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Author Topic:   So I Wrote A Book On The Scientific Method
Straggler
Member (Idle past 173 days)
Posts: 10333
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 76 of 168 (733199)
07-15-2014 7:30 AM
Reply to: Message 75 by Tangle
07-15-2014 3:38 AM


Re: Please provide an authoritative source for F=ma...
Tangle writes:
My request was to find an authoritative source for the definition of a theory that includes prediction as being a necessary part.
You do agree that prediction is a necessary part of the scientific method - No?
If a theory has been constructed in accordance with the scientific method then prediction will play a key role.
I'm not sure that playing a game of definitions with the term "theory" is particularly relevant unless you:
A) Dispute that scientific theories are borne by the application of the scientific method.
OR
B) Prediction is not a necessary component of the scientific method.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 75 by Tangle, posted 07-15-2014 3:38 AM Tangle has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 77 by Tangle, posted 07-15-2014 8:25 AM Straggler has replied

  
Straggler
Member (Idle past 173 days)
Posts: 10333
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 79 of 168 (733204)
07-15-2014 8:41 AM
Reply to: Message 77 by Tangle
07-15-2014 8:25 AM


Re: Please provide an authoritative source for F=ma...
I haven't looked......
A scientific theory is produced as the result of applying the scientific method. Right?
The scientific method incorporates prediction as a key element. Right?
Ergo - Predictions are a necessary component in the formulation of scientific theories.
I'm baffled as to which part of the above you think some definition will trump. Can you think of a scientific theory in which prediction plays no part whatsoever? Just one example....?

This message is a reply to:
 Message 77 by Tangle, posted 07-15-2014 8:25 AM Tangle has not replied

  
Straggler
Member (Idle past 173 days)
Posts: 10333
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 87 of 168 (733226)
07-15-2014 11:14 AM
Reply to: Message 83 by Tangle
07-15-2014 10:24 AM


Re: Please provide an authoritative source for F=ma...
Tangle writes:
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.
That is probably because it's similar to asking 'What is the scientific method?' It looks like there should be a snappy yet all encompassing single sentence answer to that question. But really there isn't.
How about this for starters - A scientific theory is a theory arrived at through the application of the scientific method.....

This message is a reply to:
 Message 83 by Tangle, posted 07-15-2014 10:24 AM Tangle has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 88 by Tangle, posted 07-15-2014 12:43 PM Straggler has replied

  
Straggler
Member (Idle past 173 days)
Posts: 10333
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 89 of 168 (733257)
07-15-2014 1:01 PM
Reply to: Message 88 by Tangle
07-15-2014 12:43 PM


Modern Physics - Predictions
It's not just about falsification (although that is important). There is also the issue of verified predictions giving credence (sometimes considerably so) to a theory.
If a prediction is highly specific - E.g. if a particular theory predicts the existence of a specific particle with very specific measurable properties - and that prediction is verified then the theory in question gains considerable traction. Even in a situation where there are two competing theories and neither has been falsified the one that can make predictions would "win".
Most modern physics has followed that route. Everything from the Big Bang (prediction of the CMB) and General Relativity (various predictions pertaining to mass bending light etc.) to anti-matter (predicted by Dirac on the basis of mathematical extrapolation) and QED right up to the Higgs Boson.

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 Message 88 by Tangle, posted 07-15-2014 12:43 PM Tangle has not replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 90 by NoNukes, posted 07-15-2014 1:44 PM Straggler has replied

  
Straggler
Member (Idle past 173 days)
Posts: 10333
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 91 of 168 (733290)
07-15-2014 4:05 PM
Reply to: Message 90 by NoNukes
07-15-2014 1:44 PM


Re: Modern Physics - Predictions
How did Big Bang theory overcome steady state theory in your opinion? Why was the discovery of anti-matter considered the making of Dirac as a theorist in your opinion? Why was the discovery of the Higgs Boson considered important for the validity of the standard model? Why does the discovery of Tiktaalik confirm both evolutionary theory and the geological models that underpin evolutionary theory?
Modern science is built in verification of predictions. Whatever Popper does or does not say about that...

This message is a reply to:
 Message 90 by NoNukes, posted 07-15-2014 1:44 PM NoNukes has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 92 by New Cat's Eye, posted 07-15-2014 4:13 PM Straggler has replied
 Message 94 by NoNukes, posted 07-15-2014 5:20 PM Straggler has not replied
 Message 98 by xongsmith, posted 07-16-2014 4:12 AM Straggler has replied

  
Straggler
Member (Idle past 173 days)
Posts: 10333
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 93 of 168 (733293)
07-15-2014 4:50 PM
Reply to: Message 92 by New Cat's Eye
07-15-2014 4:13 PM


Re: Modern Physics - Predictions
Bzzzzt!!
Try again!! :tonguebackatya:

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 Message 92 by New Cat's Eye, posted 07-15-2014 4:13 PM New Cat's Eye has not replied

  
Straggler
Member (Idle past 173 days)
Posts: 10333
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 99 of 168 (733328)
07-16-2014 6:10 AM
Reply to: Message 98 by xongsmith
07-16-2014 4:12 AM


Re: Modern Physics - Predictions
What theories may or may not be forthcoming in the future has little bearing on how we compare competing theories in the present.
If you want to know which of two un-falsified scientific theories (e.g. Big Bang and Steady State theories circa 1960) is superior then the answer is the one that accurately and correctly predicts new observable phenomena.
Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 98 by xongsmith, posted 07-16-2014 4:12 AM xongsmith has not replied

  
Straggler
Member (Idle past 173 days)
Posts: 10333
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 109 of 168 (733369)
07-16-2014 4:32 PM
Reply to: Message 108 by Tangle
07-16-2014 4:25 PM


Re: Please provide an authoritative source for F=ma...
In terms of actual practical usefulness quite the opposite is true.
The application of any theory will involve the expectation that future events will conform to the results the theory predicts.
If you build a satellite and put it into orbit (for example) you do so based on the expectation that the results predicted by the General Theory of relativity will be correct.
The same is true for any other application of any other scientific theory is it not?

This message is a reply to:
 Message 108 by Tangle, posted 07-16-2014 4:25 PM Tangle has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 110 by Tangle, posted 07-16-2014 4:48 PM Straggler has replied

  
Straggler
Member (Idle past 173 days)
Posts: 10333
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 129 of 168 (733566)
07-18-2014 11:34 AM
Reply to: Message 110 by Tangle
07-16-2014 4:48 PM


Paradigm Shifts
Well, no. Anomolies, behaviours that do not fit with the predictions of otherwise highly validated theories, are in part how science progresses.
Why are we looking for dark matter? Because the results predicted by our otherwise highly successful theories don't fit with the observed facts. So we know something is missing from our overall theory.
How did Newtonian physics get superseded by relativity and quantum mechanics? Again - Anomolies in expected results (AKA predictions). But Newtonian mechanics didn't suddenly change it's status from fact to theory or vice versa because of this did it?
That we can successfully predict a lot of things doesn't suddenly make our theory a fact. And the discovery of anomoloies where observation doesn't fit theory doesn't suddenly make facts into theories either.
Tangle writes:
Sure, a theory is open to disproof, it has to be, but no-one really doubts that it will be.
As per the examples above in the case of well established theories with a track record of successful predictions it is rarely a case of disproof so much as paradigm shift
quote:
An epistemological paradigm shift was called a "scientific revolution" by epistemologist and historian of science Thomas Kuhn in his book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.
A scientific revolution occurs, according to Kuhn, when scientists encounter anomalies that cannot be explained by the universally accepted paradigm within which scientific progress has thereto been made. The paradigm, in Kuhn's view, is not simply the current theory, but the entire worldview in which it exists, and all of the implications which come with it. This is based on features of landscape of knowledge that scientists can identify around them.
There are anomalies for all paradigms, Kuhn maintained, that are brushed away as acceptable levels of error, or simply ignored and not dealt with (a principal argument Kuhn uses to reject Karl Popper's model of falsifiability as the key force involved in scientific change).

This message is a reply to:
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