MadSci Network: Science History

Re: What are some weaknesses of the scientific method?

Date: Sun Sep 11 17:20:00 2005
Posted By: Ara Kooser, Grad student, Physical Chemistry, Sandia National Labs
Area of science: Science History
ID: 1125408026.Sh

   One of the main problems is that the scientific method as described in
steps is wrong. {Admin: That is, it is not a particularly accurate
description of how scientists really work.}
1) Hypothesis
2) Experiment
3) Theory
4) Law
Science is a cycle of theory and experiment. Sometimes you start with a
hypothesis; other times you dive right into your lab work to see what
happens and then explain it later. Most science experiments do not lead to
   A good and accessible read on the scientific method is available on-line
at Download the Newtonian
Physics book by Benjamin Crowell read pages 19-21 and try out the
discussion questions A-D.

   The other is people (Intelligent designers, ghost hunters) who think
they can shortcut the scientific method including the peer review part. A
big part the scientific method is peer review (that usually gets left out
of any description of the scientific method). 

Hope that provides a starting point. So the scientific method works. It's
the people who don't always work so well. 

{Admin note: There are several answers in our MadSci Archives that are
well worth checking out as well. Enter "scientific method" into the 
MadSci Search Engine. John C}

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