The scientific method
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04-02-2012, 10:05 PM
RE: The scientific method
(03-02-2012 06:42 AM)Luminon Wrote:  
(02-02-2012 12:01 AM)Starcrash Wrote:  We're always trying to improve it when we discover yet another mistake. Bias ruins findings? Double-blind studies! False positives? P > 0.05! We try to plug all the leaks, but the more we discover, the more we realize that truth is really, really hard to detect. But I doubt that we'll ever replace the scientific method itself. Like Dawkins said, if there was an allegedly better method, how could we even evaluate whether it works better except by testing it with the scientific method?
Yes, we will probably never abandon the scientific method. But we really need to help it in special cases. Scientific method can fail quite often, just because the technology is not yet good enough and when it is, there still remains prejudice against funding a particular research from the time when previous checks showed nothing due to weak technology.
When it comes to the unseen universe, some people may be of real help at detecting it, simply because that's what makes a part of our living equipment. The subtle body, I mean. Only then can be the scientific method applied, when there's some groundwork of subjective research.

"prejudice against funding... when previous checks showed nothing"? Are you speaking of Intelligent Design?

The reason that we don't do this is because it's beating a dead horse. If we found something to be untrue before, it's still likely to be untrue when revisited. I can't think of an example of a scientific idea that has been killed off and then resurrected, except perhaps Lamarckism... although it's still unlikely to be true even now that it has been revisited. In any case, it happens very rarely if it even does happen.

More importantly, although I will readily admit that the scientific method is flawed, I didn't say that it will always be broken. Why do you believe this is so? Are you looking for reasons to dismiss results found by using the scientific method? While it isn't perfect, it still remains the best method we have for detecting the truth. When people dismiss it, they don't provide alternatives that provide more reliable results. The reasons that we use to dismiss the claims of theists are the same reasons that theists themselves use to dismiss claims from worshipers of other gods --- worshipers who use the same methods of detecting their god, knowing his/her/their intentions, and proving their religion to be true. You can't simply write them off because you believe your religion to be true and theirs to be false. If they're using the same methods of proof (such as personal experience and 'miracles') you can't present yours as evidence and claim that theirs is not.

My girlfriend is mad at me. Perhaps I shouldn't have tried cooking a stick in her non-stick pan.
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07-02-2012, 04:07 AM
RE: The scientific method
(04-02-2012 04:49 PM)Chas Wrote:  But I am not trying to convince anyone of this.
What difference does it make? Let's say you try to convince anyone of this or seriously think about it. Just try to answer the question. Or say that you can't.

(04-02-2012 04:49 PM)Chas Wrote:  There is no physical evidence of the Higgs boson - just some mathematics - theoretical imagining. But enormous quantities of time, money, and effort are going into the search.
Enough people are convinced by the theory to support this because the rest of the consistent theory has been supported by evidence.
The same goes for the search for dark matter and dark energy. Some things in the current theory and some objective measurements don't seem to jibe.
And who can declare evidence as evidence? Who organizes time, who devotes money, who starts the discussion? And FSM help you if you manage to piss off a chief editor of a major scientific journal. There really should be some institute of appeasing sacrifices for that.

(04-02-2012 04:49 PM)Chas Wrote:  These examples aren't anything like trying to convince people of the reality of your internal states. You need to show that there is a problem with our understanding of reality and that you have a viable candidate explanation. Otherwise it is, as I said before, just like KC's beliefs based on his (internal) conversion experience.
Well, what was the problem when I tried to do so last time? What was wrong with James DeMeo and his whole laboratory plus associated research? That he is just one man, one lab, one interested group? That there is not enough peer reviews? And if there are peer reviews, then they don't count because they're from the same group of interested people? What if nobody else is competent enough? Looks like it all begins and ends with media, journals. If journals aren't favorable, then as if research would not exist.
It seems to me that the problem is more in internal politics and logistics of scientific community, than in evidence. And I've got no idea what to do about it. As long as there are money to look after and people on all sides who want them, there must be this rusty tap of academic community to restrict their flow.

(04-02-2012 04:49 PM)Chas Wrote:  P.S. You still haven't described your experience of this 'subtle world'.
Very well, if you insist. But I'll do so through personal messages. It will allow me more details.


(04-02-2012 10:05 PM)Starcrash Wrote:  "prejudice against funding... when previous checks showed nothing"? Are you speaking of Intelligent Design?
Hell, no! Forbid God... I mean, God forbid.

(04-02-2012 10:05 PM)Starcrash Wrote:  The reason that we don't do this is because it's beating a dead horse. If we found something to be untrue before, it's still likely to be untrue when revisited. I can't think of an example of a scientific idea that has been killed off and then resurrected, except perhaps Lamarckism... although it's still unlikely to be true even now that it has been revisited. In any case, it happens very rarely if it even does happen.
Yep, that's usually the case. But an idea doesn't have to be untrue, to be rejected. It may be controversial, unpopular, seemingly contradictory with something and forgotten. Scientists probably hesitate to touch ideas with bad history, for the fear it would negatively reflect on their professional image and funding. There was a discussion elsewhere in my other topic, the non-luminoferous ether. The Michelson-Morley experiment, the Silvertooth experiment and NASA. And many implications this kind of ether has, none of which have anything to do with Einstein's relativity.

(04-02-2012 10:05 PM)Starcrash Wrote:  More importantly, although I will readily admit that the scientific method is flawed, I didn't say that it will always be broken. Why do you believe this is so? Are you looking for reasons to dismiss results found by using the scientific method? While it isn't perfect, it still remains the best method we have for detecting the truth. When people dismiss it, they don't provide alternatives that provide more reliable results. The reasons that we use to dismiss the claims of theists are the same reasons that theists themselves use to dismiss claims from worshipers of other gods --- worshipers who use the same methods of detecting their god, knowing his/her/their intentions, and proving their religion to be true. You can't simply write them off because you believe your religion to be true and theirs to be false. If they're using the same methods of proof (such as personal experience and 'miracles') you can't present yours as evidence and claim that theirs is not.
For the record, I never claimed that the scientific method is broken. Only that it's flawed in some situations. No, I'm not looking for any reasons to reject results of scientific method, that's not the case. I'm looking for ways how to tell the scientific method what to look for, so it will be found.

Scientific method tends to take specific kinds of evidence as an input and gives out a specific output. "Solid" evidence in, solid results out. The evidence must be under your control and by exercising this control you perform repeated experiments in controlled circumstances. The evidence can't just disappear or walk away without your permission. Perhaps scientists take that for granted, but this is precisely why I think they focus on phenomena they can get under control and miss many which they can't pin down.

Yet, I've seen and otherwise perceived many very real strange phenomena, which were not under my control or only partially and therefore I would not be able to prove them with scientific method. However, some of them I might prove to someone else by a shared personal experience. Or prove that there is really something going on through MRI.
It's really a technical problem, our nerve system is a detecting instrument and in some individuals, in some ways, after some training, it is better at detecting certain phenomena than mechanical detectors we have today.
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07-02-2012, 10:03 AM (This post was last modified: 07-02-2012 10:08 AM by Chas.)
RE: The scientific method
(07-02-2012 04:07 AM)Luminon Wrote:  Scientific method tends to take specific kinds of evidence as an input and gives out a specific output. "Solid" evidence in, solid results out. The evidence must be under your control and by exercising this control you perform repeated experiments in controlled circumstances. The evidence can't just disappear or walk away without your permission. Perhaps scientists take that for granted, but this is precisely why I think they focus on phenomena they can get under control and miss many which they can't pin down.

Yet, I've seen and otherwise perceived many very real strange phenomena, which were not under my control or only partially and therefore I would not be able to prove them with scientific method. However, some of them I might prove to someone else by a shared personal experience. Or prove that there is really something going on through MRI.
It's really a technical problem, our nerve system is a detecting instrument and in some individuals, in some ways, after some training, it is better at detecting certain phenomena than mechanical detectors we have today.

You have set up a 'strawman' scientific method that doesn't exist. The scientific method does not take solid evidence as input - it takes hypotheses as input.
(07-02-2012 04:07 AM)Luminon Wrote:  
(04-02-2012 04:49 PM)Chas Wrote:  But I am not trying to convince anyone of this.
What difference does it make? Let's say you try to convince anyone of this or seriously think about it. Just try to answer the question. Or say that you can't.

Huh? My point is that you are making the claims, not I; you need to provide evidence, not I.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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07-02-2012, 03:36 PM
RE: The scientific method
(07-02-2012 10:03 AM)Chas Wrote:  You have set up a 'strawman' scientific method that doesn't exist. The scientific method does not take solid evidence as input - it takes hypotheses as input.
Maybe, it depends on how you look at it. The evidence decides which hypotheses are picked up for the scientific method to test.

(07-02-2012 10:03 AM)Chas Wrote:  Huh? My point is that you are making the claims, not I; you need to provide evidence, not I.
This particular point was about providing evidence to yourself, regardless or in spite of the world. Is there such a thing as personal evidence? Or do you need to prove everything to the whole world before you allow yourself to be convinced? What makes an evidence objective, its existence, accessibility or global popularization through scientific journals?
Don't tell me that never once in your life a dog didn't eat your homework. Proverbially or literally. Just a little philosophy, c'mon.
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07-02-2012, 04:25 PM
RE: The scientific method
(07-02-2012 03:36 PM)Luminon Wrote:  
(07-02-2012 10:03 AM)Chas Wrote:  You have set up a 'strawman' scientific method that doesn't exist. The scientific method does not take solid evidence as input - it takes hypotheses as input.
Maybe, it depends on how you look at it. The evidence decides which hypotheses are picked up for the scientific method to test.

I think you are talking about what gets funded vs. what is the scientific method.

Quote:
(07-02-2012 10:03 AM)Chas Wrote:  Huh? My point is that you are making the claims, not I; you need to provide evidence, not I.
This particular point was about providing evidence to yourself, regardless or in spite of the world. Is there such a thing as personal evidence? Or do you need to prove everything to the whole world before you allow yourself to be convinced? What makes an evidence objective, its existence, accessibility or global popularization through scientific journals?
Don't tell me that never once in your life a dog didn't eat your homework. Proverbially or literally. Just a little philosophy, c'mon.

For me, evidence is evidence. I can tell the difference between that which I believe and that which has been shown to be true. No objective evidence doesn't mean I won't believe it, but I am not at all surprised that someone else doesn't or won't.

And I most certainly won't continue to try to convince anyone without presenting evidence. I would try to find evidence, possibly by convincing someone to fund the research necessary.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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07-02-2012, 07:50 PM
RE: The scientific method
(07-02-2012 04:25 PM)Chas Wrote:  For me, evidence is evidence.

Nah, not really. I mean you recognize the difference between plausible, suggestive, compelling, and irrefutable evidence.

(07-02-2012 04:25 PM)Chas Wrote:  I can tell the difference between that which I believe and that which has been shown to be true.

I've seen that done analytically. Don't see how it's possible empirically.

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07-02-2012, 08:23 PM
RE: The scientific method
(07-02-2012 07:50 PM)GirlyMan Wrote:  
(07-02-2012 04:25 PM)Chas Wrote:  For me, evidence is evidence.

Nah, not really. I mean you recognize the difference between plausible, suggestive, compelling, and irrefutable evidence.

Yes, there is stronger and weaker evidence, but internal emotional and mental states are not evidence.

Quote:
(07-02-2012 04:25 PM)Chas Wrote:  I can tell the difference between that which I believe and that which has been shown to be true.

I've seen that done analytically. Don't see how it's possible empirically.

Either one has evidence or one doesn't.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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07-02-2012, 08:25 PM
RE: The scientific method
(07-02-2012 08:23 PM)Chas Wrote:  
(07-02-2012 07:50 PM)GirlyMan Wrote:  
(07-02-2012 04:25 PM)Chas Wrote:  For me, evidence is evidence.

Nah, not really. I mean you recognize the difference between plausible, suggestive, compelling, and irrefutable evidence.

Yes, there is stronger and weaker evidence, but internal emotional and mental states are not evidence.

They sure as hell are if they can be properly observed.

(07-02-2012 08:23 PM)Chas Wrote:  Either one has evidence or one doesn't.

One always has anecdotal evidence.

As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.
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07-02-2012, 08:34 PM
RE: The scientific method
(07-02-2012 08:25 PM)GirlyMan Wrote:  
(07-02-2012 08:23 PM)Chas Wrote:  
(07-02-2012 07:50 PM)GirlyMan Wrote:  
(07-02-2012 04:25 PM)Chas Wrote:  For me, evidence is evidence.

Nah, not really. I mean you recognize the difference between plausible, suggestive, compelling, and irrefutable evidence.

Yes, there is stronger and weaker evidence, but internal emotional and mental states are not evidence.

They sure as hell are if they can be properly observed.

Yes, I should have been clearer. I meant things like KC's conversion or Luminon's feeling that there is something else.

Quote:
(07-02-2012 08:23 PM)Chas Wrote:  Either one has evidence or one doesn't.

One always has anecdotal evidence.

Anecdotes may be data, they are not evidence.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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07-02-2012, 09:09 PM (This post was last modified: 07-02-2012 09:12 PM by GirlyMan.)
RE: The scientific method
(07-02-2012 08:34 PM)Chas Wrote:  
(07-02-2012 08:25 PM)GirlyMan Wrote:  One always has anecdotal evidence.

Anecdotes may be data, they are not evidence.

"Sufficient" anecdotal data becomes anecdotal evidence, "sufficient" anecdotal evidence informs more serious examinations, .... You realize we're just dicking with each other now. Wink

As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.
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