Problems With the Scientific Method

What are the problems with the scientific method?

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Umm no, the purpose of the scientific method is not to get closer to the "truth"; its merely to apply validated tools to empirical data for purposes of inference.

Indeed.
As i said above in my original post.

:)
 
In addition to what Glaucon said - which was quite correct - it means you are getting ever closer to the truth. That's the whole purpose of the scientific method.
Yes, but a lot of people take it as absolute truth.
 
Yes, but a lot of people take it as absolute truth.

From whence we can draw 3 conclusions:

The problem lies not in the SM, but in the people.

A lot of people are wrong.

A lot of people believe in the idea of 'Truth'.
 
There's nothing wrong with the idea of truth. Without it, logic is useless. The problem is when people take an idea as truth when it shouldn't be. And, let's be frank here, the media often quotes researches as absolute truths, without taking into consideration any constraints, or methods or anything. That's because people just want everything chewed up. They want the summary of the summary. And, of course, the elite profits from that....
 
There's nothing wrong with the idea of truth. Without it, logic is useless. The problem is when people take an idea as truth when it shouldn't be. And, let's be frank here, the media often quotes researches as absolute truths, without taking into consideration any constraints, or methods or anything. That's because people just want everything chewed up. They want the summary of the summary. And, of course, the elite profits from that....

Science is not about truth. It is merely a statement of inference. The only conditions are the empiricism of the data and the validity of the tools. (And the reliability and reproducibility of the results)
 
There's nothing wrong with the idea of truth. Without it, logic is useless.
...

Incorrect.

Logically speaking, 'truth' is defined as satisfaction of validity.


...
The problem is when people take an idea as truth when it shouldn't be. And, let's be frank here, the media often quotes researches as absolute truths, without taking into consideration any constraints, or methods or anything. That's because people just want everything chewed up. They want the summary of the summary. And, of course, the elite profits from that....

I concur.

Again, it is people that are the problem, not a methodology.
 
Incorrect.

Logically speaking, 'truth' is defined as satisfaction of validity.
Look. A hypothesis is either proven to be true or false. That's it. And hypothesis are the very core of the SM. Without truth, there is no SM.
 
Look. A hypothesis is either proven to be true or false. That's it. And hypothesis are the very core of the SM. Without truth, there is no SM.

A hypothesis is not proven false, it is proven true or not true. There is a subtle difference.
 
Yes, I agree.

That certainly does not null my point now, does it?

?

Your point being what now?

That 'truth' (however you opt to define it..) is somehow an element of SM?

Incorrect.

We're talking here about a method of induction; by definition it cannot include anything that can be categorized as 'true'.

You seem to be thinking of Sm as some sort of deductive methodology......

And even if that were the case (although it's strictly impossible..), then we would be required to begin from some a priori. And if that were the case, then we would (ultimately) simply be able to deduce all truth, right from there.
 
So when you try to prove a hypothesis, the hypothesis is NEVER proven true?
 
sam said:
A hypothesis is not proven false, it is proven true or not true. There is a subtle difference.
In science, hypotheses are either proven false or not proven false - that's the standard take,anyway.

To prove a hypothesis true, one would have to exhaustively reject all other relevant hypotheses. It is usually impossible to tell whether one has even discovered all other relevant hypotheses.

truthseeker said:
So when you try to prove a hypothesis, the hypothesis is NEVER proven true?
Correct, in science.
 
Huuumm.... I think we were all wrong and iceaura is right.

So it is a big problem when the media talks about the results of a study as if it was an undisputable truth!
 
For a long time, it was believed that lycopene, a substance found predominantely in tomatoes, helped to fight cancer. However, recent research shows that lycopene actually worsens cancer! At the same time, they now believe that apple peel is very helpful to fight against cancer. I'm not a genius, but there is only one truth. Lycopene is either helpful or harmful. So why does one research shows that it's helpful and the other harmful?
Because science never stops. We never assume that we've found the ultimate "truth." When more data, more people to do research, or more sophisticated methods are available, we keep reexamining old theories to make sure they still conform to new observations and don't need a little tweaking.

Second- or third-order corollaries of scientific theories may fall by the wayside, such as whether a particular chemical causes a particular reaction in a particular type of animal, as in your example. But the overall principles generally are not disproven, so much as shown to need a little refinement. The example I keep using in these discussions is Newtonian physics. We haven't had to throw it out since the discovery of relativity. It's perfectly valid for measuring and predicting the behavior of matter and energy at the temperatures and velocities 99.9999% of the human race will ever have to deal with if they remain on the surface of this planet. It only changes things at the limits of observation, i.e. subatomic particles, travel near the speed of light, or phenomena of cosmic magnitudes. Most human beings can remain blissfully ignorant of that with no harm done.
1) We gained new knowledge before the new research, therefore, the scientific method is limited by our knowledge range.2) Our methods of research improved, therefore the scientific method is limited by the accuracy our research methods.
You're misstating your premise. These are not limitations of the scientific method itself. These are limitations of the tools we have been able to develop, to date, to use in the application of the scientific method to understanding the universe.
His wording is extremely bad. The method itself is not limited, but it can only measure/ find what you are capable of measuring, if you see what I mean. Physics seems to me to have less of these problems compared to, say, biochemistry and the kind of associative epidemiological studies that Truthseeker is on about.
You're basically saying the same thing I did. Now he's heard it expressed two different ways.
In addition to what Glaucon said - which was quite correct - it means you are getting ever closer to the truth. That's the whole purpose of the scientific method.
Umm no, the purpose of the scientific method is not to get closer to the "truth"; its merely to apply validated tools to empirical data for purposes of inference.
I'm not sure I agree with that, and even at best your point is a bit on the pedantic side. People want "the truth" about how the universe works, so they can use it to rationally plan their activities. What the scientific method gives them is "the truth" with a precision and accuracy range. To put it another way, it gives us "the truth" according to the definition of the U.S. legal system: "True beyond a reasonable doubt." We don't know the things we take for granted because they are told to us by scientists, with 100% certainty, but we have enough certainty to not harbor a "reasonable doubt" about their truth. That means that occasionally some scientific finding will be disproven, but on the whole we are immeasurably better off to let science guide the worldly aspects of our lives, than to do it by astrology, dream interpretation, or holy books that were written thousands of years ago by people who were barely out of the Stone Age.
Yes, but a lot of people take it as absolute truth.
I would not disabuse them of that unless they are highly educated. To explain standard deviations and acceptance criteria to the average layman is hopeless.
Regardless. SM has its limitations...
Absolutely not. The scientific method is surely the best method that can be invented to discover the workings of the universe. The limitations are in our tools, our abilities, and our measurements. As long as we continue to do our best to improve them, we are scientists. But even if we do not, the fault lies within us, not within the scientific method.
So when you try to prove a hypothesis, the hypothesis is NEVER proven true?
That depends on your discipline. In mathematics you're dealing with pure abstractions. When you prove that the square of a hypoteneuse is equal to the sum of the squares of the two sides, you have an absolute truth that will never be overturned. Period. In police work you're dealing with one crime, and it will turn out either that the butler did it or he did not. Period. In sociology and economics you're dealing with the behavior of large groups of people and just because they behave the way you predict throughout your lifetime and that of the next seven sociologists or economists, there's no guarantee that they won't start behaving differently, say when the earth's temperature increases by seven or eight degrees Fahrenheit, or when the world population stops increasing and starts decreasing. (Both of which are likely to happen within the next hundred years or so. :))

Science falls somewhere in between math and sociology. Scientific theories (or hypotheses) can be proven to be consistent with rather a large collection of data (unlike police work) and a rather well correlated collection of data (unlike sociology and economics). So we have a much higher confidence level in their validity. So high that we're willing to go outside the citadel and tell the common folk that we can't build a spacecraft that will reach the next star and return in a single lifetime... that dinosaurs and humans did not inhabit the earth at the same time... that marijuana smoke does not contain the carcinogens that tobacco smoke does. And not wake up every morning scrambling for the Discovery Channel to make sure we weren't proven wrong last night.

Yes, occasionally a hypothesis will be disproven, but it's not the fault of the scientific method. The whole purpose of science is find things out, and if new things we discover invalidate our previous hypotheses, we run to the lab with great enthusiasm, ready to sort things out and improve our science books.

That's the difference between us and the religionists. They will go out and commit genocide--or at least burn a lot of books--to keep that from happening.
 
Science is not about truth. It is merely a statement of inference. The only conditions are the empiricism of the data and the validity of the tools. (And the reliability and reproducibility of the results)
Interesting. This clever wordplay is so... clever.

I'm glad to learn that science is "merely" about inferences. Typical of a theist.

The word "truth" simply means that which we can verify to be accurate and "correct" given the tools we possess. Some "truths" are more certain than others.

"The earth is spheroid in shape" is absolutely true given the definitions of the words in that sentence.

Of course, to a mystic like you sam, "truth" or "ultimate truth" has some other meaning and can only be obtained explicitly without the application of reason (science).

All of you - read Fraggle's post carefully. Apologize for being a putz, and acknowledge his post as the truth. Which it is.
 
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