people approach science, as their authority and their bulwark against bullshit.

    That means that some of them are likely to perceive intelligent philosophical questions about the epistemological foundations and methodology of science as subversive somehow, as identifying the damnable questioner as a heretic in league with all that's evil and stupid.
     
  14. Aqueous Id flat Earth skeptic Valued Senior Member

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    6,152
    It's funny that this only comes up in the context of the culture wars. The fundies created a dream world of pseudoscience to shore up their medieval beliefs. Big Money formed an alliance with them to make the Bible seem to advocate for deregulation. They hired a few knuckleheaded college profs who helped them promote ideas like "scientism". Obviously they were irate about the ism at the end of "fundamentalism". So they reversed it all, rewriting the English language to include words like Scientism, Darwinism, etc -- "evolutionist" is another one. Fairly early into this (say during the Reagan years) they figured out a way to extract the "ism" from Creationism by rebranding it as Creation Science. This led to the rather overt introduction of pseudoscience into the religious media, and then once that label was pointed out to them, they responded insisting that academics is infected by "junk science". By then the hellish anti-science agenda of the Dubbya years was practically bringing them into rapture.

    The significance of this as one of history's most bizarre manifestations of anti-intellectualism will no doubt be mentioned in classrooms of the future. The fact that it was so huge in its impact on shaping public opinion, and hence public policy, can been seen by the ripples that persist at science boards, where the same type of anti-science sentiment is trotted out by the usual suspects. Had it been something of an anomaly, not quite as large an influence on the public, the movement would be far behind us and we'd all be talking about real science more often than not. So I'm reaching the conclusion, long after the fact, that it was more widespread 10-20 years ago than I ever imagined at the time.
     
  15. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    4,661
    If a scientist actually believes in the "scientific method", then fine. But I'm troubled by the idea of scientists telling laypeople things that the scientists themselves believe aren't entirely true, simply because the ideas are ideologically and rhetorically useful.

    The text that MR quoted up above states that concern very clearly:

    "Some scientists embrace scientistic views, in part because scientism provides a much-needed counterbalance to aggressive anti-science attitudes that are prevalent on both ends of the political spectrum and among some religious institutions. However, other scientists are concerned about propping up scientism as a bulwark against ideological science-bashing because it smacks of throwing out the baby with the bathwater. Science is characterized by healthy skepticism, the dismantling of dogmatic views and a continuous process of introspection and self-criticism. Infusing science with ideological stances concerning the primacy of the scientific method could undermine the power of science which is rooted in its willingness to oppose ideological posturing."
     
  16. Aqueous Id flat Earth skeptic Valued Senior Member

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    6,152
    I've found myself straddling the fence on that. I think it depends on the authenticity of the person complaining against the status quo. The average crank probably couldn't even tie this to epistemology, so it may be easier to cull them out early in such a discussion well before it becomes apparent that they're really just trolling. The other side of the coin (from your position) is that the fundies have caught on that there is some legitimate (and by that I mean people who are recognized as authentic) discussion going on among those folks who have an interest in philosophy, one which appears to be examining science from a fairly adversarial perspective. So now, as a result we have a new kind of argument taking root among fundies which might call for the coining of a new word -- something like "pseudo-epistemology". I think a lot of us react quite assertively to them, noticing the underlying contempt for learning that's only thinly covered by a patina of sincerity. This is to the disadvantage of the authentic folks who bring topics from philosophy to the table. It comes to mind that this is a little like two adults trying to have a serious discussion at dinner, only to be overtaken by some need for attention by the kids.
     
  17. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    10,877
    Fundamentalists didn't invent the word or concept of scientism, though there's no doubt it has been reappropriated by religious and new age factions in the attempt to bash materialistic reductionism. It's been in circulation for quite some time going back to thinkers like Paul Feyerabend, Max Weber, F.A. Hayek, and Karl Popper:

     
  18. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    24,690
    But these are already components of the scientific method, although that exact terminology isn't commonly used.
    • Experimentation tests replicability.
    • Peer review results in peer approval... of a successful theory anyway.
    • Falsifiability is a requirement of any hypothesis accepted for testing and review.
    I don't understand your point.
     
  19. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    If there's a nail to be hit, this post has hit it fair, square on the head! [Despite so many claims to the contrary]

    Science is not a religion, and is not treated like one. That is patently obvious in the changes, advances, progress that applies to science every day. The scientific theory itself attests to that.
    So why do some see it as a religion??? Maybe because science is so quick to refute, invalidate and deride all the pseudoscience, quackery, nonsense religious claims, unsupported alternative theories, and conspiracies that abound on science forums in general.
    Then we have the closet supporters of the above.....Those that claim or insinuate that the nutters that fit into the above groups, are not given a fair go, and then insinuate parrot fashion, that "it's only a theory" and that the nutters claims are on [or should be on equal footing]
    What a lot seem to forget is that this forum first and foremost is a science forum and the scientific method applies as does the mainstream scientific views.
    If they are wrong, that will be shown in time, and modified. Afterall that is what science and the scientific method is all about.


    It's not. It's the interpretation that is askew.




    The basic common sense logical foundation of the scientific method, allows for variability. No one has ever said any different.


    That is just plain rubbish and has already been commented on.


    All of science is nothing more than the refinement of everyday thinking and common sense:
    [I should attribute that to someone, but I have forgotten who]
     
  20. dumbest man on earth Real Eyes Realize Real Lies Valued Senior Member

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    2,856
    1.) - I have never had any "Fear and Loathing" to convey in any way. I do not suffer those shortcomings.

    2.) - I have not ever, nor do I see any reason that I would ever, "disparage" true science in any way.

    3.) - I have never stated or claimed "that scientists are overly rigid, set in their ways, etc". In my OP, I clearly stated :
    4.) - As far as what I would "prefer"? Well...Aqueous Id, since it seems to be your imaginary construct, you have every right to refer to your imaginary construct in any way you want to.

    5.) - I do not believe that I reversed anything. I clearly stated :
    Whether that "Fear and Loathing" is put into practice by a group, or "arises" in another group, either way, or indeed in any way, I do not need, nor do I have any use for any group that embraces "Fear and Loathing", regardless of any rationale or excuse for said embracing.


    6.) - You use the word : evidently. Are you a Psychiatrist, Psychoanalyst or Psychologist that has been trained to analyze behavioral problems by reading On-Line Forum Posts? Would you be so kind as to Post your "evidence"?

    7.) - Actually I have never had any "bad experience(s)" in any of my education - I graduated early, and started my first year of college at nearly the same time time that my previous classmates were entering their Senior year of High School.

    8.) - The paramount reason for never giving any "underlying causes" for any "anti-science stance", is that I do not have any "anti-science stance"!

    9.) - I cannot follow how you can state : "It stands to reason that something left you holding a grudge against science". For, as I clearly stated before, I hold no grudges against anyone or anything, including any of the Sciences.

    10.) - Regardless of how you chose to answer my point #1 ^^above^^, I suffer no emotional problems, of any kind.


    11.) - I am not "being cynical". It would seem to make as much sense as you bringing up the "splinters" and "stones" in the first place.

    12.) - I am not "attacking" any "status quo".

    13.) - Regardless of any "intent" on your part, to use any "relevant philosophy from the playbook of the social conservatives, to show the irony of attacking knowledge from a position of illiteracy". What, it seems, to me at least, is that you are doing nothing but attempting in some way to make the assertion that I am Illiterate.

    14.) - Odd, I find it "ironic" that you would make any statement "conveying" any "irony" of any imagined "attack on science" from me, since I have never made any "attack on science".

    15.) - My eyes are not "jaded" by anything.

    16.) - I hold no "cynicism of science", nor any "cynicism(s)" of anything. Though, it could be said that I have, of late, become somewhat weary of the "experts in every discipline that seem to frequent these on-Line Forums - yet have never, and will probably never, hold a Professional Position in any of the Disciplines that they claim to be such an expert in, and so adept at"!

    17.) - I have not, in any way "offer(ed) to improve the "vision" of scientists at large (the I of that statement) who you seem to think are hardened -- like stone -- so much so that they can't see straight". Please refer to my #3.) - ^^above^^.

    Honestly, Aqueous Id, after going back through the previous 10 Pages of this Thread, I can find no Posts, by you or any other Poster, wherein I was asked : "What in the world puts you at odds with science?" As you should be able to perceive, I, dmoe, do my darnedest to answer all proper, and many of the improper, questions that are asked of me. So...

    18.) - I am not "at odds with science".
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2014
  21. dumbest man on earth Real Eyes Realize Real Lies Valued Senior Member

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    2,856
    @ - Yazata

    @ - Magical Realist

    @ - exchemist

    I want to thank you all for choosing to Post in this Thread - you have all made some overly needed additions to the so-called "considerations" that were being tossed around prior to your Postings.

    When I, and my associates/co-workers/peers who Work In and Teach varying Sciences, have this discussion - we are all in agreement as to the somewhat widespread and somehow becoming more popular, "misconceptions of Science".

    So..to all 3 of you thanks again for choosing to participate in this Thread - you have brought what I requested in the OP :
    Once again, Yazata, Magical Realist and exchemist, thank you.
     
  22. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    I didn't see any of those under the commonly cited steps:

    ◦Ask a Question
    ◦Do Background Research
    ◦Construct a Hypothesis
    ◦Test Your Hypothesis by Doing an Experiment
    ◦Analyze Your Data and Draw a Conclusion
    ◦Communicate Your Results
     
  23. leopold Valued Senior Member

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    some steps will be excluded and some included, programmers seldom draw flow charts they "draw" programmer models instead.
     

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