The Empirical Scientific Method


May 26, 2019

Empirical scientific method

The Empirical Scientific Method 

The following set of rules defines the scientific empirical method: -

  • Observe an event or phenomenon and gather as much information about it as possible. Compare what other people have observed.
  • Identify patterns in the observations and put numbers on the data. When feasible, fit equations to the numbers.
  • Describe the phenomenon, together with mathematics. That description is then a hypothesis.
  • •Perform experiments to gather further data to determine how well the hypothesis predicts independent future observations and data. This crucial experimental step ‘closes the loop’ on the hypothesis because, without experimentation, it will be impossible to understand what is happening deeply.
  • If preliminary results differ from those predicted by the hypothesis, then the explanation must be modified or even rejected, with a reexamination of the assumptions made in developing the hypothesis.
  • If the hypothesis successfully predicts the results of more than one experiment, a scientific theory will have been formulated.
  • If two or more theories successfully predict a phenomenon well, choose the most straightforward one. This ‘principle of simplicity’ is the William of Occam approach (1280-1349), so much so that it is known as Ockham’s Razor.” William used an imaginary razor to eliminate unnecessary theories.

That then is the empirical scientific method. It is a method of testing and referring against one’s experience through observation and experiment.

Scientific Advancement

Safire project

Great leaps in science are made by scientists who are well versed in two or more scientific disciplines and see connections between them. That’s when areas in one field of study become amazingly applicable to those in the other.

We witness this occurring today when electricity and magnetism are applied to astrophysics.

Previously, the many astrophysics theories were solely based on the ‘belief’ that gravitational interactions dominate the Universe. With the application of electricity and magnetism, astrophysical phenomena are being looked at in a new light.

“What if” ideas are NOT science. Anyone can develop a “what if” statement that leads to other “what ifs.” They are NOT science because they are NOT verifiable facts.

For instance, today, astrophysicists postulate the existence of unseen entities to explain particular observations, such as so-called dark matter and dark energy, concerning the physics of spiral galaxy rotation —these “what ifs” are merely speculation.

Good science demands many reasons and confirmed scientific observations and experiments to be the foundation for every proposed theory and hypothesis – even though some of the propositions may not be correct.

“It is impossible to verify or confirm a scientific theory,” said the philosopher Karl Popper.

It is only possible to disprove a theory. No number of observations can confirm a hypothesis. However, just ONE contradictory observation is all that’s needed to refute a hypothesis.

“Good tests falsify theories,” Popper said. The line separating real science and pseudoscience is in the willingness of scientists to make testable predictions. Any theories failing these tests must be rejected.

Discarding a pet theory is sad but necessary. According to the late Dick Feynman, it makes no difference how good an argument is or how smart the theorist. If it DISAGREES with experiment, it is WRONG.

What astro scientists ought to do is to go into the lab and test their hypotheses.

Unfortunately, today’s astroscientists seem to ignore the empirical scientific method and opt to use the much easier deductive mathematics method. The scientific deductive method derives theories from assumed generalizations about the cosmos.

Mathematics is NOT science. In that discipline of the human mind, a sequence of logical steps derives a proof leading to a final statement consistent with the initial one in the derivation.

Sets of axioms and the use of logic do NOT necessarily associate with reality unless they can be demonstrated to be associated with it by observation and experiment.

You are now MUCH wiser.