Double Helixes and Double Crosses (was: Favorite NON-fiction)

Tue Jan 28 17:05:43 PST 2003

On Tue, 28 Jan 2003 19:57:35 -0500, you wrote:

>In a message dated 1/28/2003 4:46:21 PM Eastern Standard 
>Time, Chris Olson - SunPS <Chrisf.Olson at Sun.COM> writes:
>> But I'm curious: are you suggesting that scientists the 
>> world around use The Method as the ONLY way of research? 
>> That doesn't sound right to me, even if it is.  (And if it 
>> is, and it can be proved to me, I'd be tempted to change my 
>> opinion and join the other side.)
>Okay, just so we're talking about the same thing, this is
>what I think of as the Scientific Method:
>1. Gather data
>2. Form hypothesis
>3. Devise experiments to test hypothesis
>4. Compare results
>5. Revise hypothesis
>6. Repeat previous three steps until confident you're right
>7. Publish so other scientists can try to reproduce your
>results and find holes in your assumptions and chain of 
>logic, etc.
>I'm pretty sure this was in fact taught to me in Jr. High
>(with maybe a few simplifications, but that last step was
>As to your question, no, there are "scientists" who don't
>follow these steps, and for that reason I won't take them
>And to answer Andrew's comments, I expect archaeologists to 
>try to follow this methodology too.  Obviously, devising 
>experiments is very difficult for them (and control groups
>are out of the question; you get what you dig up), but that 
>just places more importance on the other steps (analysing
>other's data, both before and after).

One key about the method as listed is, often times, I'd even say most
times, a hypothesis is formed first, data is collected, and the
revisions begin.



 "Therefore, my Harry, Be it thy course to busy giddy minds with
 foreign quarrels; that action, hence borne out, may waste the memory
 of the former days." -- King Henry IV, Part ii Act 4, Scene 5