Is there a method?

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

  1. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

    Not sure of the point you are trying to make.....:shrug:

    There is really no argument with that regard. I see it as a storm in a teacup because your links [despite sensationalist headlines] actually follow the scientific method, in varying forms....The scientific method is the ground rules, and the foundations...simple as that.

    Most will agree that The greatest advantage of the scientific method is that it is unprejudiced, and in being so, it sorts out the truth from lies and delusion.
    again :shrug:
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  3. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    It looks to me like you want to define the 'scientific method' idea very broadly, to refer to pretty much any human interaction with the external world that results in success, even if the success was simply fortuitious, the result or randomly trying things until something worked. If something works, other people copy it.

    People have always done that, since the stone age. It's a form of behavior that's pretty much universal among human beings. So if that's what we are talking about, then why call it the 'Scientific method'? What is its connection to the intellectual tradition that we today call 'science', particularly science since the 17'th century? If it predates modern 'science' by a million years and if everyone's already using it, then it would seem to me to be more akin to 'common-sense'.

    Philosophically, what's happening here might be better conceived of as an element of epistemology, of the theory of knowledge, something that applies to any process by which sentient beings acquire knowledge about objective reality. Obviously science is going to partake in epistemology and will make use of it. But merely noting the fact that science is an epistemological practice doesn't set it apart from other human cognitive activities, doesn't provide us with a cookbook procedure for scientists to follow, and certainly doesn't help us explain the impressive success of modern science.

    Right, that's what it is and it appears to be pretty devastating to the idea that 'the Scientific Method' is 'observe-hypothesize-test'. 'Argumentum ad absurdem' (also called 'reductio ad absurdem') is a valid argument form that's used all the time in logical and mathematical proofs, and less formally in conversation. It's basically the idea that if absurd conclusions can be derived from a particular set of premises, then those premises can't all be true.

    In this case, the Muslim seems to be following the 'scientific method' to the letter. He's making an observation of behavior X. He's forming a hypothesis about it, that it's forbidden by God's law, and he's testing that hypothesis by consulting Quran, Hadith and the Islamic juridicial tradition.

    My point is that if a particular construal of 'scientific method' is consistent with and exemplified by the practice of Islamic law, then that particular account of scientific method probably isn't capable of performing the tasks that so many people want it to perform.

    The question is why. His procedure seems to entirely in accordance with the scientific method. If we still want to call it "pseudoscientific", then there must be some other criterion for use of that word.

    I didn't define him as an extremist. I called him a 'fundamentalist', meaning a Muslim who believes that society should be governed by Shariah. We can imagine that the Islamic juridicial traditions that he consults and the conclusions that he draws from them are entirely consistent with the consensus of Islamic legal scholars and hence are peer-reviewed in the Islamic sense.

    I don't think that any of us want to embrace this example as a bonafide example of science. The question is that if it is fully consistent with the scientific method, then why shouldn't we? Once again, it would seem that either this particular version of 'scientific method' is too broad and expansive to be helpful, or else it's still incomplete and still in need of additional premises.
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  5. Trippy ALEA IACTA EST Staff Member

    What changed in the 17th century was people began accepting the evidence instead of dismissing it in favour of their previously held beliefs. People began to realize that (for example) the aristotlean ideas and theories were wrong, through the process of scientific inquiry at a time when we were able to communicate en masse and our instruments of inquiry were reaching a crucial point (the development and use of the telescope for astronomy, for example). There were a number of important breakthroughs between 1400 and 1800 that we now take for granted, some of which were old ideas that had been dismissed out of hand because they contradicted the teachings of Aristotle, or the Bible, or whatever.

    You seem to be operating under the impression that science is some-how special, and to be set apart. Why?

    And I'm not interested in providing a cookbook methodology for "doing Science", the education system does that. Besides, as you yourself have pointed out, any cookbook methodology of "doing Science" is probably wrong.

    It can be a valid argument, it can also be a fallicous argument, and I have endeavoured to point out to you why it is fallicous.

    And in this case, that is why it would be considered pseudoscience if one were to insist on attaching a scientific lable to it.

    Pseudoscience is the application of the scientific method (what we are actually discussing) to things that are unscientific (something we have not actually discussed) - for example, religion and numerology. On second thoughts, maybe quackery would be a better word for it.

    Neither did I. I only suggested that his results might be in conflict with the majority of his peers.
    Not all Muslims are fundamentalists.
    The conflict between Shia and Sunni, as I recall, goes back to the time of Mohammad, and Shia and Sunni have different interpretations of Islam (it's the basic source of the conflict, as I recall).
    Then there's which of the Madh'hab he blongs to (directly relevant to your example), for that matter, let us not neglect the various Aqidah.
    What about the Quranists, who reject the religous authority of the Hadith, and even the sunnah?

    For that matter, are we talking Muslims or Islamists here? Even among Islamists, the view is far from united - Ennahda and Jamaat-e-Islami versus Hezbollah and Hamas versus al-Qaeda, the EIJ, and the Taliban.

    All these individual groups present different interpretations of the same material because of their biases.

    Personally I would question the validity of his hypothesis in the first place wnd whether or not it's a valid scientific hypothesis.
    For one thing, it has no explanatory value, and for another thing science doesn't deal with good versus evil. Science looks at the laws in the Bible and the Quran and says "Well, many of these laws make sense from the perspective of a stone age society, some of them appear to be ethicly questionable, and most of these events defy the laws of nature as they exist now, lack evidence to support their occurence, and are just generally implausable."
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  7. dumbest man on earth Real Eyes Realize Real Lies Valued Senior Member

    You have been expressing that. Could you possibly imagine how I would feel if I allowed my tolerance level to be of paramount importance in any and all discussions that I participate in?

    That seems to be an excellent interpretation of "the Simplified Scientific Method".

    Yes, you did. And I tried to point out to you that the Links were describing the "The real process of science" which of course, must contain all of the ingredients of "the Simplified Scientific Method", and also the much more complete, extended and detailed processes/methods that encompass the whole of "the real process of science".

    Yes, I have accepted it as I explained in my response immediately ^^above^^.

    Again, yes you did. and that "restating" was a great "broadest possible overview" of "the Simplified Scientific Method" - It would however, not be such a great "broadest possible overview" of's "the real process of science".

    The reason that presents only one flowchart is because they are presenting the flowchart of "the real process of science", which clearly states.

    Again, Trippy, it would seem to make perfect sense that the flowchart presented of "the real process of science" would have to incorporate all of the steps or methods of "the Simplified Scientific Method". Is that not a sensible deduction/conclusion?

    Again, yes you have. And I read those Posts.

    Yes, Trippy, only made "reference" to (Bold by me) :
    When makes references using the words "linear" or "simplified " (or variations of those words), it seems to me, at least, that they are probably referring to what they described as "the Simplified Scientific Method".

    I am not really sure what to make of your ^^above quoted^^ !

    If it was meant as a question, and you merely put a (.) at the end, instead of a (?), then yes I would think that you could give many examples.

    And, if it was meant as a statement (in which case you may have merely reversed the first two words), then I would agree that you should be able to give examples.

    1.) - I concur.

    2.) - I concur.

    3.) - I do not completely concur, I have stated that what you have said is similar to what states, thought they get much more in depth. In some Posts you have made some statements that are, more or less, the same as some of the statements made by, that much is true.

    4.) - I partially concur - I would use the word "similar" instead of "same" in some of the cases.

    5.) - ??? - It would seem to me that it is more that you are in complete agreement with in those details.

    6.) - ??? - Again, you seem to be in agreement with on the iterative nature of the process.

    7.) - ??? - Again, you seem to be in agreement with on the non-linearity of "the real process of science". The Site seems to only refer to "the simplified Scientific Method" as being "linear".

    8.) - As well you, and any other open and honest person who has taken the time to read the links, probably should be.

    9.) - I am not sure how to respond to that, other than to say that I was and am currently not aware that the site, nor myself claimed that any thing along those lines did not exist.

    Actually, my position has not changed one bit from what I Posted in the OP :

    Actually, it seems, to me at least, that after 7 Pages, what you and other Posters are saying finally "matches up" partially with what the Site/Pages are saying about "The real process of science".
    Although, I am not sure that everyone has figured out that considers and states that they (and others) make a distinction between "the Simplified Scientific Method", as taught in grade school for instance, and the much more involved and complex processes/methods that they explain as "the real process of science", which are utilized throughout the different Sciences and taught in the higher levels of academia.

    I have not been implying anything.

    I have tried to make it abundantly clear that I firmly believe that there is a marked difference between "the Simplified Scientific Method" and "the real process of science".

    I have also tried to make it clear that I firmly believe that there are a myriad of different processes/methods that are utilized on a regular basis in the many different disciplines of the Sciences.

    I am not quite sure what you are trying to say in that statement!

    The only reply that I can give is the following :

    I, dmoe, started this Thread and Posted the OP.

    In the OP I supplied the Links to what I believed were pertinent to the Thread, and clearly stated both my position on, and intent in Posting the OP. That position and intent has not changed at all.

    I also clearly stated in the OP :
    From the first few Posts by paddoboy, in which, it seemed to me, that he was trying to refute the OP, while at the same time appearing to copy/paste articles that were more or less in agreement to the OP. At that point, I was fairly certain that he had misjudged the intent of the OP, or had not fully read and considered the Links in the OP, so I asked paddoboy :
    I asked that question to see if paddoboy would state whether or not he was in agreement with the OP.

    It does seem to appear that not everyone read and considered the Links, Prior to Posting their responses - I should not be held responsible for any misunderstandings or misconceptions that were the result of their actions or non-action in that respect.

    As this Thread has progressed, it would seem that paddoboy and some other Posters have actually read at least some of the content available at the Links in the OP, and have, more or less, come into agreement with most of the content - even though some cannot come to admit any agreement with my position or my clearly stated intent in the Posting of the OP.

    Again, Trippy, I have tried my darnedest to address all of the questions and issues in your Post, to the best of my abilities.

    I always try to be open, honest and forthright in my Posts and responses. I have no overt or covert "anti-science" or "anti-mainstream science" agenda of any kind.
  8. dumbest man on earth Real Eyes Realize Real Lies Valued Senior Member

    "Didn't read completely" and "didn't read at all" were not my words in my Post that you quoted.

    To be perfectly frank, paddoboy has since admitted that he had not even read the few pages Linked in my OP, prior to making quite a number of Posts in this Thread.

    Actually, Trippy, there are at least 50 Pages of content if you continue "link through" using the "next button" at the bottom of each page, beginning with the "flowchart" page.

    And, yes, Trippy, I have read all of them multiple times. ( if you care to converse by PM, I will be more than happy to explain that answer, fully)

    I am not disputing the Links.

    My interpretation/representation of the Links is the interpretation/representation that is taught in many classrooms of the higher academia.

    If after reading, if only a few of the pages, members of this Forum are unable to understand that and many schools and Scientists, clearly see there being a "Simplified Scientific Method" as well as "the real process of science", well, I can do nothing about how anyone understands anything that I did not write/compose myself.

    When I have presented the Linked content to groups of people most of them understand the 2 differentiated concepts.
    I have had quite a few of them point out, after reading just the first few pages that is obvious that : although it is true, that "the real process of science" must encompass all of the the "Simplified Scientific Method" - the opposite - that the "Simplified Scientific Method" must encompass all of "the real process of science" is not true.
  9. paddoboy Valued Senior Member


    There is a basic scientific method...pure and simple. The rest are simply details.

    The basic scientific method encompasses the real process of science.

    I'm saying, [1] That the article headline is an example of sensationalistic controversy, just for the sake of controversy, and [2] getting beyond the pedant and sometimes excruciating details, the article follows the simple scientific methodology anyway...Like I said, a storm in a teacup...or making a mountain out of a molehill.

    The tone of your posts here and elsewhere certainly do imply some sort of agenda, in my very humble opinion.

    I see that as completely wrong. The real process of science follows and broadly uses the scientific methodology as a guide and basis upon which to proceed.

    All I have seen in your posts are pedantic examples.

    No, I certainly did not read the whole link, for the reasons already stated at the beginning of this post.
    I also provided an alternative University link, that gave the scientific method for what it truly is, way back on pages 1 or 2......I'm not that much into pedant to resurrect it, but its there...somewhere. :shrug:

    I certainly do not agree with the link headline, and see it as philosophical pedant ranting, but ironically, in presenting its case, it follows the scientific methodology, but arrives at the wrong conclusions.

    You do seem to have a habit of expressing and enforcing that in your posts.
    I see it differently. But I must admit, most people do have an agenda, or some issue they feel strongly about...Even me.
  10. dumbest man on earth Real Eyes Realize Real Lies Valued Senior Member

    Real eyes realize real lies.
  11. leopold Valued Senior Member

    the scientific method can be applied across the board to ALL the disciplines of science.
    the various methods of science or the methods used in the various sciences cannot.
  12. Russ_Watters Not a Trump supporter... Valued Senior Member

    Fair enough. So we agree that you misspoke when you claimed that excising a hemorrhoid is a scientific method, right?
    Yes, doctors do use a method related to the scientific method when diagnosing illnesses. As do auto mechanics when diagnosing car problems. As do I when diagnosing what's that smell in my fridge?

    But you do agree that none of these have anything to do with the thread, right? Because they aren't The Scientific Method since they aren't being used to find scientific theories.
  13. dumbest man on earth Real Eyes Realize Real Lies Valued Senior Member

    R_W, I am not really sure who the "we" are that you are talking about.

    I, myself, dmoe, cannot agree to the ^^above quoted^^, primarily for the paramount reason that I, dmoe, did not misspeak, nor did I claim that "excising a hemorrhoid is a scientific method". R_W, if you are trying to include me, dmoe, as part of the "we" in your ^^above quoted^^ question, from my perspective at least, "we" do not agree.

    The statement I made in my Post #89, that you queried me about in your Post #102 was :
    The variety of unpleasant methods that I was referring to were during the Diagnosing, prior to the excision, as I attempted to clarify for you in my Post #109 :
    Are you implying that my attempt at clarification was not clear and concise enough for you to understand it?

    That, to me, would seem very odd, because you seem to agree with my clarification, which, in and of itself, would seem to indicate full understanding in the next statement :, I must humbly state that I cannot agree with your final question, nor your final statement, either.
  14. Russ_Watters Not a Trump supporter... Valued Senior Member

    It is awfully difficult to accept that a " achieve its excision" isn't the excision itself. But fair enough -- I'll just ask that you be clearer in the future.
    Why not? You stated this definition of the scientific method:
    "The scientific methods are for (in Layman's Terms) extracting, defining and refining, identifying and establishing as True the Knowledge of the underlying fundamental Laws of the Natural world/Universe that we are a part of."

    Clearly, whether or not you have a hemorrhoid is not a "fundamental Law of the Natural world", right? So nothing a doctor does to diagnose it can be the actual scientific method, can it? Heck, what the auto mechanic is doing isn't really even closely related to science at all!
  15. dumbest man on earth Real Eyes Realize Real Lies Valued Senior Member

    Just as you have in the past. And I will always try my darnedest to clarify, just as I have in the past.

    R_W, there are Posters on this Forum who liken the scientific method to common sense, have you asked them to be clearer?

    And how about the Social Sciences, is there any utilization of the real process of science in any of the Social Science disciplines?

    Heck, R_W, computers are not part of the natural world, either - have any of the methods of science been utilized to enable you to Post in this Forum?

    Is this Forum part of the Natural World?

    Would or could this Forum owe its existence in any way to any application of any scientific method?
  16. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    To liken something to something else that is more familiar is not the same as saying that it is identical. There is a lot of common sense in the scientific method, and that's really not a bad point to make to laymen. But there's more to it than that.

    A distinction is commonly drawn between the hard sciences and the soft sciences.
    • The hard sciences are the ones in which the scientific method is followed rigorously: physics, chemistry, biology, geology, astronomy, etc.
    • The scientific method cannot be followed rigorously in the soft sciences for a variety of reasons, for example:
    • The use of experimentation is extremely limited in psychology because in many cases it is immoral, and often even illegal.​
    • The use of empirical evidence is curtailed in linguistics, because while the technology of spoken language is probably 70,000 years old (that's when we see an explosion of highly coordinated activities that could not have been performed by people who were using hand signals to communicate at the same time), the technology of written language was invented in the Bronze Age around 4,000 years ago, and sound recordings have only been available for a little over a century.​
    • Economics, history... all the soft sciences have their limitations.​
    Nonetheless, professional practitioners of the soft sciences use as much of the scientific method as they can, and they manage to accomplish great things.

    I'm not sure there's a universally accepted definition of the term "natural" in this context, but as the Linguistics Moderator, on SciForums I recommend using the term "the natural universe" to refer to our Hubble Volume and its contents. That's everything we can observe from here, using our senses, our instruments and the scientific method, and its behavior is clearly governed by a set of natural laws which we have been painstakingly discovering and describing for several centuries. Its behavior is so consistent that it is a matter of rational faith to presume that the natural laws (including those we haven't discovered yet) are constant and inviolable.

    This contrasts with the imaginary "supernatural universe" postulated by the religionists and the other wackos, which is said to be invisible and illogical, and full of fantastic creatures and other forces which emerge at random intervals for (apparently) the express purpose of fucking up the operation of the natural universe. Not only is the supernatural universe not governed by the laws of nature, but there is zero evidence for its existence, and therefore the wackos usually insist that it has no rules that we can understand, and that its existence must be taken for granted on the basis of irrational faith.

    Since this is not an academy, we have limited ability to enforce the scientific method here. Personally, I at least try to enforce its rules of discourse, specifically the one governing arguments:

    -- If you make an assertion and another member offers evidence or reasoning that claims to disprove it, you must do one of three things:
    • Accept the falsification of your assertion and never again repeat it on this website.
    • Challenge the rebuttal with new evidence or logic of your own, thereby keeping the discussion active.
    • Take a time-out to gather more evidence or reasoning to use as a challenge, setting at least a loose deadline, after which, if you have not returned with your new material, you will be assumed to have conceded the argument and to have implicity promised not to repeat your assertion.
  17. Trippy ALEA IACTA EST Staff Member

    In a sense they are - computers work because quantum mechanics is successful at describing the natural world, and how the parts of a computer will behave.

    The scientific method allowed us to derive the laws that describe the behaviour of the hard drive platter(s) this forum is stored upon.
    The scientific method allowed us to derive the laws that describe the behaviour of the parts that make up the computer that operates the server that this forum is stored upon.
    The scientific method allowed us to derive the laws that describe the behaviour of light in the fibre optic cables that allow the server to communicate with your PC.
    The scientific method allowed us to derive the laws that describe the behaviour of electrons in the copper cables that allow the server to communicate with your PC.
    The scientific method allowed us to derive the laws that describe the behaviour of electrons in an external magnetic field that allow us to generate the electricity that powers your PC.
    The scientific method, when applied to the field of computer programming, even allowed the derivation of a consistent protocol that allows computers in disparate locations to communicate with each other - including the error checking that takes place.

    Do I need to go on, or have I made my point.
  18. Trippy ALEA IACTA EST Staff Member

    I don't have time for in depth replies (I slept in this morning), but I just want to reply to this point:

    For context, here's what I said:
    Here's a screen-grab from the website:

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

    Addendum: I don't doubt there is more to this site than just the section, I even don't doubt that some of it may be relevant, however, the point here is that what I said had a context.
  19. Russ_Watters Not a Trump supporter... Valued Senior Member

    No. They are all being clear, not doing unhelpful things such as answering a question with a question. Nothing in your response has any relevance to the question I asked. Declining to answer appears an indicator of evasiveness. Again: you violated your own definition.

    Trippy responded pretty well to your post though: I have nothing else to add.
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2014
  20. dumbest man on earth Real Eyes Realize Real Lies Valued Senior Member

    Indeed, there is! As an example : Quite a few people tell me that "common sense" tells them, that it is not possible to boil water in a paper cup by placing the cup directly onto a burning wood campfire. Their "common sense" in that respect, could be said to be ignoring established scientific facts, if it produces that conclusion.

    FR, "followed rigorously" are your words, not mine.

    Honestly, I am not sure, either. However, with all due respect, I believe that I will continue to use the term : "natural world", when describing this particular world, which is only a near unimaginably tiny, minuscule part of the Universe.

    FR, you can say anything you care to about any "supernatural" this or that.

    If there is "zero evidence" for the existence of this "supernatural universe", why have you chosen to introduce it to the discussion?

    Are you in someway trying to tell me that I made an assertion - by asking a question? Was the < preceding question an assertion, also?

    FR, could you, please, clarify?
  21. dumbest man on earth Real Eyes Realize Real Lies Valued Senior Member

    Maybe...but in many senses they not, not the least of which is : that without the application of quite a number of the processes or methods utilized by Scientists in assorted disciplines, Nature, in and of itself, does not directly manifest or create computers.

    Actually, from my viewpoint, you never "needed" to, "go", at all.

    In all honesty, no matter how one would choose to interpret that question, is it not, essentially, a rhetorical question?
  22. dumbest man on earth Real Eyes Realize Real Lies Valued Senior Member

    Point taken. Grok'd!

    In that case...

    Yes, Trippy, I have read all of the 21 pages, multiple times.
  23. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

    Same old storm...same old teacup.

    The Scientific method is a "common sense" basic framework to facilitate logical reasoning and whose structure and methodology allows for flexibility and variability, in investigating phenomena, acquiring new knowledge, solving problems, and is unkowningly also followed in everyday life.

    There is no argument in my opinion on that score.

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