Is there a method?

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

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

    R_W, the question you asked of me, in your Post #150 (question, in Bold by me) :
    I answered that question in my Post #151 - and I did not answer it with a question! :
    If, on the off chance, that you were referring to either of these questions :
    I was not aware of any "conversational tenets or laws" that demands providing answers to "rhetorical questions".

    R_W, if I failed to answer a question, or answered one (other than a rhetorical one) with a question, it was in no way intentional on my part.
    If I have, indeed, done just that, then I am extremely sorry, and I humbly ask for your apology

    If you would, please, clarify which question is at issue, or, even possibly, repeat the question?

    I will be more than happy to address it.
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  3. Russ_Watters Not a Trump supporter... Valued Senior Member

    OK, let's back up: you said doctors use one of "the scientific methods" when diagnosing. Is that method different from The Scientific Method the rest of us described? If so, how? If not, why bother adding the "s" at the end?
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  5. Russ_Watters Not a Trump supporter... Valued Senior Member

    Ordinarily, I wouldn't split hairs on whether an auto mechanic follows the scientific method or just a similar method adapted from it, but I don't trust DMOE.
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  7. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    I think it's okay to use common sense recursively, and point out that common sense tends to break down under the burden of complexity.

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    Yes. You seemed to not be familiar with the notion of hard sciences vs. soft sciences. The difference is, specifically, in how rigorously the scientific method can be followed.

    That seems unnecessarily restrictive. Not only have our observations of the sun, moon and all the other planets, asteroids, comets, satellites, etc. in our solar system, as well as of other stars (including their own planets), other galaxies and various other bits of "stuff" floating around the universe affirmed the validity of the natural laws we have compiled, but have also provided a massive amount of evidence that has helped us expand and refine those laws. It seems that with every passing decade we discover a new corollary to something we learned in the previous decade, and it's frequently the result of an observation of something so far away that we couldn't even see it 25 years ago. Exoplanets, for example

    So I don't understand why you want to limit your universe of discourse to this one planet. Particularly since human beings have actually walked on the Moon and our artifacts are--well, locomoting, if not exactly walking--around on Mars.

    Everything within our Hubble Volume is clearly just as natural as the things we observe on this planet; and furthermore helps us refine our definition of the word "natural." So why can't we say so?

    I think it's important to make the point that religion is, at its very essence, an assertion that supernatural things, forces and creatures exist. As I noted earlier, this assertion cannot be interpreted logically in any other way except as a claim that the natural universe is not a closed system, and instead is acted upon by supernatural creatures and forces that don't obey the laws of nature, and therefore that the premise which underlies all science (that the natural universe is a closed system whose behavior can be predicted by theories derived logically from observation of its present and past behavior) is not true.

    Anyone who claims that science is not true, without providing a single shred of evidence to back up that claim, must be ignored at best, and bedecked with a "Warning: Idiot" sign around his neck at worst.

    Because it's the 500 lb gorilla in any discussion of science. It's always there. There are fundamentalist-leaning Christians, Muslims, Jews and members of other religions everywhere, ready to tell us that we're going to Hell--precisely because we don't believe in it!

    No, sorry. I should have written more formally in the third person: If ONE makes an assertion...
  8. dumbest man on earth Real Eyes Realize Real Lies Valued Senior Member

    If you are referring to one of these Posts :

    My Post #89 :
    My Post #96 :
    My Post #109 :
    My Post #151 :
    R_W, in none of my Posts did I say : "doctors use one of "the scientific methods" when diagnosing"!

    In each of my Posts, I was clearly trying to emphasize that multiple scientific methods were utilized.

    I do not believe that the methods are different.

    I believe they are the same methods that most have been describing.

    I was taught that it was proper grammar to use an "s" at the end of a word, if it was being used in the "plural" sense.
  9. paddoboy Valued Senior Member


    I know what you mean....
  10. Russ_Watters Not a Trump supporter... Valued Senior Member

    Fine. You're objecting to the singular/plural thing, but that wasn't the part I was asking about: Yes, you are saying that doctors use one or more scientific methods (by your word usage) when diagnosing.
    Oh, ok, then this is a grammar issue: you don't understand how singular and plural work. When you have multiple identical copies of a written work, you use the singular, not the plural. For example:

    Wrong: "I'm reading one of the Hamlets."
    Right: "I'm reading Hamlet."

    See, multiple copies of the single work "Hamlet" have been produced, but that doesn't make "Hamlet" plural in this context.

    Wrong: "We're learning the theories of Special Relativity."
    Right: "We're learning the theory of Special Relativity."

    If you and someone else are both learning it, that's still one theory regadless of if you are reading it from different books or learning it in different classrooms.

    So similarly, if the methods used by different scientists and co-opted by others are the same, then it is one method, not multiple methods.
  11. dumbest man on earth Real Eyes Realize Real Lies Valued Senior Member

    It seems somewhat ironic to me that you quoted paddoboy, in your ^^above quoted^^ Post, for 2 reasons :

    1.) - paddoboy, is that Poster that first introduced the concept of "auto mechanics" utilizing scientific methods, in his Post #3 of this Thread (20 minutes after I had Posted the OP!):
    2.) - paddoboy also seems to imply that he believes that "The Scientific method... is unkowningly also followed in everyday life." :
    If you really wanted to "...split hairs on whether an auto mechanic follows the scientific method or just a similar method adapted from it,...", would it not be more proper to split those hairs with the Poster that introduced the concept and even seemed to reiterate it, in a sense, in his Post that you quoted?
  12. paddoboy Valued Senior Member


    Again, as you strive for letter for letter detail, you reveal the agenda in your posts I speak of.....
    That fanatical enterprise of yours again raises the notion, of you not being able to see the forest for the trees.
    And yes, maybe an Einstein, or a Bohr or Feynman maybe able to do both, but I respectfully suggest you aint any of them.
  13. dumbest man on earth Real Eyes Realize Real Lies Valued Senior Member


    No. It seems, to me, at least,that just possibly you may have "assumed" that I was not "familiar with the notion of hard sciences vs. soft sciences". If that assumption had not been made, would in not have been proper to inquire or just plain ask if I was "familiar with the notion.."?

    For instance : FR, are you sure that you did not somehow, just possibly, assume that I was not "familiar with the notion of hard sciences vs. soft sciences" ?

    It does not seem "unnecessarily restrictive" to me.

    I do not want to limit my discourse to this one planet. However, when the subject of my discourse is this "one planet" - I will continue to utilize the term "natural world".

    I do not!

    Are there a lot of people around you wearing these signs?

    I cannot, in all honesty, agree with the ^^above quoted^^ !

    FR, thank you for the clarification in regards to the "assertion" issue.
  14. Russ_Watters Not a Trump supporter... Valued Senior Member

    Paddoboy and I are on the same page: he isn't misusing the word "methods". You introduced that with your opening post. At this point it is pretty silly for you to continue with this game, implying a problem of grammar when in fact it is your thesis itself that is in question (is wrong). You're desperately trying to save it now.
  15. dumbest man on earth Real Eyes Realize Real Lies Valued Senior Member

    I implied no "problem of grammar", what I mentioned in reference to grammar, was not a problem.

    I have stated no "thesis" of my own.

    I have no impetus to be "desperately trying" anything.
  16. Russ_Watters Not a Trump supporter... Valued Senior Member

    In case you forgot, in the OP you said this:
    That's your thesis.

    Then in post #165 you said:
    First you said the methods are different, then you said they are not. Clearly, you have contradicted yourself. Clearly, your use of the word "methods" is as incorrect as me saying I'm reading one of the Hamlets.
  17. dumbest man on earth Real Eyes Realize Real Lies Valued Senior Member

    R_W, since, it seems to me, at least, you must play this way.

    If you want to take my clearly stated intent for Posting the OP, as a "thesis", then that "thesis" would be :
    R_W, most of the Posters on this Thread have, it seems to me, at least, have been describing (as referenced at the Links!) "the Simplified Scientific Method".

    When you queried me, in your Post #163 (Bold by me)
    My answer to your query was :
    R_W, since I clearly stated in the Post where I "clarified" the methods a doctor used ( my Post #109) :
    R_W, if you still cannot see a difference between "the Simplified Scientific Method" and the "real process of science" as expressed at the Links, well...then maybe you should take up that issue with

    Now, if I may be allowed, I would like to raise a few issues :

    1.) - Since, it seems to me, at least, that you feel some compelling need to "split hairs" over a "thesis", why not "split" those "hairs" with a Poster that "is on the same page" as you and has Posted their own 'thesis", to wit :
    2.) - It also seems to me, at least, that you have made some "assertions" about me :
    - Would you care to explain how my "thesis" on my "intent" in Posting the OP is "wrong"?
    - Would you care to explain how responding to seemingly, to me at least, "inane questions", is in any way, "desperately trying" anything?

    3.) - In reference to your statement :
    - I must humbly point out the fact that I never "said" anything in Fraggle Rocker's Post #165!

    R_W, since this is, first and foremost, a Science Forum - would it be too much to ask of Posters that are "on the same page" to possibly follow a few of the basic rules of utilizing even "the Simplified Scientific Method" - and try to be precise and accurate?
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2014
  18. Russ_Watters Not a Trump supporter... Valued Senior Member

    You're trying to create conflicts where none exist, while implying that your argument is supported (that you aren't in conflict with them, but I am). never uses the term "scientific methods". That's your term: My quarrel is only with you, not with them. We're not talking about the difference between the "real process of science" and the scientific method (yes, the real process of science is more than just the scientific method), we're talking about whether there is more than one scientific method. Again:
    Right: Whether it is a doctor ordering a biopsy or an auto mechanic checking the voltage of your car battery, that is still just the details of how to accomplish Step 3 of The Scientific Method. Singular.

    So lets go about it this way: if the term "scientific methods" is a correct term, then you should be able to find it in one of the links that you say supports you. If you don't, then you can't say that those links support your usage of the term.
    You're trolling. I made a typo. You know what you said and you know where you said it. "Humbly" is false self deprecation (as is your name) and pointing out a typo that you know was just a typo and didn't cause any issues (because you know what you said and properly responded to it) is trolling.
  19. dumbest man on earth Real Eyes Realize Real Lies Valued Senior Member

    - from :
  20. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    They do say, "Misconception: There is a single Scientific Method that all scientists follow."

    The larger context for the pages that DMOE linked to is appearance of the new national "Framework for K-12 Science Teaching" in the United States. While these Berkeley webpages appeared before the Framework, Berkeley says that - "Both stress that there is no single "scientific method", that science considers alternative explanations, and that ideas need to be tested against evidence from the natural world."

    You, Paddoboy and Trippy will probably want to argue that the last clause ("ideas need to be tested against evidence from the natural world") makes these statements consistent with your belief in the existence of a single (albeit awfully vague) 'scientific method'. That has some plausibility, I guess. But it's equally true that the authors at Berkeley did choose to say that they want to stress that there is no single scientific method and that it's a misconception to think that there is, which strongly suggests that they wouldn't object to DMOE's first post.
  21. Trippy ALEA IACTA EST Staff Member

    And as I have pointed out, dozens of times now, they are correct, there is a misconception that there is some sort of single cook-book method that scientists follow, and that it looks like this:

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    This is a single, cook-book, linear, non-recursive scientific method. This is the scientific method as it is taught in schools. The scientific method, as presented in this diagram is wrong.

    What myself, paddoboy, and others are saying is that in general the scientific method is Make an observation, Develop a hypothesis, test the hypothesis, review the hypothesis, but that it's not neccessarily a stepwise lurching from step to step as presented in the above diagram, that it's recursive and a collective effort.

    In otherwords we freely admit that sometimes it might look like this:

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    What we're saying is that if the process you follow happens to be:

    Observe, hypothesize, observe, observe, hypothesize, observe, hypothesize, observe, hypothesize, and somebody else has to test and review at a later date, or as in the case of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, where it is simply 'Observe', and the data subsequently used to test and develop hypotheses by others, then that is a different pathway following the same basic method of Observe, Hypothesize, Test, Review, and that this is exactly the same thing the berkley link says:

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    Even when you examine it in it's full glory. The difference being that where the Berkley link goes into some detail about the different ways each step can be conducted, I do not.

    I don't know how I can be any clearer about this.
  22. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

    Let me rephrase what I think in a manner much closer to the truth [again]
    The scientific method is the basic framework that promotes logical deductions and inquiry of a particular situation and/or discovery.
    It desirably weeds out those that for whatever reasons, see the need to introduce pseudo quackery and other rubbish to muddy the waters of science and every day life.
    As the name infers, it primarily applies to the science disciplines, but also operates in decisions in our day to day living.
    Nothing vague about it at all.
    In fact the basic scientific method could be said to be a refinement of every day living, although particularly known to be relevent in the science disciplines.

    You should notice that in all my posts to this "storm in a tea cup" thread, I have not once mentioned the acceptable steps of the scientific method.

    The following is the conclusion remarks from an earlier link of mine.....

    The scientific method is intricately associated with science, the process of human inquiry that pervades the modern era on many levels. While the method appears simple and logical in description, there is perhaps no more complex question than that of knowing how we come to know things. In this introduction, we have emphasized that the scientific method distinguishes science from other forms of explanation because of its requirement of systematic experimentation. We have also tried to point out some of the criteria and practices developed by scientists to reduce the influence of individual or social bias on scientific findings. Further investigations of the scientific method and other aspects of scientific practice may be found in the references listed below.


    or as this link says......

    What is the ``scientific method''?

    The scientific method is the best way yet discovered for winnowing the truth from lies and delusion.

    The great advantage of the scientific method is that it is unprejudiced: one does not have to believe a given researcher, one can redo the experiment and determine whether his/her results are true or false. The conclusions will hold irrespective of the state of mind, or the religious persuasion, or the state of consciousness of the investigator and/or the subject of the investigation. Faith, defined as [*] belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence, does not determine whether a scientific theory is adopted or discarded.

    A theory is accepted not based on the prestige or convincing powers of the proponent, but on the results obtained through observations and/or experiments which anyone can reproduce: the results obtained using the scientific method are repeatable. In fact, most experiments and observations are repeated many times (certain experiments are not repeated independently but are repeated as parts of other experiments). If the original claims are not verified the origin of such discrepancies is hunted down and exhaustively studied.

    When studying the cosmos we cannot perform experiments; all information is obtained from observations and measurements. Theories are then devised by extracting some regularity in the observations and coding this into physical laws.

    There is a very important characteristic of a scientific theory or hypothesis which differentiates it from, for example, an act of faith: a theory must be ``falsifiable''. This means that there must be some experiment or possible discovery that could prove the theory untrue. For example, Einstein's theory of Relativity made predictions about the results of experiments. These experiments could have produced results that contradicted Einstein, so the theory was (and still is) falsifiable.

    In contrast, the theory that ``the moon is populated by little green men who can read our minds and will hide whenever anyone on Earth looks for them, and will flee into deep space whenever a spacecraft comes near'' is not falsifiable: these green men are designed so that no one can ever see them. On the other hand, the theory that there are no little green men on the moon is scientific: you can disprove it by catching one. Similar arguments apply to abominable snow-persons, UFOs and the Loch Ness Monster(s?).

    A frequent criticism made of the scientific method is that it cannot accommodate anything that has not been proved. The argument then points out that many things thought to be impossible in the past are now everyday realities. This criticism is based on a misinterpretation of the scientific method. When a hypothesis passes the test it is adopted as a theory it correctly explains a range of phenomena it can, at any time, be falsified by new experimental evidence. When exploring a new set or phenomena scientists do use existing theories but, since this is a new area of investigation, it is always kept in mind that the old theories might fail to explain the new experiments and observations. In this case new hypotheses are devised and tested until a new theory emerges.

    There are many types of ``pseudo-scientific'' theories which wrap themselves in a mantle of apparent experimental evidence but that, when examined closely, are nothing but statements of faith. The argument [*], cited by some creationists, that science is just another kind of faith is a philosophic stance which ignores the trans-cultural nature of science. Science's theory of gravity explains why both creationists and scientists don't float off the earth. All you have to do is jump to verify this theory - no leap of faith required.
  23. Russ_Watters Not a Trump supporter... Valued Senior Member

    Right: so is anyone here a K-12 science student? Certainly, most of what K-12 students learn is simplifications and certainly many of those children don't know it and therefore have misconceptions that they learned everything. Much of that is just the naivete that comes with being a child. But none of that applies here: No one beyond high school - much less anyone with a scientific background - has a good excuse for having such a misconception. And certainly no one here does have it.

    Then to the specifics of what that no "single scientific method" means, Trippy (again, for the dozenth time) explains it in great detail. But in short: there are an infinite number of small variations in the application of the scientific method. It isn't and isn't meant to be-one-size-fits-all. So in the context of this thread, the active misconceptions are:
    1. That some people think there are adults (specifically, on this forum) who think the scientific method is one-size-fits-all.
    2. That some people think the scientific method purports to be one-size-fits-all.
    3. That the fact that the Scientific Method is not one-size-fits-all means there are other specific methods and in general usage the term Scientific Method should have an "s" after it.

    Indeed, neither that link nor DMOE himself list any specific alternative methods* and any such alternative method would inevitably suffer from the same imagined flaw DMOE thinks he sees in the scientific method: the infinite number of potential variations. So it isn't meaningful to say "The Scientific Methods" because the variations are already covered by "The Scientific Method" and no coherent, useful alternative methods exist.

    *Heck, in DMOE's doctor example, he demonstrates his own flaw by utilizing the actual Scientific Method as the framework of the example!

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