Is there a method?

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

  1. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    What do you believe that 'the scientific method' is? How would you describe it?

    My own experience (I'm a twister, schemer and ranter, so take it for what it's worth) is that the phrase usually refers to some vaguely described version of hypothico-deductivism: Generate a hypothesis, then test it.

    The thing is, a lot of scientific work doesn't fit very easily into that model. There are expeditions that survey and catalog the species living in a particular habitat. There's the current search for extra-solar planets. There's geological surveys. There's the Mars rovers, looking around and sampling things, There's the creation and application of taxonomic schemes in order to classify all the new data.

    Even if we choose to only consider cases that do fit more comfortably into the hypothetico-deductive hypothesis-testing scheme, we still haven't said anything about where scientific hypotheses come from in the first place. We still haven't considered the myriad of ways that hypotheses might be tested. We haven't given thought to the logical problems that arise, such as the problem of induction. In other words, the H-D scheme doesn't seem to even address most of what it is that scientists spend their time doing.

    Nor does it provide a clear demarcation between what is and isn't science. I assume that I have clean socks in my drawer. (My hypothesis.) I'm not sure, so I open the drawer and look. Yep, there's the socks. (My test.) If we loosten the H-D model to the point it can embrace all of the hypothesis generation and testing methods that scientists really employ in their work, then it doesn't look a whole lot different from and doesn't appear to be discontinuous with non-scientific common-sense.
     
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  3. Trippy ALEA IACTA EST Staff Member

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    1) Make an observation.
    2) Develop a hypothesis.
    3) Test the hypothesis

    Making an observation, the first step of the scientific method.
    The hypothesis they most often develop is that a given species has/has not been catalogued before.
    The hypothesis is tested by comparing their observations to the observations of others.

    Making an observation, the first step of the scientific method.
    Every solar system observed is a test of the Nice model of planetary formation.
    We're ultimately testing the hypothesis that life is common.

    I've studied Geology and done mapping surveys, they're one big exercise in hypothesis testing.
    You observe a rock outcrop.
    You develop a hypothesis of how it came to be there.
    You test that hypothesis by making observations of other rock outcrops.
    Eventually you develop a hypothesis to explain the regional geology.

    The mars rovers are testing hypotheses.
    They're testing the hypothesis that mars was once wet.
    They're testing the hypothesis that habitable environments once existed on mars.
    They're testing hypotheses of regional geology.

    Arguably they're testing the hypothesis that the data is classifiable.

    We don't have to, although, I suspect that this is where confusion is arising. The distinction between the scientific method, which in its broadest sense could be stated as:
    Make an obersvation.
    Develop a hypothesis to explain the observation.
    Make a prediction based on the hypothesis.
    Conduct an experiment to test the hypothesis.
    If the experiment confirms the prediction, make a new prediction and conduct a new experiment.
    If the experiment contradicts the prediction, examine the hypothesis. Sometimes a hypothesis can be trivially reformulated to make a correct prediction for the experiment, sometimes the hypothesis may be worth investigating to see what other predictions are incorrect, sometimes further experimentation can suggest how a hypothesis might be reformulated, sometimes a hypothesis must simply be abandoned.

    And the rigorous methodologies, the analytical techniques and measurements used to conduct and reportthe experiments, the repeatable methodologies that are employed to conduct

    Who says there is one? There are demarcations, but they're about the employment of the scientific method, the rigour to which it is followed, and so on. That's where the demarcation between, for example, Science, Alternative Theories, and Pseudoscience comes into play.

    On the other hand, you've hit the nail on the head. Science is just the name we give to a method we have developed to explore things we do not yet understand or know. The scientific method is intuitively understood by babies and toddlers.
    Observation: I push my plate off my tray and it moves towards the ground.
    Hypothesis: Plates move towards the ground when I push them off my tray.
    Test: Pushing the plates off my tray.

    Toddlers will test a hypothesis something like 80 times before they stop testing it, and the only thing parents can really do is let them satisfy their curiosity.

    'The Scientific Method' is simply the name we give to 'Applied Curiosity'.
     
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  5. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    Well put Trippy.....your whole post of course!
     
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  7. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    Maybe if you paid more attention to detail and less to any fixation you have, you could avoid the twisting, scheming and ranting.
     
  8. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    That has been put many times and is common knowledge.
    But if I was to describe it in my own words, I would say a logical refinement of every day living, actions and problem solving.......
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2014
  9. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    My thoughts to this thread were given at post 2 thus...
    The twisting, scheming, ranting remark was not directed at you. Some here do have a history of wise cracks and sideswipes against science and the scientific method.

    A possible reason/motive for this thread that I am inclined to believe is true was posted at post 8 thus.....

    Variations in the scientific methodology do occur, as it does in any scenario.
    All I ever contend is that there are logical ground rules that are not only the basic foundation of the scientific method, but also the foundation of life in general.
     
  10. leopold Valued Senior Member

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    there is only ONE scientific method and that was outlined by trippy in post 23 above.
    what the OP is attempting to do is confuse the tools and procedures used by the various sciences with the method itself.
    the scientists of biology will not follow the same procedures and use the same tools as, say, paleontologists, but they WILL use the same scientific method.
     
  11. Russ_Watters Not a Trump supporter... Valued Senior Member

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    That's wrong: collecting data is in fact the principle component of two steps in the basic scientific method.
    Note that depending on the specifics of the observation and its purpose, it could either be step 1 or step 3.
     
  12. dumbest man on earth Real Eyes Realize Real Lies Valued Senior Member

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    R_W, I included in the OP a few links to actual true college science sites...it would seem that everyone has not visited them, for whatever reason.

    You seem to be open to information, and so here is a link to an "Interactive Flowchart" that shows the interactions or variabilities of the scientific methods. If one spends a few minutes at that link they will find that I am in no way trying to badmouth or malign the validity of the scientific methods.

    Link : http://undsci.berkeley.edu/article/0_0_0/howscienceworks_02
     
  13. dumbest man on earth Real Eyes Realize Real Lies Valued Senior Member

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  14. Trippy ALEA IACTA EST Staff Member

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    I didn't suggest otherwise, after all, testing a hypothesis without making further observations... is that even possible?
     
  15. Trippy ALEA IACTA EST Staff Member

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  16. dumbest man on earth Real Eyes Realize Real Lies Valued Senior Member

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    Yes, it does.
    I was not trying to correct you in any way, or attacking you, or making any false claims toward you.

    That is a link to a flowchart that was on the page linked in my OP.

    I was simply trying to dispel any and all notions of my trying to badmouth or malign the validity of the scientific methods.

    I posted it to R_W because he also seemed to agree to the concept of Scientific Methods.

    Sorry if you thought that I was just being irksome.
     
  17. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    Yep, sure does, especially at...
    http://undsci.berkeley.edu/article/0_0_0/howscienceworks_03

    The scientific methodolgy at work, as the basic foundation block of science and also everyday problems and interactions.
     
  18. Russ_Watters Not a Trump supporter... Valued Senior Member

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    I didn't claim you were. I have no clue why you posted that.
     
  19. Russ_Watters Not a Trump supporter... Valued Senior Member

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    I know - just clarifying since you clearly said #1 but I don't think indicated #3.
     
  20. dumbest man on earth Real Eyes Realize Real Lies Valued Senior Member

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    Your previous Posts in this Thread, quoted below, are the reason I Posted that - just trying to clarify my actual position.

     
  21. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    Yes I have some sympathy for your point of view. In all my science education, from school right up to my final research year at university, I don't think I can recall being taught anything actually labelled "The Scientific Method". The process of cycling between recording observations, forming hypotheses and testing them by further observation was of course taught, but what we were doing was taken for granted without being elevated into anything official, so far as I can remember. So I think one can make too much of it as being a fearsome and unique analytical tool. It is, but it's sort of obvious as well.

    Where having a clear concept of the scientific method is however essential is in the history and philosophy of science. This enables one to distinguish a scientific process, or way of seeing the world, from the many alternative approaches that are not - or in history were not - truly scientific. This also comes in very handy in the wider social context of science: for example distinguishing it from pseudoscience, creationism, religion, superstition, old wives tales, romantic thinking and all the other things that sometimes influence people and decision-making processes in the wider world.
     
  22. dumbest man on earth Real Eyes Realize Real Lies Valued Senior Member

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  23. leopold Valued Senior Member

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    dmoe,
    please post the so called "scientific methods".
    ALL of them.
     

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