the scientific method


I’m acquainted with the scientific method myself, but when I try to explain it to science deniers I always fall short of capturing what makes it such a universal and thorough method. Any help?

In: 6

1) form a hypothesis based on what you observe. A hypothesis is an idea about how or why something is the way that is is.
2) test that hypothesis with an experiment. Experimental design is complicated but a good experiment should produce an outcome that either supports or rejects your hypothesis.
3) reach a conclusion. Either the experiment supported the hypothesis which is evidence that it is true. Or it did not support the hypothesis which means it is not true.
4) publish your results for others to criticize and attempt to replicate.
5) nothing in science is an absolute, but once enough people replicate results, it is very strong evidence that a hypothesis is true.

Discussing with science deniers is kinda futile. They simply refuse to accept simple logic but here we go:

The scientific method works very simple, you first make an observation, then come up with an idea of how things could be, then you test your idea by trying to confirm the predictions that your idea makes about reality with an experiment.

That order makes the result much more plausible, you made your predictions BEFORE looking for evidence, so you’re less likely to bias yourself

Another approach is introducing the idea of quality of evidence. The lowest quality is testimonial/anecdotal going up to a meta analysis of double blind trials of large sample size. People who deny science are operating from the lowest quality of evidence, anything they believe in is based off of anecdotal evidence. A large problem with that kind of evidence, is it is unfalsifiable. It’s a closed loop. If you want to learn more about how to detect bullshit, check out Michael Shermer’s book – why people believe weird things.

What kind of science deniers are you talking to? How would reading off the process that constitutes the scientific method “fall short” of representing itself?

When a scientific hypothesis is created we construct 2 statements the first is the one we expect to be true if the thing we’re testing for is true. The next is what we expect if our hypothesis is false. We then test for the falseness. We don’t come in trying to prove ourselves right. Rather we try to prove ourselves wrong in every way possible. If after almost every reasonable test we can’t prove our idea wrong, then we can reject our false hypothesis.

Then we submit our findings to our peers for review and further testing. If every one of our peers cannot create a test that disproves our hypothesis then we have a possible theory. If we test that potential theory further and further and further until we have no other tests we can do to disprove it then it becomes the dominant theory.

And that’s the difference most people don’t understand. The scientific method is used in an attempt to prove the hypothesizer wrong. You have to approach your tests with every intent to prove your own ideas wrong.