The Instigator
Con (against)
9 Points
The Contender
Pro (for)
1 Points

The Scientific Method is the only way to gain Truth

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/22/2014 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 4,731 times Debate No: 53156
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (8)
Votes (2)



The Scientific Method is NOT the only way to gain truthful knowledge. My first example is Art. One can describe art as a process in which a subject is deconstructed and parts of the subject matter are given differing degrees of attention. Also in Art Sometimes a process in regards to one subject is then performed on another subject. This can lead a person to question a matter differently and ultimately come to a more reasonable or more truthful view of the subject.

Because this is one alternative way of discovering truth. It suffices to say that those who advocate only using the Scientific Method are performing a self imposed restriction to investigating truth claims.


I accept. I would first like to point out something about what my opponent said in the comments. Do not take this in to consideration when voting comes about because I am only trying to point out a comment which is not a part in this debate. The scientific method is used everyday by the average person, and it is so instinctive and his unnoticed by us all the time. Example is coming home. First thing you do is evaluate the subject. The door is locked. Then you come up with a test. Before performing the test, you make a hypothesis. If I put a key in to the keyhole of the door and turn the key, then the door will be unlocked. You then perform the test. You turn the key and unlock the door. You mentally record the data. Then you make a conclusion. My hypothesis was right, using the key did open the door. Take the next portion of this as my opening statement:
Scientific method is used absolutely all the time. It is the only way to accurately determine what is true and what is not. You cannot come to an accurate conclusion without the use of the scientific method in some form. The use of the scientific method is the only reliable way to determine what is true. In my opponent's opening statement (not a rebuttal), the scientific method has to be used to come to the conclusion he is thinking of. He evaluated the subject, made a hypothesis, commenced observing, since a test can already be made up naturally without interference, recorded what was tested, and came to a conclusion.
Even the voters of this debate are going to use the scientific method when voting, or at least a part of it. We have set up the problem, and we are the test subjects. The voters will make the hypothesis 'If one or the other says the right things with the right grammar and the right citations, then they will be awarded points respectfully.' And then we, the debaters, do the testing, and they observe and mentally have a record, as well as a digital one when they click on this debate, and they conclude that they are going to give the right points to the right person, or they will conclude that they decided to play favorites and vote for the one they agreed with.
Also, usually after a conclusion is determined, it is written and peer reviewed by others, and is determined credible or not, represented here by the reasons for voting, and if it's not credible, it is usually taken care of, which is represented by flagging a voter for poor voting.
Debate Round No. 1


The comment section was a discussion in which I might have to change the parameters of this debate. However before I could make those changes Ozzyhead accepted. Therefore he agreed to the parameters as is.

First Rebuttals to CON's opening

My opponent states "You cannot come to an accurate conclusion without the use of the scientific method in some form". I would prefer not to argue semantics, to prevent an enormous broadening of this term to include all truth seeking methods; I define the scientific method as a process that proceeds as such: Formulation of Question, Hypothesis, Prediction, Testing, Analysis [1][2]

1. My opponent asserts, "scientific method is the only reliable way to determine what is true"
2. My opponent asserts, "The scientific method is used everyday by the average person"
3. My opponent asserts, "Scientific method is used absolutely all the time"

Rebuttal to #1::
Define reliable [3]: Consistently good in quality or performance; able to be trusted
Define True [4]: In accordance with fact or reality

Deductive reasoning links premises with conclusions. If all premises are true, the terms are clear, and the rules of deductive logic are followed, then the conclusion reached is necessarily true. [5]

My first premise is that all human beings when cut open bleed red blood.
My opponent, Ozzyhead, is a human being.
Therefore if Ozzyhead is cut open they will bleed red blood.

This is a strong argument and the premises are correct. The conclusion is valid and I am confident to 100% Ozzyhead will bleed red blood when cut open. This is a truth that I arrived at through reasoning and did not involve the Scientific Method. Making false the statement The Scientific Method is the only way to gain Truth.

Rebuttal to #2::

In the previous example with the premise: All human beings when cut open bleed red blood. To scientifically verify this premise, Ozzyhead would have to Ask the question "Do all cut open humans bleed red blood?", compose a hypothesis "Yes when you cut open a human they bleed red blood", Then conduct a test. I'll stop there because the absurdity should be obvious. How many people has my opponent cut open? Was it a sufficient sample size to deduce it statistically applies to all humans alive today (6 billion)?

I think it clear the test was never performed. It hasn't been performed and then peer reviewed. The test has not been performed by the average person. But the average person accepts the conclusion (all human beings bleed red blood). This is because truth of the matter did not come through the Scientific Method. It came through an alternate, equally reliable, method.

Rebuttal to #3

Richard Dawkins is an evolutionary biologist. He states "A child is genetically pre-programmed to accumulate knowledge from figures of authority. The child brain, for very good Darwinian reasons, has to be set up in such a way that it believes what it"s told by its elders, because there just isn"t time for the child to experiment with warnings like "Don"t go too near the cliff edge!" or "Don"t swim in the river, there are crocodiles!" Any child who applied a SCIENTIFIC SKEPTICAL QUESTIONING ATTITUDE to that, would be DEAD" [6]

Did you hear that! If my opponent is correct in "Scientific method is used absolutely all the time" we all would be DEAD.

[1]Scientific Method
[6]The Root of All Evil Part 2... time 15:15-15:30


We do not need to verify that. We did not need to conduct a test, as the test was done naturally. We still had the question and the data recorded. We don't always have to set up a test, and not every step of the method is used. If a person receives a sharp, or very forceful attack, then they will bleed is the question. The test was not set up, but a test was done when a few people accidentally cut their thumb while preparing dinner. The fact that it happened was recorded, and a conclusion was met. You did not indeed avoid it.
I would also like to point out that the scientific method is used in the situations presented in the last paragraph presented. However, it would be used before hand, and depending on what happens, it would be finished afterwards.
Actually, the scientific method for the cliff or crocodile examples have been used, because of pass events. That's how a question is formulated. Something happens and sometimes it happens over and over again, so we evaluate the situation after the fact. The test, by nature, was already done. So, we ask the question, formulate a hypothesis, and because the test was done before the method started, a test is not completed, and data is at least partly recorded before hand, and a conclusion is made. And in order to relate this information, it is written down, and it is spread. It seems obvious now, but if we were never told not to approach a crocodile, we would approach it and learn the hard way.
Also, with the cliff and crocodile examples, they are subjective. Some people have trained crocodiles, so they might not harm a person, and, well I don't need to say much more than Steve Irvin, or the Crocodile Hunter. Also, there is cliff jumping, and hang gliding from a cliff. They are subjective. If the conditions are right, then the negative things happen. They were good examples, but they were not well thought out.
I would like the audience to not take credit away from my opponent's sources. Although he used Wikipedia, I generally consider it a reliable source, because it has had changes since our high school and college days. It is way more reliable.
Debate Round No. 2


Nature can not perform a test. If nature is doing anything and we record the result, it is an observation.[1] Observation is not a Test [2] To skip performing the test would not be the Scientific Method.[3] What you describe is counter to established definition and practices of the Scientific Method as taught by Universities and Science.

""As stated earlier, the scientific method attempts to minimize the influence of the scientist's bias on the outcome of an experiment. That is, when testing an hypothesis or a theory, the scientist may have a preference for one outcome or another, and it is important that this preference not bias the results or their interpretation. The most fundamental error is to mistake the hypothesis for an explanation of a phenomenon, without performing experimental tests. Sometimes "common sense" and "logic" tempt us into believing that no test is needed. There are numerous examples of this, dating from the Greek philosophers to the present day." [4]

"Scientific knowledge can only advance when all scientists systematically use the same process to discover and disseminate new information." [5]

To state that some of the steps in the Scientific Method are not used, would break the actual process. That process would not longer be the Scientific Method. [3] The explanations you provide are drawing conclusion from observation with out testing is known as Inductive Reasoning.[6] Inductive reasoning known as universal inference. Inference from instances (I observe people bleed when cut) to a universal generalization (all people bleed when cut).

I hope the readers after reviewing the references will see what The Scientific Method is and is not.



A flaw in my reasoning was discovered. I know only accept that but I am thankful for it so I do not spread such information ever again.
I do not have a well made out response to what my opponent said in this round, so I am going to try to steer this back in the right direction.
Let's talk about the last word in the title of this debate: truth. First, what determines true? And another question is, is truth subjective.
Since truth is a word off of the word true, let's define true: Of persons: Steadfast in adherence to a commander or friend, to a principle or cause, to one's promises, faith, etc.; firm in allegiance; faithful, loyal, constant, trusty. (
So, we can agree that true is subjective, right? And the scientific method is reaching for something that is factual, so are we going to change the last word in this debate from 'true' to 'factual'? If not, then, sure, the scientific method does not always have to be used to find truth because truth is up to a person. For example, for the most part, people with religious views are always going to consider their religious views as true. What's true is very subjective. What is factual is not, regardless of what someone believes.
Of course, this is not a round in which I debate, only to give a response to my opponent's round 3 discussion, so I have kept this to a minimum, and will build off what I have said next round.
Debate Round No. 3


They say that a real debate can not happen unless both minds are open to the possibility to being wrong. The scientific method even holds to this is that the hypothesis does not need to be confirmed by the results. In this regard I appreciate my opponent for this debate.

True means in accordance to fact. [1]
Fact means indisputable in a case. [2]
Reality means a thing that exists in fact, having previously only existed in one’s mind. [3]

There are many other definitions but one can see how true and fact are so tightly related that they are even listed as synonyms to each other.

There are many formalized processes to determine fact or truth. Inductive Reasoning with principles of validity attempt to determine the probability of something being fact. Evident in terms like If p therefore p is likely. Deductive reasoning asserts the certainty of things as fact. Such as I stub my toe, my toe hurts. The pain and reason for the pain are indisputable. There is also Abduct Reasoning and other systems established like Cartesian Logic (which is the bulk of most process in use today.)

It is keen to point out that the Scientific Method is categorized as an Inductive Method. It draws inferences from the evidence. This makes the facts or truth established by science to be a probability. Facts established this way are highly likely of being the case but not indisputable.

Many Scientific Theories were rejected when they first were formalized. Einstein's theory of special relativity was rejects because it predicted a finite past and expanding or shrinking universe. This was against he status quo that most accepted the universe being eternal and stagnant. The Big Bang theory was rejected at first for the same reasons.

It is clear by historical and biographical history that genius is a rebellious spirit. "The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education.", Albert Einstein.

So Truth is relative to the person, not subjective. The same applies to facts. To one observer all his tests can confirm his predictions. But this does not mean it holds true for all observers. The results are not 100% certain. Take for instance the case of time. Time intuitively feels as if it should be the same for all observers. This we know is not the case. Our satellites in orbit actual have to adjust their time for dilation being further from Earth's gravity. And the toy universe experiment that predicts time could be an illusion. [4]

To keep an open mind is not so open your brain falls out. We must understand that we are an observer and should make choices based on the facts (I.E. they agree with our reality). I think that is what opponent would like to say. That the Scientific Method is the only way to arrive at facts that agree with our reality. I think I have sufficiently proved this incorrect as well.

Moving on to a more subjective, metaphysical, idea of truth. As with my first example with Art. You hear sometimes a person views a piece of art. The artist's work elicits an emotion. In response the brain hurls back questions in retaliation. Questions that get unexpected answers. Then the person announces, "That has really opened my eyes." Curious the eyes are a organ of perception. The claim is the person's perception has been broadened, expanded, more encompassing of the actual truth. More in accordance with reality.

If this perception is shared by most people you won't have a problem. I can hold up an apple and say it is red. You can look upon the same apple and agree it is red. We are not agreeing on the apple really been red. We are agreeing that we make similar statements about our perceptions. We agree with both say, "Ever time I see this wavelength I see what I identify as red."

I hold up a piece of sandpaper I look at and say, "This is rough". You are blind folded feel the paper and say, "Yes, that is rough". Our perceptions differ in that mine is visual and yours is tactile; But we agree on the state of the subject.

Point is You can have different methods to come to the same conclusion of fact. Fact being true in that it is in accordance to our reality as dictated by our observations. Our observation relative to our course.



Ozzyhead forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4


I Extend my Arguments


I apologize for I have been very ill and have not had the physical or mental capacity to participate in such an intellectual debate. I apologize full heartedly and regret forfeiting.
Debate Round No. 5
8 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Posted by Ozzyhead 7 years ago
I will be delighted to challenge you to this or any other kind of debate. I would like to see you tackle this debate against someone that is able to finish the debate properly. I apologize for my forfeit and I encourage a all points to go to my opponent
Posted by DeletedUser 7 years ago
Sorry to here that Ozzyhead. I hope you are feeling better. And maybe after some time you will challenge me to do this again :)
Posted by DeletedUser 7 years ago
just trying to make it interesting
Posted by ArcTImes 7 years ago
Truth is kind of a tricky word. Knowledge could be better. In the case of knowledge scientific method would not be the only one, but would be the best.
You can gain knowledge by experience, but it's unreliable, way more unreliable than the scientific method.
There are also axioms like our existence that were not subject to the scientific method, or at least were considered true before trying to use the scientific method on it.

I don't know how art can lead to the truth tho.
Posted by DeletedUser 7 years ago
Well I am willing to argue how some people base their beliefs and morality on logic which is usually described as being the scientific method. I don't think anyone in reality walks around following the empirical method for most of their daily activities or even most of their world view.
Posted by DeltaOhio 7 years ago
Truth is relative to the subject. It is true that I am typing. I'm going to assume that is not true for you or even for me when you read this. The scientific method is not based on these relative truths. In reality the statement of the debate is already a misguided statement.
This is basically what I mean.
Posted by philochristos 7 years ago
Yeah, but it wouldn't be knowledge. Knowledge is JUSTIFIED true belief.
Posted by Raymond_Reddington 7 years ago
You could take a random guess and arrive at the truth...
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Ragnar 7 years ago
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Total points awarded:31 
Reasons for voting decision: Concession.
Vote Placed by iamanatheistandthisiswhy 7 years ago
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Total points awarded:60 
Reasons for voting decision: While I do not agree with Cons stance, Con clearly had stronger arguments in this debate. The art argument went uncontested by Pro, and this was an essential argument that needed to be addressed to successfully win this debate. Con gets source points for supplying them. Con also gets conduct points for the forfeit. Interesting debate and a fun read.

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