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Scientific Method

Jarjar3000
Posts: 273
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2/24/2011 10:53:15 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
Should the SM be used more for proving something right OR proving something wrong?
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Ore_Ele
Posts: 25,980
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2/24/2011 11:09:14 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 2/24/2011 10:56:59 AM, Caramel wrote:
The SM is not designed to disprove anything.

It can though.
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darkkermit
Posts: 11,204
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2/24/2011 12:15:02 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 2/24/2011 11:09:14 AM, OreEle wrote:
At 2/24/2011 10:56:59 AM, Caramel wrote:
The SM is not designed to disprove anything.

It can though.

By proving one thing, it disproves others, since contraditions can not exist. Also trying to prove that one thing exisits but being unsuccessful, proves that the thing doesn't exist.
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belle
Posts: 4,113
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2/24/2011 12:25:02 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 2/24/2011 10:56:59 AM, Caramel wrote:
The SM is not designed to disprove anything.

actually its not designed to prove anything either. it can say "given the available evidence x is true" and "given the available evidence x is definitely not the case". the issue is the context of "available evidence"- its not constant or absolute in any sense. it can be used to prove or disprove things only in the context of current knowledge.
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Cerebral_Narcissist
Posts: 10,806
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2/24/2011 12:30:18 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
Isn't it mostly the latter, a theory is proposed and tested to destruction? Mind you it depends in what field or level it operates.
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Ore_Ele
Posts: 25,980
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2/24/2011 1:23:16 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 2/24/2011 12:30:18 PM, Cerebral_Narcissist wrote:
Isn't it mostly the latter, a theory is proposed and tested to destruction? Mind you it depends in what field or level it operates.

Basically yes. the scientific method is actually more used to disprove things, not prove them.

If we put forth Hypothesis A, we then test it with Test A. If it fails the test, we know that HA is a false Hypothesis (so we need to tweek it or drop it all together). If it passes, we don't just automatically assume that it is true, we then run it through other tests.

For example, if I said "Ice melts faster in warmer tempuratures" (as my hypothesis), I could test it at 40F, 60F, 80F, and 100F. That test would seem to indicate that my hypothesis was correct, even though it is not.

If I ran another test with the temps of -40F, -20F, 0F, and 20F, I would find that my hypothesis is incorrect, and so tweek it to "Ice melts faster in warmer tempuratures above 32F"

So even though 1 test said it was right and 1 test said it was wrong, it is wrong. Even if we get 10 different tests to show it is right and only 1 test to show it is wrong, then it is wrong.

So a test showing something as correct doesn't really mean too much.
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Cliff.Stamp
Posts: 2,169
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2/24/2011 11:55:31 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 2/24/2011 10:53:15 AM, Jarjar3000 wrote:
Should the SM be used more for proving something right OR proving something wrong?

Neither :

It is only about what is more or less likely, anyone who claims to prove something empirically either is using a lay definition of proof, or does not understand it at all.
Zetsubou
Posts: 4,933
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2/25/2011 12:35:01 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 2/24/2011 11:09:14 AM, OreEle wrote:
At 2/24/2011 10:56:59 AM, Caramel wrote:
The SM is not designed to disprove anything.

It can though.
Never to certainty.
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Ore_Ele
Posts: 25,980
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2/25/2011 12:47:53 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 2/25/2011 12:35:01 PM, Zetsubou wrote:
At 2/24/2011 11:09:14 AM, OreEle wrote:
At 2/24/2011 10:56:59 AM, Caramel wrote:
The SM is not designed to disprove anything.

It can though.
Never to certainty.

Actually, it can ONLY disprove things to certainty, is in my example earlier. It cannot prove things to certainty.
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Cliff.Stamp
Posts: 2,169
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2/25/2011 1:05:57 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 2/25/2011 12:47:53 PM, OreEle wrote:

Actually, it can ONLY disprove things to certainty, is in my example earlier.

You can conduct an empirical experiment, produce measurements and produce a 100% probability of rejecting the null hypothesis?
RoyLatham
Posts: 4,488
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2/25/2011 1:27:11 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
Disproof can come by counter-example, so that works with certainty, subject to the possibility that the experiment was incorrectly staged or the reported results a fraud.

The problem with certainty in science is that experiments are done under a limited range of conditions, so the theory cannot be experimentally confirmed under all conditions. Newton's Laws are confirmed for objects traveling at speeds well below the speed of light, the domain in which they were initially verified. There was always an error too small to measure at ordinary speeds, but the failure is evident only at relativistic speeds.

A statistically null hypothesis cannot be verified or rejected with 100% probability. There is always some vanishingly small chance that even a long string of observations was unlucky.

Usually the probability increases with the square root of the number of samples, which makes increased certainty expensive for the experimenter. Public opinion polls usually use a thousand samples to get about 3% error. They would need about a 10,000 samples to get that to just below 1%. Pollsters also have a problem with the sampling domain. For example, the people who refuse to answer poll questions may have characteristically different opinions from those who do.
Ore_Ele
Posts: 25,980
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2/25/2011 3:35:11 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 2/25/2011 1:05:57 PM, Cliff.Stamp wrote:
At 2/25/2011 12:47:53 PM, OreEle wrote:

Actually, it can ONLY disprove things to certainty, is in my example earlier.

You can conduct an empirical experiment, produce measurements and produce a 100% probability of rejecting the null hypothesis?

Yes, as in my example shown earlier.
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Cliff.Stamp
Posts: 2,169
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3/3/2011 10:10:08 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 2/25/2011 3:35:11 PM, OreEle wrote:

Yes, as in my example shown earlier.

So to be clear you can conduct an experiment where you have no experimental error?
Ogan
Posts: 407
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3/5/2011 5:48:57 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
Why do all the 'hard facts' continuously dissolve into mist as the never-ending scientific inspection continues? The reasoning faculties will ever be surrounded by Mystery - MYSTERY IS THE FATE OF SCIENCE! They would 'Prophesize' that one day they will uncover All Mysteries, but for the fact that prophecy is not one of their facts, and they would therefore contradict themselves. The idea that "we are nearly there" or "we will get there eventually" is as eternal song, sung by materialists suffering either from hope or blind faith; just as religious fanatics suffer from 'blind reason'.

Reason without Faith is but a jumped-up data collector - every so often finding something important and becoming puffed up with pride and arrogance, like a noisy parrot. They are all head and no heart! Faith without Reason, is like a powerfully strong blindfold climber who pushes into strange regions and loses all balance and perspective and begins to rave - like a 'religious' lunatic. They are all heart and no head. When the two join forces, what are normally called miracles are discovered to be none other than Natural Laws – which are not subject to investigation by the rational reason, the senses or clever instruments – though Faith will be strengthened and rational reason instructed by such receptions.

Those daring Few who dis-cover these Laws are speechless and become filled with Love and Wisdom. They have found a true Balance of the Material and the Spiritual, which ultimately are ONE!