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The Scientific method

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OHA
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« on: March 25, 2009, 07:54:22 AM »

Scientific Method [From: http://deborahdrapper.com/]

1.   State the problem.
2.   Research the problem (research, observation, experimentation).
3.   Formulate a hypothesis.
4.   Test the hypothesis (experimentation).
5.   Formulate a theory (general principle).
6.   Communicate the results.

After the accumulation of sufficient information or data a scientist may make a generalization which is called a Hypothesis. If more observations confirm his hypothesis then this becomes a Theory. If this theory is unchallenged and consistently supports the facts it will then, after much time has passed, become a scientific Law.
If, however, any observation (even though seemingly trivial) conflicts with his hypothesis, the scientist is left with two major alternative: 1. He has to discard his hypothesis and search for another, or 2. He has to attempt to find a plausible explanation for what he observed in accord to his hypothesis.

Feel free to check out the above mentioned website as there are other evolutionists, skeptics and Atheists and even Christians commenting. And since I appear to be the only Christian on this site, maybe you could get more answers there as well. Keep well.

Ps. a question I saw there and repeat here:
Quote
"is it not true that some things can’t be scientifically explained and quantified, such as love, hate, hope, emotions etc.? A person has 27% love, 2kg.hope etc.? Oversimplified, I know, but hopefully you get the point.

Also - with the laws like like law of gravity etc. does that not point to a Lawgiver? When humans create/pass laws such as don’t cross a red light, we know humans/society created/passed that law."
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Mefiante
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« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2009, 08:58:21 AM »

Ps. a question I saw there and repeat here:
Quote
"is it not true that some things can’t be scientifically explained and quantified, such as love, hate, hope, emotions etc.? A person has 27% love, 2kg.hope etc.? Oversimplified, I know, but hopefully you get the point.

Also - with the laws like like law of gravity etc. does that not point to a Lawgiver? When humans create/pass laws such as don’t cross a red light, we know humans/society created/passed that law."
Allow me to answer both questions, each with a question:
  • What makes you think that anything more than physical brain states, extremely complex though they may be and as mediated by neurochemistry, is required to account for the explanation of emotions, etc.?
  • Who or what decreed the particular law that says laws require a lawgiver?

You should try to work out the logical implications for a creator, especially of the second question.  They are not flattering.

'Luthon64
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bluegray
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« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2009, 11:25:31 AM »

Oh no! There are so many good web pages to learn about science and evolution. Deborah Drapper's blog is not one of them I'm afraid. Even if she thinks she understands the scientific method, she is woefully ignorant of its application. Statements like:
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I believe that Creation and Evolution are both in the same category. Neither can be experimentally tested, neither is falsifiable, neither is a scientific theory, neither is or was observable, both are postulates and models which may be used to explain the evidence. The question to be answered is simply, which model does the better job of explaining the evidence? To which I believe that the creation model has a higher statistical probability of being correct.
from a recent post, is just plain not true. No matter how hard she believes in it.

And why can't love be quantified? You probably won't express it in units of mass or percentages, but you still know when someone loves you a lot or a little.
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Sentinel
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« Reply #3 on: March 25, 2009, 11:57:59 AM »

Just like with evolution, I am under the impression that creationists either deliberately make up their own definition and interpretation of the scientific method, or they just don't understand it.

Regardless. The versions they pose is absurd, which explains the controversy.

What supports the "model" of creation?

OHA, Please state (as per you own post): Research, observations, experimentation and results of tests.

I'm not trying to push you in a corner. I sincerely would like to have some of my concerns addressed, but people making claims always skirt the issue when the such claims are questioned.
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scienceteacheragain
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« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2009, 07:36:07 AM »

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After the accumulation of sufficient information or data a scientist may make a generalization which is called a Hypothesis. If more observations confirm his hypothesis then this becomes a Theory. If this theory is unchallenged and consistently supports the facts it will then, after much time has passed, become a scientific Law.
This is absolutely false. A theory NEVER becomes a law. 
And, this again demonstrates why many people like to say "just a theory" as if it is somehow less certain to be correct.  A scientific theory is actually more useful than a law, generally, as it explains things where a law simply describes a very specific set of observations.  Laws often support theories, but the two are not two points on the same continuum.  Furthermore, "much time" is not a prerequisite for theories or laws to be accepted.
Your post does illustrate how many people STILL do not understand what a theory is.
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Rigil Kent
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« Reply #5 on: March 29, 2009, 07:54:45 AM »

Must admit that I was also under the impression that a theory will become a law if it is supported by overwhelming observation and demonstrates awsome powers of prediction. Take Newton's first law of motion for instance: a mass will continue moving along a straight line at constant velocity unless yadda yadda. Would this statement then be the law, and the explanation of why the law works the way it does be the theory? Or are both theory?

Mintaka
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scienceteacheragain
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« Reply #6 on: March 29, 2009, 08:46:12 AM »

If you look at your example, it is an observation of a something specific (movement of a particular kind).  It can be stated as a mathematical equation which is also indicative of a law. I found a link with a (hopefully) useful explanation over at ScienceBlogs.com:
http://scienceblogs.com/evolvingthoughts/2009/02/laws_theories_and_models.php  There are a couple of things I think he could have illustrated better, but overall I think it is good.
I also re-read my own post above and it comes across as harsh, so I wanted to clarify: 
Quote
Your post does illustrate how many people STILL do not understand what a theory is.

I meant this toward websites or books or anywhere else that attempts to educate people on the matter, and was not pointed at OHA directly.  I do not believe it is necessary for every person to fully understand theories, laws, etc., and how they fit together.  However, when discussing or debating things like evolution, or especially when politics intersect with education, it is necessary to have at least a working knowledge (and preferably more than that) to have have a proper dialogue.  I DO believe everyone should understand that a scientific theory is not any idea on shaky ground, but the "Big Dog" with regard to scientific explanation.
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Rigil Kent
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« Reply #7 on: March 29, 2009, 09:59:27 AM »

A link worth reading. Thanks Stix.

Mintaka

P.S. Are you biking yet? Have a book here that says Utah has some of the most scenic motorcycle routes in the States, and illustrates with spectacular photographs. You only need to cross New Mexico to get there man!
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OHA
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« Reply #8 on: April 05, 2009, 10:10:15 AM »

Thank you all for the responses:

First of all is there a objective, not-confusable definition as to what constitutes the Scientific method, what a theory is/or isn't, what a law is?

Quote
OHA, Please state (as per you own post): Research, observations, experimentation and results of tests.

I'm not trying to push you in a corner. I sincerely would like to have some of my concerns addressed, but people making claims always skirt the issue when the such claims are questioned.


Is this with regards to Christianity, my faith or how I view Science? Upon further clarificaiton, I will do so to the best of my abilities.

Thank you and keep well.
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Sentinel
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« Reply #9 on: April 05, 2009, 11:24:31 AM »

Is this with regards to Christianity, my faith or how I view Science?

It appears that you hold religious views concerning science. That's why I asked.

In your post you mentioned the fact that you are a Christian. You also mentioned...
Quote
...evolutionists, skeptics and Atheists and even Christians...

Why mention religious views in a post about the scientific method if it does not affect or even prescribe your judgement?
« Last Edit: April 05, 2009, 15:46:52 PM by Sentinel » Logged
Rigil Kent
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« Reply #10 on: April 05, 2009, 11:27:35 AM »

Quote
First of all is there a objective, not-confusable definition as to what constitutes the Scientific method, what a theory is/or isn't, what a law is?

Good question. The article linked to by Stix answers most this, but more in an exlplanatory fashion. I think in general there is a real need for Collins Concise (short,simple, clear) definitions that is geared towards lay interpretation, and will not futher add to confusion.  When it comes to science a lot of definitions seems overly jargonny, but this is mostly nescesary as I've recently learned elsewhere on this forum.

I will further investigate this theory and law thing, and maybe we can decide on something workably robust but still easily understandable.

Ostensibly technical definitions for everyday things will prolly still be around for a long time.

Delta Orionis
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Mefiante
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« Reply #11 on: April 05, 2009, 12:37:15 PM »

The scientific method is used to arrive at a scientific theory.  A scientific theory will invoke one or more laws of nature, even if that invocation is implicit.

For example, special relativity followed from the observation that Maxwell’s equations were not invariant under Galilean transformation.  That’s a fancy technical way of saying that electromagnetism seemed to behave differently, depending on whether (and how fast) you were moving while making observations.  Einstein hypothesised that Newton’s laws of motion remained valid.  Based on a rigorous mathematical analysis of the problem, he arrived at two postulates (I. The laws of nature take the same form in every inertial frame of reference, and II. The speed of light is the same in all inertial frames).  Postulate II is now generally regarded as a law of nature because we have yet to find any counterexample.  Einstein worked out the physical consequences of these postulates and arrived at special relativity.  Many different experiments and observations confirmed those consequences, and special relativity became a scientific theory, later to be subsumed as a special case under general relativity.

The italicised and underlined terms highlight the essential ingredients, while the narrative shows the interplay among method, law and theory as these apply in the context of science.

'Luthon64
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Armando
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« Reply #12 on: April 07, 2009, 19:37:44 PM »

Hi there! I'm sure you're right, although to make 100% sure I would have to look it up, provided I can find it. Still, a theory is the product of a lot of thought and experimentation and is usually a new way of explaining a process but is as yet not proven beyond the shadow of a doubt and under all and any circumstances. A law (of nature), on the other hand, is the way nature invariably and without exception reacts to any action imposed on it. The former is usually ascribed to "thought experiments" and is debtable (and debated at length), while the latter is visible immediately upon infringement.
Armando.
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Rigil Kent
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« Reply #13 on: April 07, 2009, 20:31:08 PM »

Here is what I understand from the posts and references given above so far:

Observation - any phenomenon that humans can directly or indirectly perceive.

Law - a rule that infallibly applies to nature wether or not it is being contemplated by humans.

Hypothesis - a proposed explanation for an observation.
 
Theory - a hereto unfalsified hypothesis.

Scientific method - the process of attempting to falsify a hypothesis.

Mintaka
« Last Edit: April 08, 2009, 09:49:34 AM by Mintaka » Logged
Rigil Kent
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« Reply #14 on: May 06, 2009, 12:25:37 PM »

As Carl Sagan correctly said, the method of science is more important than the findings of science.

Mintaka
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