Scientific method&theory

I initially mixed up the concept of scientific method, hypothesis, theory…so it took me a while to fully understand them. So the scientific method can be summarized into:

  1. Observation
  2. Hypothesis
  3. Prediction
  4. Testing (experiment): repeat.
  5. Theory formed

And, the scientific method can be applied to almost every field.

Science is best defined as a careful, disciplined, logical search for knowledge about any and all aspects of the universe, obtained by examination of the best available evidence and always subject to correction and improvement upon discovery of better evidence. What’s left is magic. And it doesn’t work. -James Randi

I disagree with part of this quote-‘magic’. Of course science is an important field and scientific method can be applied to a lot of fields. However, referring to all the areas other than science as ‘magic’ seems to be too much of an overgeneralization. But James Randi’s definition acknowledged me of the nature of science which is ‘always subject to correction and improvement’. I’ve previously thought that science was quite steadfast field in which previously accepted theories or notions are less likely to undergo changes; but thinking about it again, not only science but every field is subject to changes if there is better evidence.

Also, I believe that scientific method can be adapted to almost every field, but does have certain limits. For example, the ‘date’ example that we’ve seen in class, scientific method can be applied to it and theory can be formed. However, theory is something that is reproducible and repeatable. If someone else saw this ‘theory’ and forms a hypothesis that the same guy will accept her date, it will not necessarily be repeatable. So even though parts of the scientific method are applicable to different areas, it is mainly for the formation of theories based on logical evidences in science.

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9 comments to Scientific method&theory

  • Angel

    I agree with your idea about the scientific method and how it can be used in almost every field. I think that it can be applied to most things but sometimes more generally and loosely than others. I guess we can even use it when we decide what type of milk to buy in the supermarket. For example, observation, the fridge doesn’t have milk and there is usually milk. hypothesis, it would be beneficial to have milk in the fridg as it is drunk often. Prediction: if it is not bought then people will not be happy that they don’t have milk to drink. testing: at the supermarket you remember that a certain brands milk tastes bad so according to the ‘tests’ from last time you buy another brand. Theory formed: Buy milk from a certain brand only and it must be bought when it is finished. ok that was a terrible example but I’m just trying to show how it can be applied to the most mundane of tasks 😛

  • Jessica

    I have question for Jennifer. Your post said that “I’ve previously thought that science was quite steadfast field in which previously accepted theories or notions are less likely to undergo changes; but thinking about it again, not only science but every field is subject to changes if there is better evidence.”

    What do you mean by every field is subject to changes? What are the other field that you are talking about? Is it possible for you to provide some example?

    I am wondering, because religious fields are not really subject to changes?

  • Angel

    I’m not Jennifer, obviously :p but I would like to say that I agree with her and I think she means that in almost everything for example, math. If there was an equation that was supposed to work for every single situation but one day it doesn’t work for a certain combination of numbers that it was supposed to work for and an exception is found, then the equation/formula would be changed right? I think religion could possible be subject to changes. I don’t really know much about religion but if a certain religion stated that a higher being will grant every prayer and it doesn’t come true one day to a person, then I am assuming the religion may change. (I’m making up this example. I seriously don’t know about religion at all.)

  • Jessica

    Thats okay, it is great to hear your answer! I raised my question because I thought that perhaps it is too definite to state that “every field is subjected to changes”. So judging from your post, you do not think that ALL field can be subject to changes right? And for religion.. the new and old part of bible haven’t change, the religious writings of buddism haven’t change… people are believing in them. They are like “laws” and “theories” that guide ones life. (And there is nothing wrong with it.) As science develops, counter arguments are provided and new evidences are found to question the basises of religions, but they still remains as they are at this stage? My point is that I think that not all fields are open to changes with the provision of better evidences.

  • Charles Goh

    Of course religion is subject to changes all the time! Religious explanations have to explain new observations, in order to provide an alternate understanding of the universe that the ones explained in Science. Whether you accept them as true or not depends on your values and your beliefs

  • Angel

    Do you know what the new and old testament of the bible is? I’m wondering what the difference between the two are.

    • Mr. MacKnight

      Angel, the ‘Old Testament’ of ‘The Bible’ is a term used by Christians to describe what Jews call the Torah. (There are some minor differences between the Torah and the Old Testament, but they are mostly the same.) The ‘New Testament’ consists of books written after the life and death of Jesus of Nazareth—i.e., the part of ‘The Bible’ that is exclusively Christian. Most of the New Testament concerns the life and death of Jesus. The last book, ‘Revelations’, makes prophecies about the end of the world. So the Christians took the Jewish Torah, added a section of new material about Jesus and his disciples, and called the whole thing ‘The Bible’.

  • Charles Goh

    You may find this useful. A lot of information though…

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