THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD

Science in general is the art or practice of knowing, this can take many forms like a kid asking why the Earth goes around the sun. However all scientific fields we know of today, are either applied science or basic science. At a glance applied science may seem vastly more important, but questions and discoveries made through basic science can be used to bolster our understanding of the world or in practical technology in the future. Science is the foundation of the world, it gives us the food we need to live, the cars we drive, the trains and ships that transport our goods and lots more. Science itself has made great advances over the last few decades and even over the last few centuries. One could say that the sudden increase in the speed and volume of scientific discoveries has been due to an increase in population or an increase in the funding of science or education in general, one could also say that allowing women into various scientific fields has also greatly increased scientific output. While all these things are true and likely increase the efficiency of science in general, one large advancement however has probably had the largest impact on increasing the efficiency of science, this advancement is the scientific method. To see how large a change the scientific method has made, it is useful to see how science was conducted prior to the scientific method. Scientific ideas were often proposed without being tested, for example a scientist may deduce that a big rock falls faster than a pebble because the big rock is heavier, even though both objects would fall at the same rate if tested.

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Ibn Al-Haytham via lostislamichistory.com

The Scientific method was first understood by the Arabian scientist Ibn Alhazen or Al-Haytham, who deduced that a hypothesis must be proved by experiments and mathematical procedures. Sir Francis Bacon is also widely regarded as the father of the scientific method, as he promoted doubting one person’s results from an experiment and promoted the use of repeatable experiments in proving hypotheses.

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Sir Francis Bacon via Biography.com

The scientific method, first created by Alhazen, and modified by Bacon is essentially a formula to assist with scientific discoveries, the scientific method follows a series of steps which start with observations in nature, the next step is a hypothesis followed by a test or experiment that is designed to prove or disprove the hypothesis, after an experiment [or many] is conducted, conclusions are drawn from the results of the experiment and from the experiment’s relationship with the hypothesis, these conclusions could then create more questions or contribute to existing theories. Before results of an experiment are accepted however they must go through a peer review, where other scientists will conduct the same experiment previously conducted to see if they get the same results, because natural phenomena will always occur every time a specific occurrence happens, like water boiling at 100 degrees.

Despite the fact that the scientific method is designed to answer questions, it also creates some questions of its own, like after a theory is well supported like the theory of evolution for example, when does it get made into a law, scientific laws have to be absolute fact, so that does that mean that every single organism that ever existed would have to be tested to provide evidence of evolution for evolution to become a law? Another question which could be posed is how vast quantities of differentiating things are tested, an example of this is if a psychologist was studying human nature, how many people should he/she experiment on to provide accurate results, and if in this case where each person or subject being studied is unique if any results which don’t match with the majority of results discount a whole experiment or are just regarded as outliers. And who definitively knows that the scientific method is the absolute best way to test hypotheses and discover new phenomena, after all wouldn’t we have to use the scientific method to test the scientific method. And after all…..

 

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Wisdom begins in wonder via picturequotes

In conclusion the scientific method is a very valuable tool, in the sense that it gives scientists a possible way to accurately verify their work and turn their observations and questions into real theories or practical solutions. The scientific method can also be useful in everyday life by providing people with a possible way to solve their own problems systematically. The most important thing a person could probably grasp from the scientific method is a sense of curiosity, which helps scientists think of new questions and search for new phenomena to test. This can also be useful in our everyday lives if we simply ask the question why. From basic (science) situations like why the sky is blue, or why can we not remember being babies to more social situations, because it’s so easy to simply stick a label on somebody, like ‘he’s crazy’ or ‘he’s a drunk’, but if you ask why these things occur, you may very well find out that these people aren’t so different from you or I. So the scientific method can be used to expand our knowledge as well as our tolerance and understanding in our everyday lives.

 

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