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Charlie B
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 03/22/08

Loc: Sterling, Virginia
Is the Scientific Method dead?
      #6010082 - 08/06/13 06:40 PM

“The End of Theory: The Data Deluge Makes The Scientific Method Obsolete,” “correlation supercedes causation,”– Chris Anderson, editor-in-chief of Wired.

“With four parameters I can fit an elephant, and with five I can make him wiggle his trunk” – John von Neumann.

“Cancer causes smoking” – R. A. Fischer of Fischer’s linear discriminant (poss. apocryphal).

Here is Chris Anderson's article suggesting the scientific method is dead. I don't agree, but that may be because I'm a reactionary old man too well trained in the scientific method.

Regards,

Charlie B


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Jay_Bird
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 01/04/06

Loc: USA
Re: Is the Scientific Method dead? new [Re: Charlie B]
      #6010102 - 08/06/13 06:55 PM

Correlation still needs some framework, preferably "multiple working hypotheses"

I don't see it as the end of scientific method but instead a boost for empiricism; however some theory still is needed for understanding, what my favorite prof called 'intuitive conceptual grasp'.


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EJN
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 11/01/05

Loc: 53 miles west of Venus
Re: Is the Scientific Method dead? new [Re: Charlie B]
      #6010133 - 08/06/13 07:09 PM

Working in IT, I keep thinking of the phrase GIGO (garbage in garbage out).
Sure, the ability exists now to store and manipulate enormous amounts
of data. But is it meaningful and accurate data?


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llanitedave
Humble Megalomaniac
*****

Reged: 09/26/05

Loc: Amargosa Valley, NV, USA
Re: Is the Scientific Method dead? new [Re: EJN]
      #6010136 - 08/06/13 07:12 PM

It's still conjecture and refutation.

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Charlie B
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 03/22/08

Loc: Sterling, Virginia
Re: Is the Scientific Method dead? new [Re: llanitedave]
      #6010172 - 08/06/13 07:32 PM

I see that I'm not the only reactionary old man around.

Charlie B


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UND_astrophysics
sage


Reged: 01/19/13

Re: Is the Scientific Method dead? new [Re: Charlie B]
      #6010266 - 08/06/13 08:20 PM


Just glanced at the article... obviously written by someone who lacks a firm understanding of empiricism judging by the examples and comparisons he tried to use.


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derangedhermit
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 10/07/09

Loc: USA
Re: Is the Scientific Method dead? new [Re: UND_astrophysics]
      #6010313 - 08/06/13 08:50 PM

Wired, although aging, is the epitomy of the tech hype machine as money maker. This article seems to have succeeded to the extent it got a post here, but failed in my case when I visited their site due to my ad and tracker strippers. The page barely runs when those are blocked, by they way.

It would make as much sense to spend time considering this from Wired as if it were from the Watchtower or DC Comics.


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UND_astrophysics
sage


Reged: 01/19/13

Re: Is the Scientific Method dead? new [Re: derangedhermit]
      #6010320 - 08/06/13 08:55 PM

Quote:



It would make as much sense to spend time considering this from Wired as if it were from the Watchtower or DC Comics.





.
.
.


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Otto Piechowski
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 09/20/05

Loc: Lexington, KY
Re: Is the Scientific Method dead? new [Re: UND_astrophysics]
      #6010357 - 08/06/13 09:23 PM

What is the connection between vast amounts of data and the scientific method? Wouldn't the method be the same if only a few data points were considered or many more data points?

Otto


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Rick Woods
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 01/27/05

Loc: Inner Solar System
Re: Is the Scientific Method dead? new [Re: Otto Piechowski]
      #6010526 - 08/06/13 10:56 PM

Yeah, but it's more, innit?

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llanitedave
Humble Megalomaniac
*****

Reged: 09/26/05

Loc: Amargosa Valley, NV, USA
Re: Is the Scientific Method dead? new [Re: Otto Piechowski]
      #6010698 - 08/07/13 01:01 AM

Quote:

What is the connection between vast amounts of data and the scientific method? Wouldn't the method be the same if only a few data points were considered or many more data points?

Otto




Yep.


BTW, I've pretty much renounced "The Scientific Method" as being a formal stepwise heuristic. Popper did that much for me. I've taken the title of one of his compilations, "Conjectures and Refutations" as being perfectly adequate to describe the process of scientific exploration. I like that you can also apply it pretty much universally, to any attempt at gaining knowledge on any level. (I don't necessarily agree with everything he has to say about what is important in scientific discovery, but I do like his summation of it.)


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Charlie B
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 03/22/08

Loc: Sterling, Virginia
Re: Is the Scientific Method dead? new [Re: derangedhermit]
      #6010958 - 08/07/13 07:41 AM

Quote:

It would make as much sense to spend time considering this from Wired as if it were from the Watchtower or DC Comics.




Careful! I grew up on DC Comics.

Charlie B


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Otto Piechowski
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 09/20/05

Loc: Lexington, KY
Re: Is the Scientific Method dead? new [Re: llanitedave]
      #6011039 - 08/07/13 09:00 AM

Dave,

What does "formal stepwise heuristic" mean?

Otto


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derangedhermit
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 10/07/09

Loc: USA
Re: Is the Scientific Method dead? new [Re: Charlie B]
      #6011784 - 08/07/13 04:19 PM

Quote:

Careful! I grew up on DC Comics.

Charlie B




If it had come from them back then, there would have been good illustrations. Honest entertainment, not disguising itself.


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llanitedave
Humble Megalomaniac
*****

Reged: 09/26/05

Loc: Amargosa Valley, NV, USA
Re: Is the Scientific Method dead? new [Re: Otto Piechowski]
      #6012416 - 08/07/13 09:22 PM

Quote:

Dave,

What does "formal stepwise heuristic" mean?

Otto




"Formal" may have been too strong a word, since there is some variation in how the steps are defined. The basic sequence that I was taught in elementary school is roughly this:

1. Make an observation about something that happens.
2. Question how it happened
3. Create a hypothesis to explain what is going on as an answer to the question.
4. Conduct an experiment to see if your hypothesis was right.
5. Make a conclusion from the results of the experiment
6. Profit!!!

More generally, something along those lines still goes on, but the process is actually pretty fluid. The Conjectures and Refutations approach is more like:

1. Consider some system that affects the world.
2. Propose a conjectural hypothesis attempting to explain that system or some part of it.
3. Attempt to refute that hypothesis, through logic, experiment, historical records, or any other means that might seem appropriate. Attack it as deeply and forcefully as possible.
4. If the conjecture survives all attempts at refutation, it may be provisionally accepted. Otherwise, it must be either rejected or modified.

Step 3 is not really a step per se, since here is no time limit on refutation. An idea may survive every prior attempt at a refutation, but when new tools and concepts appear, those can be applied to attack the idea from a different angle. Thus, there is no real "conclusion" in any sense of closure -- it's always subject to future attempts at falsification. Unlike the steps we learned in school, this one doesn't give you neatly tied up ends to your theories. It's always a "what have you done for me lately" situation.

This approach works not only for science, but just about every tangible problem category I can think of.


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derangedhermit
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 10/07/09

Loc: USA
Re: Is the Scientific Method dead? new [Re: llanitedave]
      #6012626 - 08/07/13 10:51 PM

The notion that the process is linear or synchronous is obviously an oversimplification. People don't even make dinner in such a regimented fashion.

(Unordered list, can occur simultaneously or in any order.)
- Collect data about some part of reality. The data collection must be repeatable by other parties.
- Create or modify a model that describes some part of reality. The model must contain statements that can be compared to collectible data.
- Compare an existing model to existing data; if it is the model, or one of the models, that best matches the data, then note it as such, until it isn't.

Sometimes the data collectors get ahead of the theorists.
Sometimes the theorists get ahead of the data collectors.

Logic isn't enough.


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Otto Piechowski
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 09/20/05

Loc: Lexington, KY
Re: Is the Scientific Method dead? new [Re: llanitedave]
      #6012850 - 08/08/13 02:26 AM

Thank you Dave. That was clear and helpful.

Otto


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GregLee1
professor emeritus


Reged: 07/21/13

Loc: Waimanalo, HI
Re: Is the Scientific Method dead? new [Re: Otto Piechowski]
      #6018341 - 08/10/13 10:58 PM

The author would have profited from reading Braithwaite's Scientific Explanation, which distinguishes between model, essentially a data summary, and theory, which explains something to us. Science is not about summarizing facts, but about understanding them.

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Rick Woods
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 01/27/05

Loc: Inner Solar System
Re: Is the Scientific Method dead? [Re: llanitedave]
      #6019234 - 08/11/13 03:13 PM

Quote:

6. Profit!!!




You're watching too much South Park, Dave.


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llanitedave
Humble Megalomaniac
*****

Reged: 09/26/05

Loc: Amargosa Valley, NV, USA
Re: Is the Scientific Method dead? [Re: Rick Woods]
      #6019737 - 08/11/13 09:12 PM

I've never, ever seen South Park, not even once.

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