Problems With the Scientific Method

Discussion in 'General Science & Technology' started by TruthSeeker, Jun 5, 2007.

?

What are the problems with the scientific method?

  1. 1

    3 vote(s)
    20.0%
  2. 2

    3 vote(s)
    20.0%
  3. 3

    2 vote(s)
    13.3%
  4. 4

    1 vote(s)
    6.7%
  5. None

    9 vote(s)
    60.0%
Multiple votes are allowed.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. TruthSeeker Fancy Virtual Reality Monkey Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    15,162
    This thread was inspired by medicine-related news. For a long time, it was believed that lycopene, a substance found predominantely in tomatoes, helped to fight cancer. However, recent research shows that lycopene actually worsens cancer! At the same time, they now believe that apple peel is very helpful to fight against cancer.

    Ok. I'm not a genius, but there is only one truth. Lycopene is either helpful or harmful. So why does one research shows that it's helpful and the other harmful?

    Some scenarios:

    1) We gained new knowledge before the new research, therefore, the scientific method is limited by our knowledge range.

    2) Our methods of research improved, therefore the scientific method is limited by the accuracy our research methods.

    3) Our statistical methods are insufficient to produce reliable results.

    4) Other.

    5) A combination of the above


    I would think one of the main problems is that the use of statistical methods are insufficient, on their own, to produce a reliable result. One must create logical explanations if they want to create an accurate theory. For instance, if apple peel seems to really help, then you have to specify the components in the apple that produce such results AND not only test it with statistical methods, but also carefully research how those components interact with our bodies in different circumstances. Of course, the difficulty in this scenario would be in terms of time and money restrictions, as such pedantic practices would be extremely time consuming.

    Anyways... any thoughts?

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

     
  2. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  3. TruthSeeker Fancy Virtual Reality Monkey Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    15,162
    Of course, I'm going easy on the food companies. Who knows? Maybe they manipulate research so that one product is favored over the other...

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

     
  4. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  5. Baron Max Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    23,053
    There's your first major fallacy. It could be helpful sometimes, or with certain types of cancer, or certain types of people; and harmful in others. It does NOT have to be either/or.

    For the reasons I stated above, as well as other factors in the research. But that doesn't negate any of the research ....mainly 'cause it ain't done yet!

    Baron Max
     
  6. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  7. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    72,822
    The scientific method (SM) is the best method available to test our observations and produce reliable and reproducible results, aimed at understanding the world objectively.

    The shortcomings are that it is limited both by our ability to observe and the belief that the tools of the SM are measuring what they ought to measure. In addition, we are also constrained by the extent of pre-existing knowledge in making inferences from the results of these observations. Notwithstanding the inherent assumptions of the statistical methods employed, they are currently our strongest tools since all our hypothesis are framed on assumptions that have their basis in inferences. In fact, for any assumption in science the ultimate basis is belief.
     
  8. Baron Max Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    23,053
    And you call yourself a peace-loving person? A person who wants peace and love and goodwill all over the world? ..... Yet you make such vile insinuations and/or accusations about the food industry with nothing to back it up? Or worse, using an example of ONE company to show that whole group is bad?!

    Geez, if you're ever on a diplomatic mission, we're all in deeeeeppp, deeepp, doo-doo!! You'll start World War III within 27 seconds of the meeting!! Your posts, almost all of them, are vicious and mean.

    Baron Max
     
  9. TruthSeeker Fancy Virtual Reality Monkey Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    15,162
    I meant in terms of a single scenario.

    When will it be done? And why are the conclusions of the research presented as fact?
     
  10. TruthSeeker Fancy Virtual Reality Monkey Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    15,162
    Of course! Or you want a peace-loving person to support mass killings for the profit of corporations? :bugeye:

    I made a statement of a possibility. I never stated it is the truth.

    What is vicious in the opposition against corporate abuse?


    Btw... what does this have to do with the thread?
     
  11. guthrie paradox generator Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,089
    My replies:
    1)- the scientific method is not limited, exactly, since it can be used to find out new knowledge. What the problem is is that we always lack complete information, and when new information becomes available the problem is solved.

    2)- Sort of. Some areas of research do not suffer fom problems like these.
    3)- Sometimes. Depends on how they are used.
     
  12. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    72,822
    1. Is the scientific method foolproof?

    2. Which areas?

    3. Why is the null hypothesis equal to zero?
     
  13. TruthSeeker Fancy Virtual Reality Monkey Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    15,162
    Wow.... only one person voted so far....

    :shrug:
     
  14. guthrie paradox generator Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,089
    That depends on how well you apply it. It is possible to produce an elegant looking experiment that completely fails to confirm or disprove anything.

    (note- all language used will be used in the assumption that the reader has an idea of how said language is used scientifically)

    2- his wording is extremely bad. The method itself is not limited, but it can only measure/ find what you are capable of measuring, if you see what I mean. Physics seems to me to have less of these problems compared to, say, biochemistry and the kind of associative epidemiological studies that Truthseeker is on about.

    3- Because.
     
  15. guthrie paradox generator Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,089
    Possibly only one person thinks your options worth voting for. They are somewhat poorly worded.
     
  16. guthrie paradox generator Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,089
    Or to put it another way, the method is fine, but can be misapplied, or cannot be applied properly due to lack of appropriate technologies.

    See for example historical measurements of CO2 concentrations. Many were carried out using perfectly good scientific methodology, but got inconsistent results, due to the technology being a bit too poor to do a good job.
     
  17. TruthSeeker Fancy Virtual Reality Monkey Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    15,162
    Apparently, you are th only person who thinks so. How are they poorly worded?
     
  18. TruthSeeker Fancy Virtual Reality Monkey Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    15,162
    You mean... on purpose?

    So... we lack appropriate technologies to test everything?

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!



    Wasn't that one of the options I presented? Limitations of knowledge?

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

     
  19. glaucon tending tangentially Moderator

    Messages:
    5,502
    TS,

    The problem seems to lie in a common misunderstanding of the Scientific Method (SM), to wit: the SM has nothing whatsoever to do with truth or certainty; it is an inductive methodology of verification.
     
  20. TruthSeeker Fancy Virtual Reality Monkey Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    15,162
    What happens when what it verifies changes all the time? How is that useflul verification?
     
  21. glaucon tending tangentially Moderator

    Messages:
    5,502
    Then that means that one has to change that which one is seeking to verify: an hypothesis.
     
  22. Read-Only Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    10,296
    In addition to what Glaucon said - which was quite correct - it means you are getting ever closer to the truth. That's the whole purpose of the scientific method.
     
  23. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    72,822
    Umm no, the purpose of the scientific method is not to get closer to the "truth"; its merely to apply validated tools to empirical data for purposes of inference.
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page