What is Science? (scratch the "does it exist?")

Discussions on the philosophical foundations, assumptions, and implications of science, including the natural sciences.

What is Science? (scratch the "does it exist?")

Postby Marshall on January 28th, 2015, 2:10 pm 

Have at it folks. The definite article THE caused confusion in the first discussion thread, as several people pointed out. It makes people think of the oversimplified prescriptions given in school textbooks. I think there was general agreement that we don't have a unique universally accepted abstract description of how science proceeds that you can boil down into some words and say this is THE scientific method.

So I've restarted the discussion without the definite article.

===EDIT after some illuminating comment by Neuro and Mtb===
neuro » Thu Jan 29, 2015 4:55 am wrote:I much appreciated mtb raising a key point already twice in this and the previous thread: rather than talking about method, lets talk about what is science (the rest will/may follow...)

I believe this is a central question today because of its social relevance (how people feel about news and theories that are presented them by the media), relevance in steering scientific research (peer reviews, publishing, funding criteria), cultural relevance (critical attitude of the attendance) and more.

I'd like to give my contribution on this.
In this perspective, I feel that today it is not appropriate to talk about science in general or even scientific research in general.

We have at least four kinds of “science” going on:
1 - data production (not necessarily driven by any kind of hypothesis or precise quest)
2 - technological development
3 - hypothesis generation and testing within the current paradigms
4 - groundbreaking paradigm-independent experimental activity.

These activities are based on quite different methodologies:
- activity 1 is mostly based on SOPs (standard operating procedures), validated protocols, rigor, precision, reproducibility
- activity 2 is self-validating (if things don't work...)
- in activity 3, hypothesis generation is limited to a specific range of hypotheses (compatible with current paradigms and postulates) and hypothesis generation has a major deductive component; designing critical experiments is mostly based on getting results that would make the tested hypothesis necessary within the framework of current paradigm (or contradicting hypotheses incompatible with current paradigms). In this activity results often appear more solid and uncontroversial than they are, because hypotheses often appear as necessary not due to the data but to the paradigms (and the data)
- activity 4 presumably is the one in which norms, other than rigor, attention, carefulness, lack of prejudice, open-mindedness and creativity, have little room. This actually is a mostly inductive activity, and certainly the less “teachable” through norms.

mtbturtle » Thu Jan 29, 2015 5:09 am wrote:the issue of "existence" is also a diversion more so than "THE".
Marshall
 


Re: Scientific methodology: does it exist?

Postby mtbturtle on January 28th, 2015, 2:39 pm 

that oversimplified prescriptions given in school textbooks is exactly what the vast majority of us have encountered and the only version also.

I don't think a new thread is needed and whatever confusion THE was cause had been sorted out.
User avatar
mtbturtle
Banned User
 
Posts: 9742
Joined: 16 Dec 2005


Re: Scientific methodology: does it exist?

Postby Marshall on January 28th, 2015, 2:54 pm 

I'm curious as to how it was sorted out, Mtb.

Most recently I saw a quote from Shermer's magazine to the effect that "THE scientific method" is a myth. Isn't that beating a dead horse, if it refers to what is found in school textbooks or dictionaries? It is sort of like saying Santa is a myth, or (as Wolfhnd said) George Washington chopping down the cherry tree.

If that is what our discussion was about then I think it was concluded with general agreement--the brief abstract prescription doesn't fit reality.
Marshall
 


Re: Scientific methodology: does it exist?

Postby Marshall on January 28th, 2015, 3:07 pm 

Anyway, let's make the experiment of omitting the THE and seeing how discussion goes.

In part it is a question about Science (the community, activity, tradition...). Is there a distinctive scientific methodology?
Can we attribute some of the success of science to that methodology?

In part it is a question of existence. It's not always clear what people mean when they say "Does X exist?"
Is it OK to talk about scientific methodology as if it is a real thing?
Whereas it is not OK to talk about Santa Claus in that way.

I think the other discussion (with THE) is essentially concluded. And I'd like to see how it goes without the article.
Marshall
 


Re: Scientific methodology: does it exist?

Postby Marshall on January 28th, 2015, 3:14 pm 

Here's Neuro's last post from the other thread. It raises the question of how we invent hypotheses (or discover possible explanations to test and try out). It also points out the distinction between matters of principle and matters of practice.

neuro » Wed Jan 28, 2015 11:09 am wrote:
AllShips » January 28th, 2015, 3:26 pm wrote:It certainly seems that hypothesis/theory generation is a creative, and not a methodical process.

Ships,
this is a bad of you!
Although in general I feel you are making a question of principle out of something that is much more relevant in practice than in theory, I got to appreciate more and more your rigor in argumenting.

But this!
please!

Hypothesis generation is by no means specific to "the scientific method", whatever this may mean.

Hypothesis generation is a fundamental, unavoidable, continuous activity of our mind.

You may give rules not to fool around in generating hypotheses (which I think is the closest thing to a scientific method, though sometimes fooling around has produced revolutionary changes in paradigm, which suggests that teaching not to fool around is ok to produce science in the current paradigm, whereas the rule to change paradigms is much simper, it is sufficient to be a genius, determined and brave),
but you certanly cannot give rules to teach how to generate hypotheses to somebody who does not know how to do it in face of any problematic aspect of reality
Marshall
 


Re: Scientific methodology: does it exist?

Postby mtbturtle on January 28th, 2015, 3:16 pm 

Marshall,

Sure it might seem trivial myths that no scientists or philosophers would take seriously until you stop and realize that this is the image of science 99% of us have.
User avatar
mtbturtle
Banned User
 
Posts: 9742
Joined: 16 Dec 2005


Re: Scientific methodology: does it exist?

Postby Marshall on January 28th, 2015, 3:25 pm 

I agree with Neuro's phrase "whatever this may mean". :^) the three words "the scientific method" is essentially a meaningless phrase and not worth discussing.

what is real, I think, are things like scientific communities, traditions, institutions, professional values and ethics.

And one of the things you can see in real life if you go visit, say, a microbiology lab at your local campus, is hypothesis formation.

So that's an interesting thing to examine, as Neuro does here. Is there something especially scientific about it?
Marshall
 


Re: Scientific methodology: does it exist?

Postby mtbturtle on January 28th, 2015, 3:32 pm 

then don't discuss it. I'm not sure why you all are hung up on "methods" when you can easily rephrase it as I did in the other thread in terms of what is science. perhaps that's not worth discussing either but for a philosophy of science forum it happens to be the central topic of concern.
User avatar
mtbturtle
Banned User
 
Posts: 9742
Joined: 16 Dec 2005


Re: Scientific methodology: does it exist?

Postby Marshall on January 28th, 2015, 3:34 pm 

" the image of science 99% of us have."I'm not sure the public IMAGE of a scientist is a fit topic for Philosophy of Science. It sounds more like sociology to me.
But I suppose one could guess that if 99% of people have an idea it might be an amalgam of Stephen Hawking, Richard Feynman, Einstein, what they see on Nova, and the sitcom serial The Big Bang.
Or is this wrong? Who can say? There is a lot of resentment against scientists.
Marshall
 


Re: Scientific methodology: does it exist?

Postby mtbturtle on January 28th, 2015, 3:37 pm 

The public image of Science (nor scientists) is a reason why the topic is generally important not why it belongs in PoS.
User avatar
mtbturtle
Banned User
 
Posts: 9742
Joined: 16 Dec 2005


Re: Scientific methodology: does it exist?

Postby Marshall on January 28th, 2015, 3:41 pm 

I just saw your post where you said the real question is "what is science?"
I like that shift in focus. I have been trying to say repeatedly that I think it is the community, the tradition, the ethics, the things you can see happening in real life.

Not some dictionary verbal prescription. Does anyone disagree?

traditional procedures, ways of settling disagreement, standards, etc that are maintained by this self-selecting self-regulating community. that is the ontology, what science IS, the evolving human (individual and social) activity
Marshall
 


Re: Scientific methodology: does it exist?

Postby mtbturtle on January 28th, 2015, 3:44 pm 

that's not going to help me distinguish between the Creationist community and the scientific communities.

I've long ago said there are no necessary and sufficient conditions for Science.
User avatar
mtbturtle
Banned User
 
Posts: 9742
Joined: 16 Dec 2005


Re: Scientific methodology: does it exist?

Postby Marshall on January 28th, 2015, 4:07 pm 

mtbturtle » Wed Jan 28, 2015 12:44 pm wrote:...there are no necessary and sufficient conditions for Science.


I agree! If you want to know what Science is, look at the people and activities that comprise it. What do they do? what do they value/publish? How do they select and evaluate members of their group? What ethical standards do they try to maintain? What traditions do they pass along to their next generation?

IOW if you want to know what it is, look at the people. Don't try to use verbal prescriptions, i.e. "necessary and sufficient conditions". As you point out, Mtb, there are none. :^)
Marshall
 


Re: Scientific methodology: does it exist?

Postby wolfhnd on January 28th, 2015, 6:04 pm 

There is something owleye posted I didn't get a chance to respond to.

And of course what you write is not a simplification.

The main difficulty I have with it is the lack of examples. Having examples is a way of simplifying an argument. If we can all agree that the example makes the point you are trying to make, we can skip a whole lot of verbiage. While you say that the 'scientific method' is an example, what you mean is that you are making it the target of the fallacy you wish to draw on in order to make your point. I'm not sure why you need to go all that formal. It's presumably easy enough to understand that something is being oversimplified simply by giving an example of where that occurs and, if necessary, why it's relevant. Similarly, if the rebuttal draws on an exaggeration, which you can point to. However, in both of these examples, you would have to make sure that everyone would agree that they are simplifications and exaggerations. And that's the rub. We would have to agree with you that there is a scientific method in which what is being exemplified can be compared to. And this is not something that you have done. You can only make a comparison with a target if it's not moving (unless of course you can track the movements).


Actually your right on every point here and I appreciate you taking the time to post it. Since the tread was split I'm not sure I'm interested in pursuing it. What your asking me to do however would require me to define the Scientific Method and I'm not ready to do that. I want to ferret it out a bit more. As far as I'm concerned the standard definition would do but that seems to be the major point of contention. It is what it has done not what it is that I see as important. With that in mind I may proceed or no? Marshall seems to think there is a problem.
wolfhnd
 


Re: Scientific methodology: does it exist?

Postby Marshall on January 28th, 2015, 7:09 pm 

Hi Wolfhnd, full speed ahead, if you want to define empiricism, or scientific methodology as useful fuzzy category, or THE scientific method! :^) You've had a lifelong career in applied science, i think. So you would, I guess, be drawing on your experience of scientists as people. How they approach questions, solve problems, what they value in their colleagues what they reward, as a community,and what they don't.

As you say, I do think there is a problem---I suspect it is impossible (at least at this stage in our species history) to give a VERBAL DESCRIPTION of the scientific process, even though it is real and recognizable as an activity, distinguishable from other. Methodologies (partly traditional like customs transmitted down the generations) form an important part of what makes it recognizable, it seems.

I would be delighted if you would formulate a verbal definition and if the next 5 people we ask agreed that it was right! I suspect it is not possible to get the majority of English speaking scientists to agree on a definition, or even the majority of all English speakers, but why don't you give it a try? Maybe we can get 5 people to agree to your definition.
Marshall
 


Re: Scientific methodology: does it exist?

Postby wolfhnd on January 28th, 2015, 7:18 pm 

Thanks Marshall but it will have to wait I just read through The Copernican Revolution and the Senses thread and my brain melted, if it recoagulates I will post something.
wolfhnd
 


Re: Scientific methodology: does it exist?

Postby Marshall on January 28th, 2015, 7:25 pm 

Heh heh,
I was just looking at What is Science, the talk by Richard Feynman that Mtbturtle posted at the top of PoS forum:
viewtopic.php?f=10&t=22886#p216407

great commonsense realistic take

maybe one of the distinguishing things about Feynman was his distrust of abstractions.

I would encourage any of us to take another look at the "what is science?" type stuff Mtb posted.
Marshall
 


Re: Scientific methodology: does it exist?

Postby doogles on January 29th, 2015, 6:44 am 

Marshall, I’m not sure that you haven’t opened a whole new can of worms in splitting “THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD’ (TSM) thread into a new branch. Like you, after mbturtle pointed it out, I formed the impression that the word ‘THE’ was the problem in TSM.

On 27th Jan, I posted three times after I’d spent a few days of googling ‘THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD’. In the first post I concluded that there is no universally-constant ‘Scientific Method’ as it is described at the start of childrens' web sites and as an introduction in textbooks on science; it is also used in conversation as an alternative to consensus, philosophical logic, religious dogma, myths and legends. We need an alternative term from 'The Scientific Method' to use in both conversation, and as a prelude to websites and text books to describe what scientists do.”

Later on the 27th, I posted “Why not just drop the 'The' and use something like scientific methods, scientific procedures, scientific processes, scientific investigation? I'm open to positive suggestions."

Later still on the 27th, in a response to Allships, I stated “I support you in the sense that there is no such consistent thing as THE Scientific Method, with an emphasis on 'THE'. But there are such things as scientific methods or methodologies.”

I had been virtually seeking some viewpoints as to alternative terms we could use other than TSM to fill the two gaps.

Marshall, you unilaterally chose the term ‘scientific methodologies’, which may turn out to be a suitable alternative, but it’s a tiny bit disappointing that there was not more discussion before the action. (Please accept this as a minor objective criticism because I generally hold you in high regard).

I notice that mbturtle would have preferred the discussion to go more in the direction of “What is Science?’, rather than ‘scientific methadologies’.

Apropos of finding a suitable substitute to TSM that would serve as an introductory term for school textbooks and as a conversational tool, in researching Google, as I described above, I came across a website called ‘Understanding Science’, controlled by the University of California Museum of Paleontology and its Advisory Boards, under a National Grant. http://undsci.berkeley.edu/article/0_0_ ... ceworks_02

Anyone who has posted in the TSM thread would have to be interested to see that TSM is dismissed as irrelevant in the first paragraph on this site, with explanations as to why. They then go on to describe what they call ‘the real Scientific Process’, plus much more. They present interactive graphics to show that there is no such thing as an accepted stepwise procedure and then they build up an excellent image of science and scientists.

Because these people are still a reputable part of the scientific community, maybe, Marshall, we could have used the term ‘scientific processes’ in line with their choice, rather than ‘scientific methodologies’.

Either choice, or any other choice for that matter, IMO would imply that this thread is no longer going to be a discussion of the philosophy of scientific processes or methodology, but more of a descriptive narrative of all of the processes or methods.

I notice that one or two posters have suggested that we need some practical examples of research in order to understand better what we are talking about. I believe that is outside the scope of POS. But if anyone would really like to hear about any practical and productive scientific studies or experiments in order to assess the philosophy involved, I would be only too happy to provide that information. I’ve had 30 or more papers published in grade A journals.
User avatar
doogles
Active Member
 
Posts: 1195
Joined: 11 Apr 2009
Location: BRISBANE


Re: Scientific methodology: does it exist?

Postby wolfhnd on January 29th, 2015, 6:53 am 

I'm beginning to agree with MTB that the problem isn't that scientist don't share a method (philosophy) but that they are incapable of making it appeal to non scientists. When scientist rejected metaphysics they rejected the way the vast majority of people think. It could be summed up as most people are more interested in what is, than how it works. Almost any explanation of how something came to be is acceptable to the general population as long as they are confident it is actually there. Science naturally conflicts with this confidence because it is a probabalist enterprise that inherent offers no certainties

Science thinks it has replaced god but people see that as just replacing one authoritarian regime based on traditions with another. People didn't lose faith in god because of science's appeal to reason they lost faith in god because they didn't need god anymore. The new god of human domination of nature replaced the old god of hope in a hopeless world. If science helped along the way to free people of the fear of a world of uncertainties it was appreciated but when it adds uncertainty it is rejected. People that are happy with uncertainty make good scientist but poor evangelist.
wolfhnd
 


Re: Scientific methodology: does it exist?

Postby wolfhnd on January 29th, 2015, 7:22 am 

Doogles: "Anyone who has posted in the TSM thread would have to be interested to see that TSM is dismissed as irrelevant in the first paragraph on this site, with explanations as to why."

Wonderful webpage and a great find.

The problem I have is that it still describes a process it just amounts to a more elaborate description. Your right however that changing the title from method to methodology forces us in the direction of elaboration. Elaboration alone however misses the whole point of uncovering the underlying philosophy of science. I agree with Marshall's intent to not continue a thread that requires that we rehash the entire philosophy of science but that was the problem with the original post as it left no alternative. My argument is that if there is no "method" then there can be no philosophy of science. The historical evidence suggest however that there is a "method" and that the fact that it cannot be formally expressed is irrelevant. Uncovering the underlying cultural changes that made science more successful than other approaches to natural history is how I would proceed. Ultimately it is as much a question of what the process is not than what it is. Many complications arise because culture both internally and externally of science is a messy business so some degree of simplification is unavoidable. For example the description that is offered in the linked page could be elaborated endlessly but the central questions never answered.
wolfhnd
 


Re: Scientific methodology: does it exist?

Postby wolfhnd on January 29th, 2015, 7:49 am 

I think I need to offer an analogy :-)

Take any question such as what caused and what could have prevented the French Revolution. I don't know no one does. But as owleye pointed out in philosophy we are not looking for ultimate explanations or defining the methods or processes so much as ferreting out by reflection some general contributing factors that we may agree on which turns out to be a continuous conversation. You could debate if philosophy has a "method" as easily as if science has one. The method as I have tried to explain lies not in the individual but in the traditions or culture of the practitioners.

MTB has tried to simplify the question of culture by reflecting how it is accepted or rejected by the general population which I suppose is as good a way to approach it as any other. As with science there is no prescribed method of how to proceed which of course doesn't mean every approach is equally valid.
Last edited by wolfhnd on January 29th, 2015, 7:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
wolfhnd
 


Re: Scientific methodology: does it exist?

Postby neuro on January 29th, 2015, 7:52 am 

I believe the problem is not whether we talk about “THE scientific method” or about “scientific methodology”.
In the other thread, Allships raised a scholarly, clear and precise question.
He/she pointed out that several philosophers have taken quite different positions about the possibility of norming the “scientific justification” of hypotheses / theories / beliefs or even the scientific hypothesis/theory formulation.

Since in this arena lovers of science and practical people (numerically) prevail on lovers of philosophy (I mean devote and respectful lovers), the discussion has been difficult, because most of us (me, certainly) cannot dismiss the (practical, cultural, political) relevance of a criterion to judge whether a theory / statement is to be considered “scientific”; we are certainly not willing to admit we have no criterion!.

Actually, I believe that all of us would agree that we have a number of criteria (often different for distinct disciplines) to judge scientific quality. These criteria might be summarized by the simple word “rigor”. [And, as in any other field of life, we may get to different conclusions, judgments and opinions about what is rigorous and what is not]
But this has nothing to do with the philosophical question whether there is / can be a set of norms to attribute scientific validity to a hypothesis generation or a hypothesis testing process.
User avatar
neuro
Forum Moderator
 
Posts: 2624
Joined: 25 Jun 2010
Location: italy


Re: Scientific methodology: does it exist?

Postby neuro on January 29th, 2015, 7:55 am 

I much appreciated mtb raising a key point already twice in this and the previous thread: rather than talking about method, lets talk about what is science (the rest will/may follow...)

I believe this is a central question today because of its social relevance (how people feel about news and theories that are presented them by the media), relevance in steering scientific research (peer reviews, publishing, funding criteria), cultural relevance (critical attitude of the attendance) and more.

I'd like to give my contribution on this.
In this perspective, I feel that today it is not appropriate to talk about science in general or even scientific research in general.

We have at least four kinds of “science” going on:
1 - data production (not necessarily driven by any kind of hypothesis or precise quest)
2 - technological development
3 - hypothesis generation and testing within the current paradigms
4 - groundbreaking paradigm-independent experimental activity.

These activities are based on quite different methodologies:
- activity 1 is mostly based on SOPs (standard operating procedures), validated protocols, rigor, precision, reproducibility
- activity 2 is self-validating (if things don't work...)
- in activity 3, hypothesis generation is limited to a specific range of hypotheses (compatible with current paradigms and postulates) and hypothesis generation has a major deductive component; designing critical experiments is mostly based on getting results that would make the tested hypothesis necessary within the framework of current paradigm (or contradicting hypotheses incompatible with current paradigms). In this activity results often appear more solid and uncontroversial than they are, because hypotheses often appear as necessary not due to the data but to the paradigms (and the data)
- activity 4 presumably is the one in which norms, other than rigor, attention, carefulness, lack of prejudice, open-mindedness and creativity, have little room. This actually is a mostly inductive activity, and certainly the less “teachable” through norms.
User avatar
neuro
Forum Moderator
 
Posts: 2624
Joined: 25 Jun 2010
Location: italy


Re: Scientific methodology: does it exist?

Postby wolfhnd on January 29th, 2015, 8:02 am 

Sure neuro it isn't as simple as something that can be contained in a four point process but it's existence is evident not by definition (a prior existence) but by effect. The existence of subatomic particles wasn't established by direct observation. As I said earlier it isn't so much what it is as why it works better than other conceivable processes and what the consequence would be if it didn't exist or again how is it manifested. What it should not be is a more valid question than if it exists or what it is.
Last edited by wolfhnd on January 29th, 2015, 8:09 am, edited 1 time in total.
wolfhnd
 


Re: Scientific methodology: does it exist?

Postby mtbturtle on January 29th, 2015, 8:09 am 

the issue of "existence" is also a diversion more so than "THE".
User avatar
mtbturtle
Banned User
 
Posts: 9742
Joined: 16 Dec 2005


Re: Scientific methodology: does it exist?

Postby wolfhnd on January 29th, 2015, 8:15 am 

mtbturtle » Thu Jan 29, 2015 12:09 pm wrote:the issue of "existence" is also a diversion more so than "THE".


I agree to the extent that it was inherent in the original post that we prove it existed. I don't agree to the extent that we can only discover it's nature by exploring it's effect. Ultimately it is the effects that the general population is interested in. Science is validate in the public mind by what effect it has on them. Exploring the possible consequences of there being no "scientific method" is the best way of validating the methods.
wolfhnd
 


Re: Scientific methodology: does it exist?

Postby wolfhnd on January 29th, 2015, 8:47 am 

I keep insisting on a historical reference because some qualitative standard that is acceptable to both science and philosophy is missing in the debate. No matter how much many here may dislike the simple explanation of a scientific method it is appropriate to clarify issues by simplification as long as it is understood that there is no ultimate simple explanation.

If we want to validate the scientific method it would be interesting to compare the consequences of there being no religious authority and the consequences of there being no scientific authority. Again it is a question of what it is not as much as what it is. One of the reason science is unpopular with the public is that they feel it tries to impose by authority ideas on them that do not want to accept which is exactly the reason they reject religion. To get around this problem science needs to focus on communicating the consequences of abandoning the scientific method. What other process could provide better information for decisions and when are those methods appropriate? The debate about integrating qualitative data into the scientific process explores one way of solving the dilemma.
wolfhnd
 


Re: Scientific methodology: does it exist?

Postby wolfhnd on January 29th, 2015, 10:41 am 

I want to take another example and explore it and I have selected global warming.

The prefered approach in my opinion is if scientist had started the public debate by calling on qualitative fields of enquiry to assist in explaining how climate was something of evident importance in everyday life. Philosophers to eliminate contradictions, historians to establish legitimacy, economist to establish relevance and a host of other possible fields. The tendency of scientist to go it alone, standing on their own authority, is what I'm addressing.

A lack of recognized authority was a central problem when the debate began on global warming. What was evident to the public was that measuring the energy content of the entire planet was not an easy task. The vagaries of weather is something the public experiences first hand as being nothing extraordinary and as a local phenomenon. The failure of climatologist and meteorologists to predict even short term local trends in weather should have been a warning to any reasonably humble person that problems lay ahead. It was arrogant to assume that it would be easy to established confidence in any long term global pattern in the publics mind. To counter this the scientist should have enlisted the aid of historians to establish that global weather patterns did in fact exist in the records. Historians and economist then could have demonstrated the serious impact that these trends have had on societies. This would have established why climate was relevant to things the public was interested in such as food, wars and money. Once it was established that people should be concerned about climate it would have been a lot easy to established the need for climatology. The authoritative approach that was taken that warming was a fact, backed up by the traditions of science, not only played into the natural resent of authority that people have but left the public wondering why they should care about it. Once the general attitude of arrogance was well entrenched in the public's mind the challenge of even getting the attention of the public was made more difficult. Science that doesn't address some preexisting concern that the public has is evidently going to be ignored.

I could go on but the point I'm trying to make is there are reasons that science should drop it's belief that it can stand alone without the support of other disciplines. The look at me I'm so smart and important you have to listen to me approach is child like.

When I fist heard of global warming I said sure that makes sense. The problem was that every scientist I ran into was telling me it's a fact you have to believe it or you are and idiot. That attitude made me totally ignore the climatologist and go straight to economist, geologist and paleontologist. First to find out how much Co2 was being released, second to find out what percent may be from natural sources and third to find out what the likely consequences were. The only thing that bothered me was why I had never thought about what releasing what was locked up in the Carboniferous, period when it was evidently warmer than the present, would have.
wolfhnd
 


Re: Scientific methodology: does it exist?

Postby Marshall on January 29th, 2015, 12:55 pm 

mtbturtle » Thu Jan 29, 2015 5:09 am wrote:the issue of "existence" is also a diversion more so than "THE".

I like this post very much! This was my first reaction when I examined the Ships thread, and my first question to Ships was to explain what "exist" meant. I suspect the question as put does not make much sense except as rhetoric.
Neuro points out that you have suggested that a better question would be "what is science". He agrees. I will quote his post which i think is very good. I also agree, so I will change the title of the thread to what we think makes better sense.
Marshall
 


Re: What is Science? (scratch the "does it exist?")

Postby Marshall on January 29th, 2015, 1:49 pm 

I changed the thread title to What is Science?
It's a more honest question, more clear and direct I think than asking "Does X exist?"
Marshall
 


Next

Return to Philosophy of Science

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google Adsense [Bot] and 5 guests