Karma reasons for concrete message



    Posts: 2350
  • Darwins +80/-2

^^ I wouldn't use "hypothesis".  From my reading and observation there are these steps in the scientific method.

HUNCH.  Lots of bias and silliness allowed here.  A dream, a poetic clue, an analogy that something you-don't-quite-know-what is going on there.  When you say it out loud or in writing you have reached the level of a CONJECTURE.

HYPOTHESIS.  Make a statement of what you are trying to say.  Make it provable or disprovable.

HYPOTHESES.  List all the alternate hypotheses you can think of.

READING.  Has anyone else noticed this?  Has anyone hypothesized?  Has anyone taken it to the level of a theory?  Do you find a previous answer satisfactory?  If so then quit.

RANK THE HYPOTHESES.  Put them in order of likelihood.  There is a lot of bias in this step.  Give (dis)credit where it is due.  Explain briefly why you dismiss the less likely hypotheses.  This step produces a lot of acrimony among scientists.  Even if you don't get sarcastic somebody will get angry that all his work is dismissed in a sentence.

DECLARE WHAT EVIDENCE COULD (DIS)PROVE YOUR HYPOTHESIS.  This evidence may not be available today.  It could be evidence that would be available in the future.

GATHER EVIDENCE.  Internal consistency, mathematical consistency.  Multiple observations of multiple samples.  Arranged artificial observation of samples (= EXPERIMENT). 

PUBLISH.  Wizards and magicians obeyed the rules expressed by Eliphas Levi: To know, to dare, to keep silent.  Renaissance mathematicians still followed that and kept theorems secret and would challenge each other to battles of math solutions like wizards battling it out in Magic: The Gathering (best known as Yu-Gi-Oh).  Publish your conclusive failures as well and tell what can be learned from it.

Note that experiment is only one kind of evidence. 

BTW, there are experiments in geology.  Yes, there are.  Hutton theorized a lot about sedimentary rock and part of his theory was the theory that marble was limestone that had been melted underground by volcanic heat.  By the end of his life his theories had not prospered.  In the next generation someone made a hermetically sealed iron container that could resist great heat and pressure.  It was packed with limestone and heated.  After cooling and opening it had artificial marble in it, lending strength to all of Hutton's theories.  Likewise the dating of the Earth and solar system is based on uranium-lead measurements in tiny zircons.  How do we know about the chemistry of those zircons, that they exclude lead during their formation?  Because we make artificial zircons.  (I recently saw a TV ad telling you to impress your girlfriend and make her friends envious with a ring with a big rock of a "CZ diamond".  I'm guessing that CZ there means cubic zirconium.)

Looking at ID "theory" it doesn't seem to be more than verbosity surrounding something that has not left the stage of CONJECTURE and they don't have any intent on taking it farther.  I looked at a list of their scientific papers and from the titles it appears that when the papers are real science, they are about something other than ID and I guess that somewhere in the paper is some note about the Creator.

I should add one more step to the scientific method.

EDUCATION.  After a theory is well established it has to be communicated from experts (who often speak to fellow experts in jargon) to generalists who are well adept in explaining.  These are the science journalists and teachers.  Teachers use a lot of analogy to explain, particularly in the elementary levels.  This produces a misconception in students' minds that analogies are some sort of proof.  They are only a teaching tool for something that has been established by other, valid methods.  Unfortunately this means the student has to basically trust the teacher.  Note that the ID people have not well established their idea in science but want to go right from conjecture to elementary education.
Changed Change Reason Date
Tykster Well reasoned and cogent response. February 07, 2012, 06:18:20 PM
ParkingPlaces KARMA: See Historicity (yes this should be stickied) February 07, 2012, 05:05:55 PM
screwtape good post February 07, 2012, 03:55:54 PM
Azdgari Excellent breakdown. February 07, 2012, 01:50:50 PM
velkyn should be made a sticky February 07, 2012, 01:45:58 PM