NoShips » Tue Apr 18, 2017 12:57 pm wrote:The proper function of science, for the empiricist, is simply to systematize our experience for purposes of prediction and intervention. Spare us the behind-the-scenes drama, thank you very much!
No ships I'm going to attempt a new approach to understanding the scientific process that might justify why we should believe scientist.
I think it might be better to think of scientist as lawyers - which I know will probably make you believe scientist even less. Scientific experiments yield facts - but it is important to remember these facts are always conditional. A news article may report something like "Coffee prevents heart disease", which sounds like a scientific fact. However, the reality of this hypothetical study is that the data show coffee was beneficial over the timeline of the study in specific groups of people with each having their unique lifestyle/genetic differences, while most likely reaching a significance level whereby there remains still a slightly less than 5% chance the observed differences were due to pure chance.
This is where the scientist come and and act like lawyers. Just like a lawyer building a case with facts (evidence) to propose a concept (i.e. the man is guilty) beyond a preponderance of doubt (99% likelihood of guilt), the scientist is going to build a case with facts (scientific studies) to propose a concept (i.e. coffee prevents heart disease), beyond a preponderance of doubt (p value arbitrarily decided to be less than 0.05). Both are interpreting facts, while knowing the caveats of the facts, the support a claim.
Can a layman do this? Sure. Can a layman defend themselves in court? Sure. Is that a good idea? probably not. Likewise attempting to grasp scientific concepts without a background in science may also have similar complications to going to court without an attorney.
Furthermore - both can be wrong - innocent men have gone to jail and we all think running marathons is good for your health.
Hope this helps!