Hi Guys, I’m back. My mind did change as I suspected in college, but I think it was for the better. I’ve been doing really well, good grades in everything. Smoking is a great way to give my brain a break from studying, so much for lack of motivation. I’m majoring in physics, and everything is going great. This writing is meant to be made into a pamphlet and given to those whowanted it. I’ve been working on this paper attempting to show how the scientific method can be useful for anyone. This version is near done, so I thought I’d post it up for you guys. If you manage to get through it all I’d appreciate criticism. I must apologize to the readers and the moderators for the excessive length of this post. Also, the formatting was lost in copying this. I was forced tosplit it into 2 parts; the second will be posted as a reply to this one. I feel I have made progress in my attempt to explore the world natural law, reason, and the ganja. This is a report on that progress…
The scientific method as an upgrade to common sense
What must be done before something is considered proven, or true? What is proof? In what situations is proof desirable? These areall tough questions with no easy answers. There is a worry that without a good definition for proof otherwise intelligent people may fall victim to false ideas because they seem to make sense. How do we separate the illogical ideas from the useful messages? Most people just use their common sense and do pretty well with it. However, common sense is not as common as we may think. People havedifferent ideas about what makes sense a lot of the time. Is there any way out of this potential uncertainty and error? A scientist would answer a resounding YES, namely, the scientific method which is just upgraded form of common sense. The concept of proof is a scientific one, and should be dealt with in terms of it.
As I talk to people, I find a surprisingly large amount of students who are biasedagainst science. I think this is simply from not looking into what the actual philosophy of it is. It IS a philosophy, not simply a set of cold facts, it is useful not just to a scientist, but to anyone who seeks truth. Many philosophies claim to bring the truth, why is this different? Because it works. The incredible successes of biology, physics and chemistry among many others are all atestament to the validity of scientific thinking. It doesn’t simply apply to the sciences; anyone who has an understanding of it should find it useful in everyday thought.
A person cannot consistently follow a methodology if they do not have a working definition of what following the methodology entails. This is a fairly obvious concept, if one is told to follow 10 rules and never learns what theyare, they can’t consistently follow those rules. The point of this pamphlet is to give a basic definition of scientific thinking, so that one can avoid common pitfalls.
I am not claiming that science is some sort of ultimate knowledge. To quote Anthropologist Marvin Harris “The reason we favor knowledge produced in the conformity with the principles of science is not because scienceguarantees absolute truth free of subjective bias, error, untruths, lies and frauds. It is because science is the best system yet devised for reducing subjective bias, error, untruths, lies and frauds…”
Another view I’ve come across is that science is uninteresting or takes the wonder out of the world. I’d like the quote Nobel Prize winning physicist Richard P. Feynman to respond to this:
“Poetssay science takes away from the beauty of the stars - mere globs of gas atoms. Nothing is “mere”. I too can see the stars on a desert night and feel them. But do I see less or more? The vastness of the heavens stretches my imagination- stuck on this carousel my little eye can catch one-million-year-old light. A vast pattern - of which I am part - perhaps my stuff was belched from some forgotten...