Register | Sign In


Understanding through Discussion


EvC Forum active members: 48 (9179 total)
2 online now:
Newest Member: Jorge Parker
Post Volume: Total: 918,231 Year: 5,488/9,624 Month: 513/323 Week: 10/143 Day: 0/10 Hour: 0/0


Thread  Details

Email This Thread
Newer Topic | Older Topic
  
Author Topic:   So I Wrote A Book On The Scientific Method
Tangle
Member
Posts: 9539
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 4.0


Message 48 of 168 (733008)
07-13-2014 12:19 PM


Can anyone put me straight - does a scientific theory HAVE to be predictive? Is explanatory enough? I need a credible reference either way.

Life, don't talk to me about life - Marvin the Paranoid Android
"Science adjusts it's views based on what's observed.
Faith is the denial of observation so that Belief can be preserved."
- Tim Minchin, in his beat poem, Storm.

Replies to this message:
 Message 49 by ramoss, posted 07-13-2014 1:24 PM Tangle has not replied
 Message 50 by NoNukes, posted 07-13-2014 1:26 PM Tangle has replied
 Message 59 by RAZD, posted 07-13-2014 5:20 PM Tangle has replied

  
Tangle
Member
Posts: 9539
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 4.0


Message 51 of 168 (733015)
07-13-2014 1:43 PM
Reply to: Message 50 by NoNukes
07-13-2014 1:26 PM


NoNukes writes:
A description that makes no predictions is untestable.
Is it? It seems to me that geological theories are explanations of the past that can not be tested by looking to the future. At the moment lots of social science's theories seem only capable of explaining past events. And a theory can be disproved by past evidence coming to light.
BUT, I agree, a good theory should provide predictions; my question is whether that is a requirement.

Life, don't talk to me about life - Marvin the Paranoid Android
"Science adjusts it's views based on what's observed.
Faith is the denial of observation so that Belief can be preserved."
- Tim Minchin, in his beat poem, Storm.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 50 by NoNukes, posted 07-13-2014 1:26 PM NoNukes has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 52 by ringo, posted 07-13-2014 2:54 PM Tangle has replied
 Message 56 by NoNukes, posted 07-13-2014 4:27 PM Tangle has not replied

  
Tangle
Member
Posts: 9539
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 4.0


Message 53 of 168 (733033)
07-13-2014 3:18 PM
Reply to: Message 52 by ringo
07-13-2014 2:54 PM


dead ringer writes:
You don't predict our future; you predict the future of the events you are trying to explain, which are in our past. Or, as Fred Flintstone would say, "This week was next week last week."
We can show that the planets follow a particular rule by predicting their movements, where they will be at a particular time in the future. It's a very strong form of evidence. Theoretical physicists predict the existence of various particles and experiments find them - sometimes many years later.
My question is whether prediction is necessary.

Life, don't talk to me about life - Marvin the Paranoid Android
"Science adjusts it's views based on what's observed.
Faith is the denial of observation so that Belief can be preserved."
- Tim Minchin, in his beat poem, Storm.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 52 by ringo, posted 07-13-2014 2:54 PM ringo has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 54 by ringo, posted 07-13-2014 3:33 PM Tangle has replied

  
Tangle
Member
Posts: 9539
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 4.0


Message 55 of 168 (733040)
07-13-2014 3:40 PM
Reply to: Message 54 by ringo
07-13-2014 3:33 PM


ZR writes:
The scientific method is a cycle of predictions and testing predictions.
Well I tend to agree and that has always been my understanding, but, I have so far been unable to find an authoritative source that says it's a requirement. have found a few that don't seem to require it.

Life, don't talk to me about life - Marvin the Paranoid Android
"Science adjusts it's views based on what's observed.
Faith is the denial of observation so that Belief can be preserved."
- Tim Minchin, in his beat poem, Storm.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 54 by ringo, posted 07-13-2014 3:33 PM ringo has seen this message but not replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 57 by NoNukes, posted 07-13-2014 4:29 PM Tangle has not replied

  
Tangle
Member
Posts: 9539
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 4.0


Message 60 of 168 (733066)
07-13-2014 5:35 PM
Reply to: Message 59 by RAZD
07-13-2014 5:20 PM


Re: Just a thought ...
RAZD writes:
Is this not how the theory of evolution explains the fossil evidence and predicts that any new fossil finds will be explained by the theory?
I don't think so. What it does is explain the fossils we find. Finding another fossil tomorrow has no predictive ability. (Except, of course, the rabbit in the wrong strata which is cool but not necessary to explain the theory).
I thought that I would find something definitive at talkorigins - but see if you can find the word 'prediction' on this page:
Evolution is a Fact and a Theory

Life, don't talk to me about life - Marvin the Paranoid Android
"Science adjusts it's views based on what's observed.
Faith is the denial of observation so that Belief can be preserved."
- Tim Minchin, in his beat poem, Storm.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 59 by RAZD, posted 07-13-2014 5:20 PM RAZD has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 61 by NoNukes, posted 07-13-2014 6:08 PM Tangle has not replied
 Message 63 by RAZD, posted 07-13-2014 8:34 PM Tangle has not replied
 Message 66 by ramoss, posted 07-13-2014 11:22 PM Tangle has not replied

  
Tangle
Member
Posts: 9539
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 4.0


Message 67 of 168 (733098)
07-14-2014 4:44 AM


I'm not arguing that predictions are not good and useful things for a theory to have, I'm asking whether they are necessary and, if so, can someone point me to a formal definition which includes it. I would have thought that someone who wrote a book on the scientific method might have included such a thing ;-)
As an example I've just read the first chapter in Aker's & Sellers book 'Criminological Theories' which opens with the heading 'What is a theory?' and completely ignores the ability to predict. (Although, of course, it's inferred. Deterrence theory predicts that punishment deters crime.)
Here's a couple:
[Scientific theories] make statements about relationships between observable phenomena. (Berbard, Snipes, & Gerould, 2014)
A theory is a set of interconnected statements or propositions that explain how two or more events or factors are related to one another. (Curren and Renzetti 2001)

Life, don't talk to me about life - Marvin the Paranoid Android
"Science adjusts it's views based on what's observed.
Faith is the denial of observation so that Belief can be preserved."
- Tim Minchin, in his beat poem, Storm.

Replies to this message:
 Message 68 by Dr Adequate, posted 07-14-2014 5:24 AM Tangle has not replied
 Message 70 by NoNukes, posted 07-14-2014 7:22 AM Tangle has replied

  
Tangle
Member
Posts: 9539
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 4.0


Message 71 of 168 (733178)
07-14-2014 5:08 PM
Reply to: Message 70 by NoNukes
07-14-2014 7:22 AM


NoNukes writes:
Predictions are necessary because they are a required part of the scientific method.
Quite so. So I expect you will be able to demonstrate that rather than simply assert it. That's all I'm asking. Point me to an authorative source.

Life, don't talk to me about life - Marvin the Paranoid Android
"Science adjusts it's views based on what's observed.
Faith is the denial of observation so that Belief can be preserved."
- Tim Minchin, in his beat poem, Storm.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 70 by NoNukes, posted 07-14-2014 7:22 AM NoNukes has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 72 by Dr Adequate, posted 07-14-2014 8:14 PM Tangle has not replied
 Message 73 by Dr Adequate, posted 07-14-2014 8:52 PM Tangle has not replied
 Message 74 by NoNukes, posted 07-14-2014 10:53 PM Tangle has replied

  
Tangle
Member
Posts: 9539
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 4.0


Message 75 of 168 (733198)
07-15-2014 3:38 AM
Reply to: Message 74 by NoNukes
07-14-2014 10:53 PM


Re: Please provide an authoritative source for F=ma...
NoNukes writes:
I challenge you to find a serious article on the scientific method that does not require prediction as a method of testing hypothesis. I asked you for references, but you did not see any reason to answer my request or my criticisms of what you did provide.
My request was to find an authoritative source for the definition of a theory that includes prediction as being a necessary part. I provided two quotes which don't contain it and a book which has a whole chapter dedicated to describing a theory which does not mention predictive ability at all.
I agree that both random websites and random scientific papers use the terms but that is not what I asked.

Life, don't talk to me about life - Marvin the Paranoid Android
"Science adjusts it's views based on what's observed.
Faith is the denial of observation so that Belief can be preserved."
- Tim Minchin, in his beat poem, Storm.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 74 by NoNukes, posted 07-14-2014 10:53 PM NoNukes has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 76 by Straggler, posted 07-15-2014 7:30 AM Tangle has replied
 Message 78 by NoNukes, posted 07-15-2014 8:39 AM Tangle has not replied
 Message 81 by NoNukes, posted 07-15-2014 8:53 AM Tangle has replied

  
Tangle
Member
Posts: 9539
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 4.0


Message 77 of 168 (733200)
07-15-2014 8:25 AM
Reply to: Message 76 by Straggler
07-15-2014 7:30 AM


Re: Please provide an authoritative source for F=ma...
I guess this means you can't find one either

Life, don't talk to me about life - Marvin the Paranoid Android
"Science adjusts it's views based on what's observed.
Faith is the denial of observation so that Belief can be preserved."
- Tim Minchin, in his beat poem, Storm.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 76 by Straggler, posted 07-15-2014 7:30 AM Straggler has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 79 by Straggler, posted 07-15-2014 8:41 AM Tangle has not replied

  
Tangle
Member
Posts: 9539
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 4.0


Message 80 of 168 (733205)
07-15-2014 8:44 AM


Thanks to Dr A. I was reminded of Karl Popper - who, to answer NN, I do regard as authoritative.
The fourth and final step is the testing of a theory by the empirical application of the conclusions derived from it. If such conclusions are shown to be true, the theory is corroborated (but never verified). If the conclusion is shown to be false, then this is taken as a signal that the theory cannot be completely correct (logically the theory is falsified), and the scientist begins his quest for a better theory. He does not, however, abandon the present theory until such time as he has a better one to substitute for it. More precisely, the method of theory-testing is as follows: certain singular propositions are deduced from the new theorythese are predictions, and of special interest are those predictions which are ‘risky’ (in the sense of being intuitively implausible or of being startlingly novel) and experimentally testable. From amongst the latter the scientist next selects those which are not derivable from the current or existing theoryof particular importance are those which contradict the current or existing theory. He then seeks a decision as regards these and other derived statements by comparing them with the results of practical applications and experimentation. If the new predictions are borne out, then the new theory is corroborated (and the old one falsified), and is adopted as a working hypothesis. If the predictions are not borne out, then they falsify the theory from which they are derived. Thus Popper retains an element of empiricism: for him scientific method does involve making an appeal to experience. But unlike traditional empiricists, Popper holds that experience cannot determine theory (i.e., we do not argue or infer from observation to theory), it rather delimits it: it shows which theories are false, not which theories are true. Moreover, Popper also rejects the empiricist doctrine that empirical observations are, or can be, infallible, in view of the fact that they are themselves theory-laden.
Karl Popper (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)
Somewhere in there is probably the source quote I'm looking for.

Life, don't talk to me about life - Marvin the Paranoid Android
"Science adjusts it's views based on what's observed.
Faith is the denial of observation so that Belief can be preserved."
- Tim Minchin, in his beat poem, Storm.

Replies to this message:
 Message 82 by NoNukes, posted 07-15-2014 8:59 AM Tangle has not replied

  
Tangle
Member
Posts: 9539
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 4.0


Message 83 of 168 (733210)
07-15-2014 10:24 AM
Reply to: Message 81 by NoNukes
07-15-2014 8:53 AM


Re: Please provide an authoritative source for F=ma...
NN writes:
You provided two non-authoritative sources by your own definition. Your sources do not say that theory does not require prediction or even raise a question about that proposition. They simply do not say anything at all on the subject. My references were at least as authoritative as yours. And your web page did not even associate theory with the scientific method.
It does get quite tedious having to say the same thing over and over. But hey-ho.
The whole point of the two references was to show that some definitions of a scientific theory do not include anything about prediction - and they are from people well regarded n their field.
This prompted me to find a formal definition of a scientific theory - I am looking for a definition of a theory that specifically includes the word in its primary definition. It's proving remarkably hard.

Life, don't talk to me about life - Marvin the Paranoid Android
"Science adjusts it's views based on what's observed.
Faith is the denial of observation so that Belief can be preserved."
- Tim Minchin, in his beat poem, Storm.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 81 by NoNukes, posted 07-15-2014 8:53 AM NoNukes has not replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 84 by New Cat's Eye, posted 07-15-2014 10:42 AM Tangle has replied
 Message 87 by Straggler, posted 07-15-2014 11:14 AM Tangle has replied
 Message 97 by sfs, posted 07-15-2014 8:18 PM Tangle has not replied

  
Tangle
Member
Posts: 9539
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 4.0


Message 85 of 168 (733222)
07-15-2014 11:05 AM
Reply to: Message 84 by New Cat's Eye
07-15-2014 10:42 AM


Re: Please provide an authoritative source for F=ma...
Yes, I started with the wiki - but I'm looking for an authoritative original source that has prediction as part of its definition. Along the lines of:
A scientific theory makes statements about relationships between observable phenomena. For a theory to be scientific, these statements must be predictive, testable and falsifiable. (Wanker, 2014)

Life, don't talk to me about life - Marvin the Paranoid Android
"Science adjusts it's views based on what's observed.
Faith is the denial of observation so that Belief can be preserved."
- Tim Minchin, in his beat poem, Storm.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 84 by New Cat's Eye, posted 07-15-2014 10:42 AM New Cat's Eye has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 86 by New Cat's Eye, posted 07-15-2014 11:13 AM Tangle has not replied

  
Tangle
Member
Posts: 9539
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 4.0


Message 88 of 168 (733240)
07-15-2014 12:43 PM
Reply to: Message 87 by Straggler
07-15-2014 11:14 AM


Re: Please provide an authoritative source for F=ma...
I think I have the authoritive work, but in doing so I've found a 500+ page document with prediction dealt with on pages 9 & 10. However, Popper says that empirical testing - falsifying predictions - is only one of three methods that can be used. No doubt this is disccussed in far greater detail than I'm up for at the moment.
http://strangebeautiful.com/...ogic-scientific-discovery.pdf

Life, don't talk to me about life - Marvin the Paranoid Android
"Science adjusts it's views based on what's observed.
Faith is the denial of observation so that Belief can be preserved."
- Tim Minchin, in his beat poem, Storm.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 87 by Straggler, posted 07-15-2014 11:14 AM Straggler has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 89 by Straggler, posted 07-15-2014 1:01 PM Tangle has not replied
 Message 100 by ringo, posted 07-16-2014 1:45 PM Tangle has replied
 Message 105 by NoNukes, posted 07-16-2014 3:36 PM Tangle has not replied

  
Tangle
Member
Posts: 9539
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 4.0


Message 95 of 168 (733305)
07-15-2014 6:18 PM
Reply to: Message 94 by NoNukes
07-15-2014 5:20 PM


Re: Modern Physics - Predictions
and now imagine debating Popper

Life, don't talk to me about life - Marvin the Paranoid Android
"Science adjusts it's views based on what's observed.
Faith is the denial of observation so that Belief can be preserved."
- Tim Minchin, in his beat poem, Storm.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 94 by NoNukes, posted 07-15-2014 5:20 PM NoNukes has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 96 by NoNukes, posted 07-15-2014 6:50 PM Tangle has not replied

  
Tangle
Member
Posts: 9539
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 4.0


Message 101 of 168 (733352)
07-16-2014 2:09 PM
Reply to: Message 100 by ringo
07-16-2014 1:45 PM


Re: Please provide an authoritative source for F=ma...
Dead Ringer writes:
Argument from authority is bad... m'kay?
Only if you're a pedant. Not everyone's opinion is equal; there's nothing wrong in quoting from those who have a proven reputation in the field.

Life, don't talk to me about life - Marvin the Paranoid Android
"Science adjusts it's views based on what's observed.
Faith is the denial of observation so that Belief can be preserved."
- Tim Minchin, in his beat poem, Storm.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 100 by ringo, posted 07-16-2014 1:45 PM ringo has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 102 by ringo, posted 07-16-2014 2:14 PM Tangle has replied

  
Newer Topic | Older Topic
Jump to:


Copyright 2001-2023 by EvC Forum, All Rights Reserved

™ Version 4.2
Innovative software from Qwixotic © 2024