Discussion in 'General Science & Technology' started by Juanchogespacho, Jan 11, 2014.
So much for THE scientific method then..
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Not at all.
Variations of the basic scientific method is always on the cards.
And that has been accepted.
I'm sure most logical thinking people realize the basic scientific method will stand, unmoved by the storm in a tea cup that has shaken the forum to its boots. Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!
Sarcasm of course intended.Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!
Just as when people [layman] pseudoscience pushers and conspiracy nutters show their ignorance and say "It's only a theory" with regard to a particular science issue, so to is the same level of ignorance highlighted when others see the need to compare science with religion, or label "real scientists"as hard nosed.
Those utterances in both instances, show their argument for what it is...without solid support or grounding. Unlike what the scientific methodology achieves.
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I'm not at odds with conspiracy pushers, pseudoscientific ratbags and the like either.
Now, substituting what you posted immediately above, here I insert the relevant statement you made in post #1:
The operative words you used are "adherence", "rigid", "dogmatic", "written in stone" and "single". These are all words of disparagement in contradiction to (3). By definition then (2) is contradicted. That leaves (1) as a question still unexplained: what is the source of that disparagement? What attitudes (fear and loathing) are in play, and what is their root cause?
There is nothing imaginary about the above-mentioned aspersions directed at "science" (to mean "scientists"). That leaves you with the choice between "fear and loathing" vs. "phobia". Typically technophobes are not concerned with this level of complaint, so we need to coin a new word to accurately categorize your specific reaction.
You haven't understood what I posted. My use of "solidarity" was in reference to a mentally healthy response to questions of scientific integrity. The healthy person would be roused to a sense of pride in this, our highest form of ethical expression. I said the antagonists are typically depraved people, generally fundamentalists, but also industrialists seeking deregulation. My statement to you was to ask: why you would wade in those waters, understanding that they are tainted by the lowest forms of human expression?
There is nothing deep about my posts. I am simply calling a spade a spade. All of the evidence is prima facie, taken from the plain reading of the words "adherence", "rigid", "dogmatic", "written in stone" and "single". Again, you are reversing. What you ought to be doing is furnishing evidence of "scientific dogmatism" etc., not asking me produce evidence to the contrary. I'm not the claimant; you are. The burden of evidence is on you.
Given that experience, we would expect you to have a love of knowledge, not to speak against it. So what went wrong?
You may actually believe so, but your words express contempt for the highest of ethical behavior, characterizing it as "rigid" and "dogmatic". Hence the question: what triggered this?
That statement directly opposes the statement the idea that all science must follow a rigid, dogmatic or "written in stone" single "Scientific Method". You have thrown down the gauntlet out of some feeling of injury not yet explained. Lacking any grounds from you for feeling this way, you have relegated your readers to inferring for themselves that you hold a grudge. My idea was to excise that sentiment out of you and put on the examining table for further analysis.
Whether or not the emotions you express here are manifesting as problems in your personal life is way beyond the scope of my remarks and strictly between you and your advisors. I am limiting my comments to the plain meaning of the words your used, while searching for the motives behind them. Typically these are motivated by religious fundamentalism and/or solidarity with the deregulation lobbies. Since you haven't expressed these as your motives, I have assumed them not to be in play. That leaves the source of this cynicism unexplained. As I said, without stating your foundations, you left it up to the reader to assume you had a personal grudge. That was why I suggesed it might be due to childhood trauma.
You may actually believe that, but the terms you used, "adherence", "rigid", "dogmatic", "written in stone" and "single", contradict that self-assessment.
My intent was to help you better understand my posts, and I see now that this was futile. In order for you to better understand readers, you would need to empathize with them. I specifically picked a Bible verse to test your sensitivity to the religion vs science polemic. In the case of the very wry quip "You must first remove the plank from your own eye so that you may see to remove the speck from mine" we are challenged to understand the authority from which all critical analysis springs. If the complainant can not speak from a higher ethical ground than the party he is attacking, then there is a valid question of authority which would bar him from expecting his complaints to be heard. I gave that to you as an opportunity to rise to the occasion and speak to the authority which motivates you. I wasn't interested in your credentials, only the facts that form the basis of your claims.
The status quo is that science is a form of ethical conduct expressed as the acquistion of knowledge. Therefore, characterizing learning as "dogmatic" etc is an attack on the status quo.
No I never said that. From the outset I asked why you would wade in those same waters. Would you disparage people on account of their color, culture, gender or disabilities? As you know there is a phenomal history of human atrocity written around such attitudes. So what is it about scientists that motivates you to single them out for criticism? Specifically, given the pathos surrounding cynical thinking, why associate with such an outlook? In celebrating our solidarity with a higher ethic (my other remark) we reinforce that "that's not who we are" (borrowing the prez's remarkable phrase). For this reason I said you should be enjoying solidarity with the good folks here rather than wading in these other waters.
I think I've covered this adequately.
Something has colored your beliefs about how scientists do their work. The plain word for that is "jaded". What remains to be seen is how you arrived at this conclusion. Ideally you would have laid the grounds for that in the OP.
You left this is as a vague highly general assessment of all of science. That leaves the reader not only to believe you are attacking contemporaries but great minds from throughout history. Thus I am left wondering how Gauss or Maxwell were "dogmatic" or how Mendel or Darwin were "rigid" or how Einstein, Lorentz and Poincare were plauged by "adherence". Any reasonable inquiry would reveal that such folks were driven by the best virtues, talents and tenacity imaginable. They were the intellectual equivalent of decathalon athletes. So how do you arrive at the conclusion that there is a fly in the ointment? Who are the bad guys you are complaining about? Who is wronging the world by their dogmatism and rigidity? I haven't understood this at all since you haven't named any culprits.
That's the necessary result of "rigid" "dogmatism". I don't understand why you are retreating from this position.
All of my posts have been asking you that. I can't speak for the others here but there are similar ideas in their remarks.
I would beg to differ with you. Thus far you haven't said who is guilty of "rigid" "dogmatism" and just offhand I'd find it hard to believe you would pick Gauss or Poincare or any other icon of science as the poster boy for that kind of accusation. That just leaves it up to you to decide what you really mean by all of this.
You may not be, but your words are. Why is that?
Since, it seems that you are "parsing" the statement, the "relevant" part of that statement - which you seem to conveniently miss, ignore or omit is: "... to hopefully assuage the adherence of some to the idea...".
1.) - Aqueous Id, please go and "play your game" with someone else. I am not bothered or upset that you "play your game", nor am I amused.
It is simply a "game" that I do not care to "play"!
2.) - Did I mention "game"?
...Please refer to : 1.) - !
3.) - I did not ask if there was anything "deep about" your Posts. What I asked was:
If you cannot answer that question, honestly, with a "yes", then...
...Please refer to : 1.) - !
4.) - Your "idea", it seems to me at least, was to "play your game". Again...
...Please refer to : 1.) - !
5.) - I have no advisors. Obviously, it seems to me at least, this Forum "is way beyond" your "scope of" anything.
...Please refer to : 1.) - !
6.) - Aqueous Id - I am entirely unimpressed - with your inane attempt to put your own thoughts, ideas, problems and imaginations into my clearly and precisely worded Posts.
...Please refer to : 1.) - !
7.) - No, Aqueous Id, I am not "at odds with science".
It seems, to me at least, that it is the "words that you Posted" that are not only at "odds with science", but are directly at "odds with" my actual words!
...Please refer to : 1.) - !
And as I have previously stated [you'll have to find it yourself] back up somewhere, this forum is also one to primarily discuss mainstream science. And it is only out of the goodness of his heart, that the administrator allows other discussions in their appropriate forum.
But even there, the nutbags will certainly face all the opposition, that their theories/conspiracies deserve.
As with anti mainstream science anywhere, it will neccessarily need to run the gauntlet, so to speak.
Oh and another well put together and pretty close to the mark post Aqueous Id...Well done.
I think that 'the scientific method' is an excellent topic for discussion of what's ostensibly a science discussion board. Thank you for starting the thread. It's a good one.
Stating the opinion that it might be most accurate to say that there are multiple scientific methods seems entirely reasonable and unobjectionable to me. (It's an opinion that's widely shared among scientists and philosophers of science.) In my opinion scientists possess an entire tool-kit of methods that they employ depending on the nature of the problems that they face. That's a far more accurate description of what real scientists spend their time doing than any one-size-fits-all 'observe-hypothesize-test' cookbook procedure could possibly be.
If there are any principles arching over everything that scientists do and applicable to all of it, they are philosophical in nature - basic logic, reason and epistemology.
In a word, when people make controversial statements in any subject, people who don't already believe what's being said will naturally be inclined to ask: 'Ok, so why should I believe that'? The person making the assertion needs to provide some convincing reasons. If plausible reasons aren't presented, other people won't have any reason to believe what's being said.
If the subject is natural science, and if the assertion is that the natural world behaves in such and such a way, then the natural world should observably behave that way for the sceptics too. If the assertion is that theory 'proves' such-and-such, then all of the steps in the derivations that led up to it need to be sound and all of the built-in assumptions need to be credible.
That basic rhetorical/epistemological principle isn't all that complicated, even if it might occasionally be rocket-science. It certainly isn't anything that's unique to science. It's something that we encounter routinely in every-day life.
But in the case of natural science, things do start to get complicated, very fast, when actual reasons for why a particular assertion is supposedly plausible are finally presented. There are apt to be all kinds of technical questions about experimental procedure. There might be deep disagreements about the nature of whatever underlying assumptions are being baked in. There might be questions about mathematical derivations, modeling, probabilities or whatever. When active disagreements exist in real-life science, scientists are often arguing about those kind of technical issues.
Finally DMOE, don't worry if a few people choose to insult you. If they had anything better to say, they would be triumphantly saying it. When opponents resort to insults, that means that insults are all they have and it's basically equivalent to them running up the white flag. It's a signal that you've already won.
It's important that you do not post defensive replies to insults. (That's precisely what they want you to do.) Just ignore the childish stuff and continue to imperturbably make your substantive points as well as you can possibly make them. (They hate that.) When threads devolve like this, just be the man among boys and you will always be the one looking good.
My take on the nature of the scientific method is well known by now.
It is analogious to the foundations of a tall building...Once the building is complete, the foundation is generally forgotten about, with most activity occurring on the many floors above. Still a strong foundation is paramount.
The basic scientific methodology acts the same way, with variations and methods stemming from it. No one has denied that.
Also worth noting Yazata that some posters do have a record, and as such due to the nature of past posts, will be looked on with suspicion.
If you researched that side you would see what I mean.
All, are entitled to believe what they will, and although this has been a good discussion from both sides, the reasons for posting it are not as you probably think.
As a party to this debate, I also wish to thank the likes of Russ Watters, Trippy, leopold, Fraggle Rocker, Aqueous Id and any others I have missed.
i know what the method is, you know what the method is, and so does dmoe.
it's been a good thread and raised (or dredged depending on your perspective) some good stuff.
paddoboy, may I ask a few questions? And let us use a somewhat scientific process : - direct questions - direct answers !
1.) - What were my stated reasons for Posting the OP?
2.) - What does Yazata "probably think" were my reasons for Posting the OP?
You state the reasons for my Posting the OP, "are not" as Yazata "probably think"(s).
3.) - By applying any of the scientific methods or processes of your choosing, could you, please "prove" your ^^above quoted^^ statement?
4.) - How can you "prove" that my stated intent, or "reason", for Posting the OP is not in fact entirely true?
Since you seem to have such a True and Factual Knowledge of my "reasons" for Posting the OP.
5.) - What were my True and Factual "reasons" for Posting the OP?
And last, but not least...
6.) - What are the "methods" that you may, just possibly, utilize if you, again just possibly, choose not to proffer honest and direct answers to these questions?
BTW, a record of being attacked on this forum, by primarily one Poster, with, what seems to me (and others!), to be an established agenda (and modus operandi to further that agenda!) of their own, does not mean that that it is I, dmoe, that "will be looked on with suspicion" by open, honest and rational readers of this Forum.
The "game" here is called conversation. You lobbed the opening serve. All I did was return the ball. I'm still waiting for your volley.
Your call. You opened, not me.
I answered that question. I said I was not interested in your credentials but only the facts that lead to the conclusions you opened with. I'm still waiting for you to answer me. Who is guilty of dogmatism? Where are the facts to support your claim that science is plagued by some single rigid method? If it turns out that there is no such case, then we can wrap this up, right?
You precisely said scientists are "rigid" and "dogmatic". It's a bald claim, not accompanied by any facts. It's your opinion, nothing more. For some reason you feel science is broken, although in all my attempts to coax out of you your basis for forming that opinion, you still have offered no rationale for holding it.
Yes, now you need only repeat back to me which words I am at odds with: "rigid", "dogmatic", "single (method" . . .
These are your claims but they are unfounded.
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.
@ - Aqueous Id
This is to let you know that I did not put you on ignore, and to inform you of the following :
If and when you see fit to Directly Answer : # 6.) of my Post #218, on Page 11 of this Thread, we may, and I repeat , may then engage in a conversation.
Until that Direct Answer is provided, honestly and openly by you - well...
As I said before I did answer you. My answer is that I never asked you about your credentials. Suffice it to say I have read psychology at university. But as far as you're concerned I'm a wino who lives under a bridge and as far as I'm concerned you're Jerry Garcia's former beard groomer. In other words none of that matters. Anyone can come in here and pretend to have any credentials they choose. And some do. The express goals of the site, and the reason I freely make used of them, are that people can engage in intelligent conversation on a variety of topics of interest to me. I have a lot of respect for the really great folks here without having any clue about who they are of what their credentials are. I have never asked anyone that question because it simply doesn't matter to me, regardless of the fact that it's none of my business. I can tell when I'm speaking to a person credentialed in math or science simply by the way they express themselves. There simply are some kinds of ideas you can't pick up through home schooling.
My questions to you all stem from the factual predicate you laid in the OP. I have been trying to coax you to come forward with your rationale for claiming that scientists are rigid and dogmatic. So far you have resisted providing anymore information about who is rigid, who is dogmatic and who is limiting themselves to some narrow methodology, during the conduct of scientific inquiry.
I was quick to point out to you that there is a religious-industrial coalition that has been attacking science for years now, and the markers you are expressing --- unspecified claims about general deficiencies in the scientific method, plus the reluctance to candidly answer questions put to you concerning those claims --- are the hallmark of that coalition. By all evidence there are a number of their operatives who have registered here as members who may be using the forums for a variety of deviant purposes -- from a pathological need to antagonize the well behaved technical folks to (I suspect) testing the waters for new ideas they are developing for their propaganda rags. Thus I had a base of observed patterns from which to quiz you about your motives.
I only have a foggy recollection of encountering you in the past - it seems I only took notice of you within the past few months or so. For some reason you remind me of several other members who all had a similar persona, each of whom became so antagonistic I put them on ignore so I could enjoy the better side of conversation without engaging them. This may have colored my responses to you a bit, although I'm on high ground asking you to substantiate your claims. That's what you should have done from the outset. I suspect the responses here would have been mellower had you done so.
At this point I don't give a rat's ass who you think I am or whether you want to answer me or not. That's entirely up to you. But it seems to me that if you came here with a legitimate interest in learning how scientists do their work, then you have a wealth of resources to draw from in the voices of the good technical people I alluded to above. I think we've scared off some of the really great scholars that were regulars here but there are a dozen or so people I can think of who have hung on, who are super qualified to chat with you over this very interesting subject.
I was glad to see Yazata's post since he insightfully recognized that this is a rather penetrating philosophical question (how do we know what we know; how can we be sure) which is way, way more interesting than beating each other over the head over accusations that science is fundamentally broken. I also appreciated his candid remark about the way posters like him get run off the road when the charioteers start gunning their engines. Many times I read through threads noticing that kind of thing happening. In fact I'm sure I unwittingly ran a lot of people off the road myself.
Yeah whatever you want to say go ahead and say it. I simply have no clue why you are saying it if you're not going to state your reasons.
Here's what DMOE said in the first post in this thread.
That looks to me to saying essentially the same thing as this more recent quote:
But hang on, we're violently agreeing, surely?
Replicability and falsifiability are precisely 2 of the elements of any definition of "scientific method". Objective observation implies replicability (actually I prefer reproducibility, as this implies replicable by different people in different labs). Falsifiability is implicit in the whole notion of testing whether theories can make successful predictions.
Popper did us all a big favour, in my view, by bringing into focus what science really is and hence what a scientific approach to something has to include.
For the sake of extending an olive branch, I'll take a step back from that but I did want to acknowledge your many posts since you recently became active here. For any readers who may want to join in but perhaps aren't sure where to set the hook, how to launch some idea rolling around in their head, I think you serve as a good example to them: just go ahead and say it and let the chips fall where they may.
I wouldn't be too bothered by it if I hadn't been sensitized to the appalling abuses and slander against scientists here in the US during the dreaded reign of George Bush and his cronies. In fact, I find it hard to believe this question would even be on the table if not for that nightmare.
I was thinking about this recently, remembering how intimidated I felt in some of my early lab classes. One of them required that you go up an elevator and check out whatever equipment you needed from a property cage. I remember feeling flustered -- wondering if I was supposed to know in advance all the instruments needed for a particular experiment. Probably for at least the first half of the semester I was never able to actually enjoy the wonders of discovery there, feeling like I was about leave some stone unturned, have to retrace my steps, and miss the deadline. These memories came back to me as I was kicking back thinking about what other reasons folks might have for concluding that science is rigid. Indeed, had I flunked out, it's possible I may have blamed it on the university for throwing procedures at me too fast and furious while I was trying to stay focused on my work. In that regard it's entirely possible that I could conclude that science was too rigid. And all of us encountered somewhere some insanely unreasonable instructor who just seemed to throw hurdles at us all along the way -- someone who might easily be labeled 'dogmatic'. Only not the same as it's being used here. They were brilliant people who made incredible strides. They just happened to be stern. So this is why I'm left to assume that if the person attacking science isn't affiliated with the Bush-style anti-science melee, then maybe they are this other kind of person, the one who had a really bad academic experience.
Yeah that's for sure - if they're in that first category. I really like debating those folks. I think I should have taken my arguments with many of them to the debate threads, so as not to bother the gentler readers here, but it seems you never really know when that moment has arrived. Plus, there are usually several people in on the discussion anyway.
I may have missed that remark. I'll go back and see if I can figure out what you're referring to. But yeah, in general this is characteristic of a lot of the folks who are quasi-trolls operating just below the radar.
The only thing about that which gets under my skin is that "mainstream" has now become an epithet for them to sling around, and they use it in their own proprietary sense to mean "rigid", "dogmatic", that kind of thing. They superimpose this definition on top of the way it's conventionally used -- which has no such connotation -- and it poisons the thread all the more.
That's for sure. On the one hand they want to be assured that a given result is infallible and on the other hand they want evidence that it's falsifiable. Then at the same time they equate it with being false. There are all kinds of moronic games like this they play.
Oh good point. I ran into this arguing over the reasons climate data had to be "calibrated" (not the exact term they use but you get my point). One person (a denialist) had a collection of data before and after the adjustments were made. He was beating on his chest proudly extolling the virtues of being a cop who had just uncovered fraud. (This is not exactly the same as what you're saying but it's close.) In a word, the data in one continuous plot look messed up until the corrections were applied. So the interpretation was that the adjustments were a cover up. But unknown to his brain dead readers was that these were different data sets from different instrument sites stitched together in a single plot. So the purpose for the corrections was to calibrate the data to a common baseline, to account for the differences in instruments (and sites). I guess that's not a great example since it shows how it unfolded in the other camp, but anyway we could go on about this for hours. All kinds of updating is going on all the time, constantly sending people back to rethink a prior interpretation. In fact I would put this in my top 10 list for "what scientists do for a living".
Yeah that the assumption from the get go. Some thing are set in concrete, you have a foundation to build from . . . but at any point if you discover something that screams at you that the foundation is tilted, you have to reconcile it. 99.999% of the time it's something else, but that 0.001% does come around.
The problem is that irrational people don't have a very good grip on common sense. They don't trust the experts because they've been brainwashed. So even common sense comes under fire. That's what makes the US culture wars so pathetic.
Here I am setting in bold the question I have been seeking an answer to. If "some" are "adhering" to the "rigid, dogmatic or 'written in stone' single method" then why are they being touted here as scientists at all? By the definition I gave they don't even meet that criteria. It's this discrepancy I am trying to unravel.
I believe that this thread is basically a continuation of another thread that our moderators closed for some unknown reason.
The original poster in that one (not DMOE) made some very interesting and in my opinion defensible (if perhaps controversial) remarks about the philosophy of science, including an expression of scepticism about 'the Scientific Method'. Unfortunately, his presentation was awfully aggressive and off-putting, so his remarks generated some hostility. When DMOE said that he agreed with some of the things the original poster had said (DMOE's presentation wasn't very good either), he came under criticism too. Then the thread was inexplicably closed.
This thread kind of picks up from there. I believe that DMOE's word "some" that you highlighted refers to those right here on Sciforums who had been battling him in the earlier thread for saying something that he thought was right. DMOE was addressing some people on Sciforums, not scientists.
The word 'adherence' seems perfectly fine to me. I adhere to a variety of philosophical positions myself. The word basically means 'stick', as in 'adhere' and 'adhesive'.
The words "rigid, dogmatic or 'written in stone'" seem to refer to some laypeople's religious-style faith in the existence and power of the (arguably mythical) Scientific Method. Certainly to the idea that there is a single rigidly defined step-by-step procedural algorithm that accounts for science's extraordinary success and to which all instances of real science must necessarily conform. DMOE may have overstated his own position a bit (he was probably mad and he isn't the best writer), but I think that he has a point.
Many people learn the sterotypical 'scientific method' in school. Few of these people ever go on to university study of science, let alone to becoming practicing scientists. But most people do eventually get into arguments with creationists and such.
So many laypeople start to think of science as if it was the highest (and perhaps the only) source of truth and authority, and think that its authority is somehow guaranteed by its possession of and adherence to some unique procedural method.
'The Scientific Method' transforms in their mind into a grand bulwark against bullshit. That suggests that if anyone is raising questions about the scientific method, then the damnable questioner must be a champion of bullshit. And that in turn can lead to what might have been interesting discussions of the philosophy of science being choked off by what amount to accusations of heresy and blasphemy.
That's how I saw it, at any rate, and it's why I stepped in to defend DMOE. I think that his basic point in the original post is defensible and quite possibly right. It's certainly something that Sciforums should be discussing thoughtfully, not shouting down. That's where I'm coming from.
I don't believe that is true.
Most lay people don't really give a stuff about science one way or the other. They may stand in awe at some new fantastic achievement one minute, then in the next it is forgotten about. Remember Apollo?
The same now with the achievement of the Internet and communication. It's accepted without a second thought.
But on occasion some other lay people [me for instance] do accept science as the highest form of logic and human progress, not so much for the truth as you mentioned. In fact it could be said that science is still a long way from the truth, if it really exists at all.
One truth I do imagine to have been achieved by science, is that if it wasn't for that discipline, we may well still be swinging in the trees.
The scientific method certainly is a bulwark against bullshit and other outrageous claims as you state, and I make no apologies re my position against them, especially the nonsense threads about members popping in out of left field, an claiming that SR/GR is rubbish, and they have irrefutable proof of it.
One last comment.....I probably am seen by some as a "science cheer leader", due to the number of scraps I have gotten into with the pseudoscience and conspiracy brigades and my defence of science. [Although it should also be noted that on another forum, I was seen as somewhat of a maverick]
That's a perception I have to live with. :shrug:
By the same token, others here, evidenced by their posts, could also be labelled as the opposite, for the reasons I have previously stated.
I am in awe of the science of cosmology and astronomy, and am truly envious of those that are at the coal face of these endeavours.
I am also 99.999% confident that we are not alone, contrary to the mainstream position of "we don't really know"
I certainly do see science as the disciplines closest to any truth we maybe searching for. I also once again see the scientific method as a foundation and basic guide to achieving that.
Separate names with a comma.