Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Rational Scientific Method

The Rational Scientific Method is how intelligent beings can objectively and rationally explain phenomena and arrive at rational conclusions about reality. Using this method is how we can achieve an understanding of the world around us. There have been multiple formal presentations of the method, but they all follow the same essential principles. I have provided them below.

The Rational Scientific Method

by Monk E. Mind, posted at http://independent.academia.edu/MonkEMind/Papers

Hypothesis, Theory, and Conclusion: A Rational Scientific Method of Inquiry
In science, a definition is a limitation, or restriction on the use of a word. Scientific
definitions are rational, non-contradictory, unambiguous terms that are
consistently used, and narrowly defined by the person who is making the
hypothesis. We use adjectives to modify nouns (objects) and adverbs to qualify
verbs (concepts/phenomena).
Science in general and physics in particular, is about the physical... those things
which have physical presence. What is real. Things that exist. To exist means to
have shape, and location. That is, an object with a location. Something,
somewhere. We visualize objects, and we explain concepts. WE DO NOT
EXPLAIN OBJECTS. We point to them. We explain phenomena. Herein lies the
problems with mainstream science’s un-scientific method of inquiry.
The Scientific Method is hypothesis and theory. The conclusion is left to each
individual to make. The hypothesis includes the statement of facts, the key terms,
and the objects. The hypothesis describes the phenomena, or, illustrates the
objects, defines the key terms, then makes assumptions (a statement of facts -
not the facts themselves). Assumptions are not true or false. One does not define
objects, one illustrates them. The theory explains the hypothesis. Everyone must
decide for themselves. Each individual forms a conclusion that the theory is
either possible, or, it is not possible.
Science is about explaining. Science, in general, and Physics in particular, is
about physically present objects. Understanding the difference between objects,
and concepts allows one to rationally make a conclusion about the Key Terms,
and the statement of facts at the hypothesis stage of the Scientific Method.
Proof is for math. Science never proves. Science is about physical reality. Math
describes abstract dynamic concepts whereas science illustrates static physical
objects, and explains phenomena.
A hypothesis stands on its own. It matters not whether who agrees. The
hypothesis should illustrate the objects, define the Key Terms, and present a
statement of the facts (the assumptions). The theory then would explain the
phenomena of the hypothesis. There is no correctness or incorrectness of a
hypothesis (it is an assumption). It is either rational or not. If it is rational, we
accept the assumption of the hypothesis. Predictions and observations are
opinions, and extra-scientific.
Hypotheses are assumptions, and theories explain the hypotheses. We form a
conclusion that the theory is either possible, or it is not possible.
We describe objects in the hypothesis. We explain concepts in the theory. We
never explain objects, we illustrate them or point to them. This is why in science it
is crucial to understand the difference between objects and concepts, nouns and
verbs, adjectives and adverbs, and hypothesis and theory.
We can say: I see a field of corn. The corn stalks wave in the wind. I have a dust
particle in my eye. BUT...fields, waves, and point particles, are concepts in math
which do not exist in physical reality, and should not be presented in the
hypothesis.
"Insofar as mathematics is exact, it does not apply to reality; and insofar as
mathematics applies to reality, it is not exact." -- Einstein
The mathematical physicist uses ambiguous or contradictory terms, and even
does that inconsistently. He, or she, confuses objects with concepts, nouns with
verbs, adverbs with adjectives, and hypothesis with theory.
Reality does not depend on human perception, or observation. It is because the
human senses are limited and flawed, that science must be as objective as
possible. The scientific method is observer independent as much as possible. A
rational Key Term never invokes an observer. Although our senses are limited,
there is no limit to our intellect.
One must apply rationality, reasoning, and critical thought at the conceptual
stage in the hypothesis.
Precision is precious. Defining key terms is critically important. Understanding
the difference between concepts and objects is essential in dealing with science.
In science, one must be able to visualize the concrete object. Objects must be
illustrated in the hypothesis. The objects are the ‘actors’, the KEY TERMS make
clear the meaning (of the script) and the statement of facts sets the initial ‘scene’
for the theory. The dynamic concept(s) in the theory is/are describing the
phenomena of the hypothesis. The hypothesis is a photo (static), the theory is a
movie (dynamic).
Each person takes away their own conclusion as to whether the ‘story’ was
possible or not.
Most important are the KEY TERMS, and these words have meaning as defined
by the theorist. In science, one can only use objects which can be illustrated in
the hypothesis. If it can not be illustrated or visualized, then it is not real, it has no
physical presence. What is not physical, has no place in science.
Science, especially Physics is conceptual. Technology (mostly trial & error)
is empirical.
Planes that fly, microwaves that heat, and GPS devices that measure your
position, work primarily because of technology through trial and error…not
because the theories that they are supposedly founded upon are ‘correct’.
The problem lies in the confusion between objects and concepts. There is no
good way to discuss General, or Special Relativity, Quantum Mechanics, or
String Theory until the point, line, and plane can be defined and understood.
Math attempts to describe dynamic concepts by moving numbers. Physics is
about reality. What exists, that is physically present objects with location, and
that are made up of matter. These are static, and can be photographed, or
illustrated. But we must be able to define what ‘exist’ means.

Universe: matter (atoms) and space (nothing)
Concept: the relationship between two or more objects
Object: that which has shape
Space: that which does not have shape
Exist: matter + location
Location: the set of static distances from one to all other objects
Motion: Object + 2 or more locations

Theoretical physics, Newtonian physics, ToR and QM don't explain anything,
they describe. These theories predict, or describe, but do not explain. It is not
interesting that Newton tells me an apple falls at 9.8 meters per ft per second per
second. I want to know why. I can point at an apple and say. “Look it is falling
real fast.” So what? What is the physical medium that attracts objects to each
other? That is the question for science. Math 'predicts' how fast something falls to
the ground, but says nothing about why.
“Since the mathematicians have invaded the theory of relativity, I do not
understand it myself anymore.”—Albert Einstein
Ptolemy ‘predicted' to a high degree of accuracy the position of the planets in the
solar system. Except that he had the earth in the center. That does not help
explain why the planets orbit in elliptical paths and don't fly out into space.
What about these 'predictions'? If I observe an apple fall a few times, and
measure its speed and distance traveled, I can 'predict' how fast an apple falls.
What does that tell me? It does not tell me when an apple is going to fall. Now
THAT would be a real prediction. Something that already happened
(consummated event) is described and should then be explained. Something that
we have observed happen repeatedly can lead us to think that there is a high
degree of probability that it will happen that way again, but that is not really a
prediction. It's an educated guess.
Belief, truth, evidence, and proof are not part of the scientific method. The SM is
observer-independent. Experiments, and observation are extra-scientific.
Science (especially theoretical physics) is conceptual. Technology (mostly trial &
error) is empirical.
Here’s the root of the problem with the currently taught Scientific Method: It all
revolves around simple misunderstandings of basic physical reality, brought on
by the inability to determine the difference between an object and a concept, and
the inability to precisely and consistently define terms upon which a theory
depends.
At the root of relativity and Quantum Mechanics problem is Euclidean geometry.
Because the point, the line, and the plane are not defined, or, are defined
ambiguously (using abstract concepts instead of objects) they do not represent
actual physical reality! A rather shaky basis on which to form the physical ‘laws’
of the universe such as SR, GR, and QM.
With the Rational Scientific Method :
Hypothesis: We define our key terms, and make a statement of the facts (the
assumptions). We assume in the hypothesis stage. If the assumptions are
rational, then we can proceed to the theory.
The objects of the hypothesis are described or illustrated (a photograph-static).
Theory: explains the hypothesis; phenomena, such as motion or process, (a
movie-dynamic).
Conclusion: possible or not possible? Everyone decides for themselves.
If the KEY TERMS of the hypothesis are ambiguous, circular, synonymous, or
contradictory, then the theorist should throw out the hypothesis, or present
precise, rational definitions of KEY TERMS upon which the hypothesis depends.
The theory is where we present a ‘movie’ or series of illustrations of the
phenomena, or process, involved in explaining the hypothesis. Then, and only
then, can we form our conclusion.
If we conclude the theory is irrational, and therefore not possible, we throw the
theory out.
If we conclude that the theory is possible, then we publish a paper, or stand
around the water cooler telling people about it, or simply move on to the next
thing on our agenda. If we conclude that the theory is possible, but not the
complete explanation, we form another hypothesis based upon the theory, and
build upon it. The flat earth becomes the round earth, which becomes the oblate
spheroid...
Once the theory is presented, science is done! The conclusion is left up to
each individual.

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This document can be found on the Rational Science facebook group.

The Gaedean Scientific Method

Introduction
Science is the body of papers accumulated over the years that follow the ‘scientific method’. The ‘scientific method’ is a rational way of presenting explanations. This rational way of presenting explanations consists of three steps: 1) hypothesis, 2) theory, 3) conclusions. Each step is based upon the one prior. If an explanation has been given in accordance with the scientific method, then it is a scientific explanation and a rational explanation – thereby an explanation which one has good reason to believe. Finally, we will then conclude by explaining what the scientific method is not.

Step 1: Hypothesis
A hypothesis is comprised of a) exhibits, b) definitions, and c) a statement of the facts/assumptions.

a) Exhibits
  • Exhibits are objects and only objects.
This is because you ‘need to be able to visualise’ what is being referred to later in Step 2: Theory.
  • Exhibits are evidence.

b) Definitions
  • Define the key terms which make or break the theory.
  • Definitions are limitations placed on a word’s utility or extent.
This is because by defining as many differentiating qualities about a concept as possible one may reduce the breadth of the word being used and zero-in on the description with the most necessary precision. A perfect definition is one that has been refined to the point where everyone interprets exactly the same thing.
  • Only define concepts not objects.
  • Instead of defining objects, point to the image and name it.
Object is a word which is a category including only those words which represent shapes. The objects should be exhibits.

c) Statement of the Facts/Assumptions
  • Describes an object or tells us what happened in an event.
  • Addresses all necessary how questions, and does not address why questions.
In order to understand conceptually how this is done, the following digression regarding fact hood must be made: 
  • Fact/Truth = The Universal Movie
Visualise a movie consisting of movie-frames/photographs of the entire universe:
  • Every frame contains every single object in existence.
  • Each object is distinct from one another, with definite location.
  • There is no real movement in such a movie, and it would be perceived only due to memory of past frames when the movie is played.
  • Therefore, each fame contains only shapes. The universal movie is an endless collection of frames with shapes arranged inside.
Such a movie would be fact hood. An uninterrupted sequence of locations of every atom in the universe.
  • Statement of the facts consists of the selection of the clips from the Universal Movie/Fact necessary to keep in mind for the theory in question to be understood.
In the following diagram, the clear frames in B are objective evidence/exhibits/evidence, and the filled in frames are subjective testimony from the observer concerning the event or object in question. The frames can be judged to be objective only in as much as they correspond perfectly with regards to the locations of objects in fact, and not with judgements.
A= Universal Movie/Fact/Truth
B= Statement of the Facts/Assumptions and Evidence: Subjective testimony (filled in frames), and objective declaration/exhibits/evidence (clear frames).
  • The Statement of the Facts is not truth, or fact, but opinion which may be ‘relatively objective’ (‘true’) or subjective (false). However, ultimately, the Statement of the Facts is always subjective.
  • The Statement of the Facts is an opinion of what the facts were, presented in the form of an assumption, but is not fact itself.
  • They are your opinion about what you saw, not what you thought you saw or wanted to have seen.
  • An exhibit, is fact or evidence, when pointed at and named, it is a statement of the facts.
  • Fact is neither theory nor knowledge, and is not established democratically.
  • There is no observer of fact. It cannot be observed. Observation implies subjectivity, so in trying to understand fact, “kill the observer," i.e. do not invoke observer-dependent concepts.
  • Rates, ratios and relations may be components of the statement of the facts.
  • You must be able to take the statement of the facts at face value, and if they do not appear logically invalid or inconsistent then they may be rejected as grounding for your theory.

Step 2: Theory
  • A particular version of how or why events happened.
  • Speculation about some of the missing frames of the Universal Movie.
  • Possible clips of the Universal Movie inferred from assumptions and reasoning.
  • Must be visualisable.
  • Must follow from the assumptions and evidence, i.e. is logically valid.
The following diagram shows that theories fill in the blanks in order to infer how or why events in the assumptions occurred.
  • Do not become fact if accepted by the majority.
  • If accepted by the majority, theories become assumptions in the statement of the facts, i.e. they undergo a Kuhnian ‘paradigm shift’ and are taken for granted.

Stage 3: Conclusions
  • The verdict and opinion on the theory. Conclusions are only objectively: possible or not possible.
  • Synthesises inferences.
  • Tells us what experimentation or data we may need to verify the theory.
  • Multiple opinions may be formed and debated over given that both parties forming these opinions accept the theory.

Example of the Entire Scientific Method from p.57
Hypothesis (assumptions)
  • Exhibits: Earth, Sun, space
  • Definitions: object, motion, space, mass, planet
  • Statement of the facts: The Earth goes around the Sun. 
Theory (explanation): 
  • The reason that our planet orbits the Sun is that the Sun’s mass warps the space around it. The Earth is a little ball rolling around an enormous roulette.
Conclusions (opinions):
  • 1st opinion: The Earth touches space and we should be able to run an experiment to verify warped space.
  • 2nd opinion:  Warped space is a mathematical abstraction and is beyond experimentation.

What the Scientific Method is not

1)      The purpose of the Scientific Method is not coming about with a description, but an explanation.
Contrary to the historic development of science, a proper theory which consists of mathematics is not a theory at all because mathematics only has the power to describe – and then only quantitatively. With the RSM, we hypothesize objects to explain phenomena.

2)      The Scientific Method, after the hypothesis, is observer free
That is to say, the theory is not an observation or description, but an explanation. The theory is not acceptable just because you can observe it to be true, in which case it is self evident, the theory is acceptable because it offers a rational explanation. This is the definition of objective.

3)      The purpose of the Scientific Method is not for facilitating prediction.
A prediction is a description about a consummated event in the future. We make predictions when we think we know, based upon experience, that an event will occur. The fact that we can explain why an event will occur inherently facilitates prediction in the future, but prediction is not the purpose of the scientific method itself, the purpose of the scientific method itself is associated with the past, namely the mechanisms and causes (i.e. objects) which may be invoked as explanations for an event.

4)      The purpose of the Scientific Method is not for facilitating experimentation or tests.
The results of experimentation or tests only have a place in the hypothesis as evidence, they themselves may never be the theory itself, or ‘proof’ that your theory is correct. If evidence proves a theory, then there is no theory.

5)      The purpose of the Scientific Method is not to give us knowledge of the truth.
The purpose is to explain and fill in the gaps in the hypothesis stage. Whether you accept it as truth or not is your opinion, a matter of debate, and confined to the conclusions stage. The same goes for being a ‘proof’ that your beliefs are true. If the truth or proof is so clear as a result of your engagement in the Scientific Method, then there would be no need for theories in the first place, but pure hypotheses which can be accepted at face value.

1 comment:

  1. We must also distinguish between science and technology.

    Technology depends on science but science of everyday things within the reality we actually live in depends upon technology to certify to its (science) validity.

    What about the science of say socalled quantum mechanics, how does technology realize a feature of the socalled science of quantum mechanics when quantum mechanics is about the realm of sub-atomic world, while we are as we are into technology in the realm of the macroscopic world -- we don't exist, live, and operate in the microscopic world of sub-atomic dimensions.

    Particle physics can find confirmation in technology, but quantum mechanics?



    Odrareg

    ReplyDelete