About Science, for anyone

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by VenusianSky, May 9, 2012.

  1. VenusianSky macrumors 65816


    Aug 28, 2008
    We must learn to mentally apply the scientific method to everything, including the big question. The scientific method is the key to great wisdom.

    If you are unfamiliar with the scientific method, shame on our education system :p. I'm sure most of you reading this are familiar, or maybe have just forgotten it. If you forgot, just look it up and read as much as you can until you understand the statement in bold above.

    When applying the scientific method, no question is right or wrong until it has been thoroughly tested, and the results are with, or without evidence. In the case that evidence to support the hypothesis is brought forth, the test must be repeated sufficient times, with the same results, to become LAW. If the same results, or no results are not presented, it is THEORY, and that it OK because you applied the science method and you can continue to apply it for as long as you want.

    "Why this thread?", you may be asking youself at this point.

    This is a summary of a thought I had started in another thread here, titled "For Agnostics only please". I didn't want to summarize in that thread, because what I have to say here is not for agnostics only. It is more for scientists, which I now think as everyone being scientists. If you ask a question and seek an answer, you are scientist, so would that not make everyone scientists? "What about people with faith in religions?", you may ask. Deep down, they too have a question and seek an answer, so are they not scientists as well? Until I and everyone else witnesses the evidence to present a as law, I will mentally accept the scientific method to the theory (hidden far, far back in a shoebox of my mind). For the same reason, I will also mentally accept the scientific for every other theory out there (big bang for example). Sorry, I don't want to go any further on that topic. I you wish to read and discuss further, check out the "For Agnostic only please" thread. Speaking of that thread, I apologize to the MR moderators for starting this new one. As I stated, I was thinking of posting this summary there and then having the thread closed, but that wouldn't be very scientific of me :).

    Anyways, thanks for reading this and thanks for MR for letting me post this stuff. I also want to thank the great minds over at the "other" thread I started. I also want to thank the late great scientist, Carl Sagan, and all other great public figures of science of our time and history.

    One last thing, if you understand, or "get" everything said, but you have some ways to better explain or improve, [to quote Morrisey] "Please, please, please" add it to this thread. :)
  2. CalBoy macrumors 604


    May 21, 2007
    This part isn't correct. A hypothesis is assumed incorrect until enough evidence exists to shift it into a theory.

    In modern study terminology you fail to reject the null if there isn't enough evidence.
  3. hafr macrumors 68030

    Sep 21, 2011
    Incorrect, really? I would have said unproven until tried, then disproven if proved wrong, otherwise still unproven.
  4. VenusianSky thread starter macrumors 65816


    Aug 28, 2008
    Thanks for your comments, fellow science enthusiasts.

    I understood, as I was writing, that I may not be explaining the scientific method clearly. This is because I am far removed from science class at my age. I fell I understand the general principals of it:

    question; hypothesis; scientific hyptothesis; test and investigate possible evidence; test more; draw conlusions from evidence or lack thereof to determine if theory or law, if theory, test further or conclude as theory and move on to something else

    but figured that I may not be explaining it clearly. That is why I mentioned doing some reading about the scientific method on your own. :)
  5. iStudentUK macrumors 65816


    Mar 8, 2009
    Interesting thread, couple of points though.

    I'll add to this by saying that there is no definitive agreed scientific method, and different people have different variations on the central theme. But I was taught during actual experimentation you assume (for the purposes of that experiment only and not as a general rule) that the null hypothesis is correct. You then attempt to disprove the null hypothesis. If you produce statistically significant results you "reject the null hypothesis", but this is not the same as proving the hypothesis. If you don't find statistically significant results then you "fail to reject the null hypothesis", this is not the same as accepting the null hypothesis.

    At which point you can, if appropriate, analyse you results in light of the hypothesis and try to come up with a valid explanation.

    A theory gives a summary of hypotheses that have stood up to testing. A law describes a repeatable observation.
  6. localoid macrumors 68020


    Feb 20, 2007
    America's Third World

    This thread seems to beg the question: Are string theory, M-theory, etc. actually science (because of the challenge of testing)?
  7. Sydde macrumors 68020


    Aug 17, 2009
    They represent avenues of exploration. Hadrons were once a theoetical model, but research has shown the model to be fairly reliable (results tend to conform with predictions). Phlogiston was once a theoretical model, but research ultimately found the model wanting, so other avenues had to be developed and explored.

    The thing that bothers me is "right" or "wrong". Some theories are partially workable (e.g., the hadronic composition of atomic nuclei) but are found to be inadequate or incomplete (hadrons do not exhibit behavior that would be expected of discreet particles), so they are adapted or expanded for changing observations. Newtonian laws of motion, for example, are very useful and effective, but had we applied them directly to, for instance, GPS, we would have been in a world of hurt.
  8. CalBoy macrumors 604


    May 21, 2007
    Well that's the way you should structure your phrasing if you're carrying out formal research. A null hypothesis is the default and it assumes the hypothesis is incorrect. Almost by definition a hypothesis that fails to gather any evidence after experimentation must be incorrect.
  9. VenusianSky thread starter macrumors 65816


    Aug 28, 2008
    That is an excellent point. Something makes me think I recall reading that other scientist are questioning the same thing about string theory, in particular.
    I am a little familiar with string theory, and I don't believe I know m-theory at all. With quantum mechanics, we have the double-slit to work with. Are you saying that those other theories have yet to develop a testing mechanism?

    Question on string theory. Does string theory question what is going on at the sub-atomic (smaller than quarks for example)? I vaguely remember something about the characteristic of the strings being influential to the characteristic of the particle. And was it that the characteristic of the string is random, or something? Just looking for a little more knowledge on that. :D
  10. jnpy!$4g3cwk macrumors 65816


    Feb 11, 2010
    General Relativity was originally at that point where testability was a question. Physics is again there with string theory. I always thought of Slaughterhouse Five when this question came up-- is it possible to test, say, string theory, without "blowing up the universe"? Then, the question of Strangelets arose regarding LHC:



    Of course, this actually sounds more like Cat's Cradle ("ice-nine" above).

    Returning to the question of thread: there are some hypotheses that may never be testable, but, you never know: eventually some clever person may figure out, for example, how to "see" more clearly below the surface of the sun.
  11. VenusianSky thread starter macrumors 65816


    Aug 28, 2008
    jnpy!$4g3cwk - Excellent point about the dangers of testing certain theories.

    In relation to what you quoted, I remember watching a program that visually simulated the snowball effect of strange matter theory, eventually turning the entire Earth into a lump of strange matter. Indeed, it looked very strange. :D

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