Is the scienctific method infallible?
Like many ancient religions modern scientists regard their methods to be infallible. Is this the right attitude?
Typo: scientific. Oops my mistake. These phones are so small.
Oz expressed an interest in the "fallible bits." Here's one: Black Holes. The BH hypothesis is based upon earlier work in Relativity,. However, aside from numerous BH CANDIDATES, there's little PHYSICAL evidence that these beasties actually exist.
this shows fallibility of conjecture based on theories, not of the experimental scientific method.
Can we at least agree that keyboards are not infallible?
no method is infallible, but the scientific method is reliable, in that, if it used correctly, reliable information is likely to result. especially true if one includes reproducibility in the equation. one can't say the same for ancient religions.
"Like many ancient religions modern scientists regard their methods to be infallible."
This is an invalid generalization. If you had said ". . . some tenth-rate modern scientists . . ." then we could have had a better discussion.
In the PHYSICAL sciences, most interesting ideas are regarded as tentative. When new evidence contradicts fashionable ideas, REAL scientists go back to the drawing boards. One elegant experiment can trump 5000 'empty suits' who attempt to defend orthodoxy (as well as their 'research' funding).
And yes, this does happen. People who have 'magic' initials after their names, sometimes act like effing lawyers and theologians.
The Al Gores of this world, who say, "The science is settled," don't have the foggiest idea what physical science is all about.
Most of the time, physical scientists investigate, attempt to explain their experimental results, refrain from making sweeping claims, and also refrain from scaring children with half-baked horror stories.
On the other hand, mathematicians prove stuff. I am a scientist (analytical chemistry), as well as an amateur mathematician. I have a novel, easy-to-understand proof for a weak version of Benford's Law of first digits. Unlike most scientific theories, my proof cannot be falsified by experimental data.
Have fun trying to find a flaw in my reasoning. But you won't, because you can't. I even have a hub about it.
Before I start I don't know if religion and the scientific method are comparable.
Religion is a collection of beliefs and rituals that relate to or explain humanity and the world.
The scientific method is a body of tools that are used to explain a phenomenon through an iterative process reviewing the evidence.
Scientific method is used to find an answer. Religion is a belief of an answer. Both could lead you to a right or wrong conclusion but they are not the same thing.
The Scientific method is a logical approach to better understand a phenomenon or problem. However while the approach at face value makes sense the application of the methodology is not infallible. To be honest, it is largely a factor of the design of the experiment and the analysis of the results and the results drawn from it.
This is because we do not necessarily understand all the variables and controls. Plus, even with a good experiment it may be hard to distinguish between a correlation or causation.
For example, say I wanted to see the effects of light on tomato plants fruit output. I use the same soil, the same type seeds, same fertilizer, and same amount of water. I may think that I have a good experiment, but I did not control temperature or humidity which are two factors not discussed among other things. Plus the bulbs are close to the plants and give off heat. I may think that added light is affecting the plants when really it is the heat from the bulb that is causing them to wilt. If one does not catch that, they will make potentially the wrong conclusion. Alternatively, if the humidity is high and the plants don't pollinate you may not be able to make a conclusion at all. At which point, one is stuck with figuring out what the missing variable is. Because if this, it is critical that experiments are able to be replicated consistently to give better assurances.
That being said, the scientific theory helps bound things. If someone, did do an experiment and got an inconsistent result then it helps them see there is a gap. Without it, trying to pinpoint the relationship between variables is very difficult.
Overall, the scientific method is not infallible but it is a pretty good tool.
One of the "fallible bits" that Hawking agrees with is the Incompleteness Theorem of Kurt Godel which proves science can never answer all questions. It can only shed some light on a limited amount of infinite questions.
That may be true, but the 'light' that it can shed is considerable and should not simply be dismissed by religious persons who 'believe' something different. Not using our brains is an insult to God, also.
Oz mentioned the Incompleteness Theorem vis-à-vis science. Actually, the theorem applies only to mathematics. Although mathematics is very useful in the physical sciences, mathematics is a different breed of cat.
I don't think modern science regards their methods to be infallible, at all. As someone basically said in here, scientific methods are used to try hypothesis and/or prove theories.
Just because science has 'proven' a few things against 'some religious dogma' - such as evolution over creationism; does not mean that their methods are infallible.
When science [seems] to contradict a religious belief; it should be considered instead of dismissed - simply because 'scripture' can be interpreted in so many ways. We should not be afraid to confront those beliefs to make sure they are valid when science 'seems' to put a hole in things.
God is not afraid of our questions - at all.
As Bill Nye the Science Guy said before debating Hen Hamm the creationist on evolution: "I will remind Kentucky voters (all voters, I would hope) that this is a serious issue and that it is inappropriate to include creationism as an alternative to ... the body of knowledge and the process called science."
Science and religion should go hand in hand - because God is the center of both. Separating them and putting one above the other is just a bad idea. God gave us a brain for a reason.
And don't blow people like Al Gore off who believe in the concerning science surrounding the damage being done to the environment. WE 'news readers' cannot possibly know what is going on in that situation when there are so many lobbiest and greedy people in general who put money over the good of the many.
For such a futuristic tragedy, it deserves to be considered. And really, is there anything wrong with cleaning up the environment and changing our trashy ways?
There is always going to be a distinguishable difference between scientists and religion. Here is the thing though all of the science in the Bible is true even though it is certainly not a science book. Great hub Oz!
All of the science in the bible is true? That is an untrue statement - just 1 link: http://debunkingchristianity.blogspot.c … unked.html Do your research, don't just 'accept' what you have been taught.
I agree with you for the most part until the end. You make the same false argument for man-caused global warming by adding the environment to the mix. One can be a skeptic of climate change and still protect our environment. AGW science is flawed.
That is good to hear, Jack. I've met people who throw absolutely everything away without even sort of trying to recycle it - because they are 'fed up' with global warming 'lies'. "WE did not cause this situation." It is like they take it personally.
I think any real scientist would fully embrace a better method
Scientists can't even figure out the atomic world and they have been trying since Rutherford and Einstein. Only 5% of the universe consists of matter as we know it, the rest consists of dark matter and dark energy.
I would say infallible is a pretty strong word to use under the circumstances.
Although when pitted against religion, science wins hands down.
So we agree that science is fallible. Religion is s different question for a different topic. This question is about science only
Dark matter is real ? Many people including scientists think it is a figment of scientists imagination.
integrater: It is an unknown part of the Universe, hence the name "dark matter". Nobody knows what it is, but we do know that it is there.
@ Mridul .
No we don't. Dark matter is hypothetical .
Yes it is hypothetical. Like I said, what we know is that we don't know. We know that matter and energy inhabits only 5% of the Universe. Rest is speculation.
Religion and science are two very different things. Religion helps people to understand the spiritual world. Science deals with the physical world. Science has made mistakes because humans are fallible. This occurs much to the joy of tort lawyers around the world. Science is constantly changing as new things are learned. Scientific methods are also changing. This is the way of science. I would say scientific methods are fallible because they are constantly being changed, refined and upgraded.
The Scientific method is sound, it is the people who try to use it to prove one thing or another that is fallible. Religion is based on supernatural events and therefore not part of the scientific realm. That does not mean it is wrong or inaccurate. A good example of science infallibility is Climate Change. Scientist who believes in AGW are doing great science. They can see all the effects of global warming and write all kinds of papers and draw all kinds of conclusions. However, they fail to connect the cause to the effect. The causes of global warming are many. To attribute most of it to man is where the science went wrong in my opinion. Once that mistake is crossed, all others become "a blind belief" or religious faith. No matter what evidence is presented to the contrary, they are fully committed. If their models don't pan out, it is not the theory that is wrong but the data... thus they need to manipulate the data to produce the desired outcome.
The scientific method is "sound" but is it infallible? The general consensus here is no.
Oztinato, I have yet to see anyone but you say that science believes itself (I guess) to be infallible. Where has anyone in Science ever said that? Has 'science' proven something that you simply cannot accept with regards to your religion?
it is strongly implied in hubs to be the case. Even here we see statements implying infallibility if it wasn't for human error. Shades of HAL.
I would be careful when using Hubs to represent communities outside of this website, especially academics. HubPages is full of biased, uninformed nonsense. Not exclusively of course
Oz. This is like saying a hammer is fallible. If you use a hammer correctly you can nail a fence. If you use it incorrectly you can hurt your hand or worse & on its own you can't build a house. The scientific method is similar....
I have to disagree as scientists are making a lot of claims about their scientific tools that are infinitely more complex than a basic hammer. We are being asked to have faith in science as a panacea for all ills.
Science has done more for civilization in the past 150 years than everything that came before it.
Same old question but with exciting challenges! the answer is Yes, it's in the manner how we use the scientific method that makes science unscientific, Science is a dynamic field is not static. What is true today may be obsolete tomorrow. as science "answer" the Question, more questions is generated and answers to be questioned. The scientific method is a set of questions that will guide the scientist in his/her quest for an answer to a particular problem. For instance, the first question is: What is the PROBLEM? Is the problem relevant? There is no need for you to invent the wheel when it was already invented long time ago.Once the problem was formulated- your objectives? , the second question is: What has been done along this field? Literature search.The next is the methodology. the third question: What will be your methodology? and this varies whether you are into animal, plant, or human research. This is the stage where you craft to answer your objectives! Now you are set to a scientific quest- the gathering of data. the fourth question: What are the data to be gathered? Is it relevant? what about sample size, who are your target subjects? Assuming that you have the data, the fifth question is: How do you fleece out the information from your data? of course these had been set already in your methodology- an appropriate program for statistical analysis. Now you have the results. The fifth question is: How do you interpret your results? Take the affirmative view ? or the Alternative view? In statistics, if you accept the affirmative (Ho: the null hypothesis) when, in fact, it is false, then your committing the Type 1 ERROR! If you accept the alternative hypothesis (Ha: the alternative hypothesis) and reject the affirmative when, in fact, it is false, then you are committing the Type II ERROR! You see nothing is wrong with the scientific method, it's how we use it. Errors may come in every stage of scientific enquiry if we are not careful, the errors of experimentation! that makes science unscientific.The is no conflict between Science and Religion your Creator endowed you with knowledge and wisdom, to discern what is true or false. Decide!
Have you seen 2001:A Space Odyssey? We now have AI tech ready to apply the scientific method for us but we have leading scientists saying this will end human civilisation! So what went wrong with the scientific method?
Hello, Oz. Dr Jennifer Marohasy has begun to use off-the-shelf AI software for seasonal weather forecasting in Queensland, Australia. This will end human civilization because . . . Or were you concerned about some other application of AI?
I can only refer you to Stephen Hawking etc for their views on the infallibility of science re advanced AI.
AI is probably an inevitable step in our evolution
Good theory, until proven to be true? various predictions about the end of the world have been made, but we are still here! The word "Scientific Methods" per see is inanimate, but once you factor in humans it come to life, the quest for truth?
No. As long as you have humans in the mix. You can never claim that.
Look at the Hubble Telescope fiasco.
Not at all. It is just one of the most discreet approaches to a problem. In today's world previously established scientific facts are being challenged and changed all the time.
You're right, that's the beauty of science- what is true today may be obsolete tomorrow?, Yes, because science is dynamic, not static, but the point here is what make science unscientific-Check scientific methods ?
I think this is one of the "fallible bits": the impermanence and errors. Things like Thalidomide, Atomic Energy, Industry etc have caused huge damage to humanity but we still get scientists saying they can fix it.
No, it's not. Science has failed us through the years. First, they said that we came from monkeys. Then, they said that we came from underwater creatures. Finally, they said that we came from bacteria from lava on Earth. To me, that sounds suspicious.
We are a type of primate that evolved over tens of thousands of years. As for the rest, its part of the formation of life. You make it sound like scientists keep offering a new story. The core remains the same, new facets continued to be discovered.
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