Is there a method?

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

  1. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

    As a foundation of ground rules for support, it exists, and is automatically, unconsciously adhered to on most occasions...even in every day life.
    But again in relation to your previous post...a storm in a tea cup.
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  3. Trippy ALEA IACTA EST Staff Member

    Sounds similar to some of the conversations I have had. I recall one where I pointed out that the correlation between sites up to 400km apart was an observation, not an assumption. They directed me to a weather website with daily highs in a part of California or Nevada where sites less than 100km apart experiences differences of 30 degrees and asked that I demonstrate it using that data. I had to explain to them literally half a dozen times that the data they were asking me to prove it with wasn't a time series, which was what was neccessary to perform the correlation. I think they still think they 'won' that conversation because I couldn't do what they asked me to, and in the process I saw many of the same rebuffs that I have seen here: "You obviously haven't clicked the link" and so on.

    People often miss the obvious truth - just because I disagree with you doesn't mean I haven't read your source material, or even that I think your source material is wrong, it means I disagree with your interpretation of the source material, nothing more, nothing less.
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  5. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    I'm not comfortable with the idea of fighting bullshit with bullshit. When that's knowingly done to laypeople, it's intellectually dishonest. And when bullshit, however well-meaning it might be, starts to leak into and distort understanding of science itself, it's anti-intellectual and seriously counter-productive. Falsehoods are a dangerous corrosive in an enterprise that's ostensibly dedicated to truth.

    A better way to address all of this would probably be to simply use some common-sense. If somebody wants other people to believe something that seems implausible on it's face, there's no reason why people need to be credulous. Instead, ask the person making the assertion how they know whatever it is that they say they know. Make them provide reasons that you find plausible and convincing for why you should believe it too.

    In the case of science, that's likely to include things like mathematical derivations for theoretical claims, or observational or experimental support for empirical ones. If the assertions still seem doubtful after hearing the whole spiel, maybe somebody in a position to do so should try to independently verify them. (Hopefully somebody who isn't personally invested in the conclusion.) The assertions probably need to be reasonably consistent with the existing (albeit fallible) body of scientific knowledge as well. Dramatically iconoclastic claims are going to need a lot more justifying than results that everyone expects.
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  7. Trippy ALEA IACTA EST Staff Member

    A point I have long since grown tired of trying to make.
  8. Trippy ALEA IACTA EST Staff Member

    The point I was making (and others were making) was that it's really just the same method applied in differing ways. What I said initially, still maintain, and maintain is supported by all the links spewed forth by DMOE, is that broadly speaking the scientific method can be summarized as Make an observation, develop a hypothesis, test the hypothesis, review the hypothesis. There are numerous different routes that you can take working through the process, and an individual might not work through the entire process of their own accord, but broadly speaking, that is the process that is followed by all scientists. I've been able to illustrate how my framework fits within DMOE's framework, I've even addressed the specific arguments raised by Yazata. Every version that has been presented in this thread has been able to be pared back to the same basic process including the same kind of linearized algorythmic simplifications that get taught in schools that the much vaunted Berkley links were referring to.

    Yazata doesn't like it because he thinks it's to broad to be of any use, because it can be twisted to incorporate the process used by religious people, and because he either doesn't like or doesn't understand the 'trial and error' component of science.

    DMOE just slaps the table, points at his Berkley link and requotes the same portion, with the same portions bolded whilst appealing to the authority of his many friends who are scientists, and stating that they all agree with him.

    I've just had better things to do over the last week, whilst working full time in an awkward time zone.
  9. krash661 [MK6] transitioning scifi to reality Valued Senior Member

    every time i come to this place, it's nothing but full blown arguing, on every single topic that exist .
  10. dumbest man on earth Real Eyes Realize Real Lies Valued Senior Member

    @ - Yazata - Post #280

    Last edited: Feb 1, 2014
  11. leopold Valued Senior Member

    287 posts on the scientific method, and practically everything related to it.
    reminds me of some tree somewhere.
  12. leopold Valued Senior Member

    yes, by intentionally adding an "s" after scientific method to make it appear that there is more than one scientific method.
    there are indeed many methods scientists use BUT there is only ONE scientific method.
    this has been stated to you over and over and over and over and over and over again but you STILL insist on adding that "s".
  13. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    My views on these matters are pretty much the same as they were at the beginning of the thread.

    I basically agree with DMOE's first post and don't think that there's anything wrong with using the phrase 'scientific methods' (plural). I don't think that doing so is even all that controversial, apart from right here on Sciforums.

    The University of California at Berkeley webpage that DMOE originally quoted says, "Misconception: There is a single Scientific Method that all scientists follow."

    Another page from the 'Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences') quoted in a subsequent post says:

    "Rather than following a single scientific method, scientists use a body of methods particular to their work. Some of these methods are permanent features of the scientific community; others evolve over time or vary from discipline include all of the techniques and principles that scientists apply in their work and in their dealings with other scientists. Thus, they encompass not only the information scientists possess about the empirical world but the knowledge scientists have about how to acquire such information."​

    National Academy of Sciences

    Pretty much everyone has seemingly agreed that no single step-by-step 'cook-book' methodological algorithm exists to which all good and proper science must necessarily conform, a single unique procedure that distinguishes science from all of the rest of human cognition.

    What science does have is logical and epistemological foundations. I've called them 'common sense' and argued that they have been present in human cognition since probably before anatomically modern humans existed.

    Another word that's often applied to this kind of thing is 'reason'. The 'Oxford Guide to Philosophy's' article on 'reasoning' says (p. 791) -

    "If you are confronted by a practical problem ('What should I do in this matter?') or a theoretical problem ('What is the truth in this matter?'), or a response problem ('How should I feel on this matter?'), solving it is bound to involve some cogitation, however perfunctory: you must bring to mind further questions that seem relevant to solving the problem, you must ponder ('weigh') their relevance, and, if you have answers to them, you must finally derive (work out, calculate) a solution 'in the light of' the answers. Any answers you lack may be worth trying to discover, either by further cogitation (e.g. proving a lemma in mathematics) or by gathering information. The latter is where research comes in: ask someone, go and look, devise an experiment, etc."​

    The article goes on to discuss many more issues such as how sound reasoning is distinguished from faulty reasoning, the role of logic in that, how the results of reasoning are presented to others, and so on.

    My opinion (it's certainly not unique to or original with me) is that scientific reasoning is just a much more highly specialized and technical application of reasoning in general.


    If everyone is willing to agree that the 'Scientific Method' isn't a single defined procedure or algorithm, then why call it the "scientific Method"?

    And if everyone is willing to agree that the 'Scientific Method' isn't unique to science, then why call it the "Scientific method"?
  14. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    "there are indeed many methods scientists use BUT there is only ONE scientific method."

    At least superficially, that appears to be a logical contradiction.

    Presumably to avoid the contradiction, the word 'method' needs to have a different meaning in the first (many) and second (ONE) instance. That ambiguity needs more elucidation, I think.
  15. dumbest man on earth Real Eyes Realize Real Lies Valued Senior Member

    @ - Yazata - Posts #296 and #297 -

  16. Trippy ALEA IACTA EST Staff Member

    As I pointed out earlier, the APHA Standard Methods is a handbook of standard analytical methods, all of which are scientific (peer reviewed, reproducible).

    This is why I take the trouble to distinguish between the scientific method, and the mutlitude of pathways by which it might be executed. So, no, not the contradiction it might seem at first glance.
  17. cornel Registered Senior Member

    What is this thread about ?
    I 've seen(well, read) some people arguing for/with the scientific method ike some holy grail on some forums(sciforums doesn't seem to have this problem to any large extend, btw) and so it was good to read OP,
    then just a lot of "no U" and "don't troll me" ...

    DMOE - If there is a specific response you wish, an answer to a specific question for example, or an opinion, i suggest you state so, and maybe people will give you that specific response.
  18. dumbest man on earth Real Eyes Realize Real Lies Valued Senior Member

    See OP :
  19. leopold Valued Senior Member

    there is no contradiction.
    the methods scientists use in their particular field could easily be called procedures.
    also, there is more than one way scientists use to gain knowledge.
    the above does not change the fact of ONE scientific method.

    you know, we could throw a shitload of garbage in the gearbox by saying something about gut feelings.
    gut feelings can hardly be called scientific but they are correct a significant number of times.
    scientific? no.
    worthy of consideration? yes.
  20. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    Well, to be generous, a dream can help with the creative part of formulating a hypothesis. Remember that old story about Kekulé and the benzene ring? ("I turned my chair to the fire and dozed. Again the atoms were gambolling before my eyes……….." etc.) But of course a dream is no good for validating a hypothesis, or even for formulating it precisely enough to be capable of validation.
  21. Trippy ALEA IACTA EST Staff Member

    Moderator Note:

    It is becoming increasingly apparent to me that there are posters that still wish to have discussions that are relevant to this thread, so, I have decided to reopen this thread.

    I have, however, been back through the last 120 posts and splintered off 42 posts that I have deemed to be off topic in one way or another.

    I have also taken the liberty of merging this thread with the previous similar discussion.

    This is not an invitation to debate my decisions as a moderator with me.

    This is not an invitation to complain about my splitting posts I should not have, or not splitting posts I should have.

    If you want to complain about my decisions or skills as a moderator, take it to SFOG.

    This is an invitation to resume the discussion of the topic at hand.
  22. dumbest man on earth Real Eyes Realize Real Lies Valued Senior Member

    Poster Note :


    Ah, the wonders of editing.

    Again, a Moderators prerogative exercised.

    How would one even go about debating anything with a Moderator that :
    1.) - seems to think that the bad habit of reifying abstractions should, would or could be part of any of the real processes of science?
    2.) - has openly declared that no debate is invited?
    3.) - has allowed their personal opinions, views, positions or mis-perceptions to influence their Moderator actions?


    Trippy, would you be so kind as to describe what you honestly believe to be "the topic at hand"?
  23. dumbest man on earth Real Eyes Realize Real Lies Valued Senior Member

    So...3 PM's later...I am still left in the same quandary...!

    I have to, again, ask... :

    Is the Topic of this Thread now : reifying abstractions? : or the real process of science?

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