Tag: Scientific Method

The GOP is now the Science Party, eh?

Here’s the latest GOP “stall tactic” in a very long parade of stall tactics:

Global-Warming Scientists ‘Need to Go Back to Square One,’ Rep. Barton Says

By Karen Schuberg, March 03, 2010

Science is verifiable, science is something that can be replicated,” Barton, the ranking Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, told CNSNews.com.

This whole theory of global warming is just that:  It’s a theory.  It’s based on models.  Models are based on variables, and conditions that the modelers that develop the models put into them.  And the models don’t replicate what’s happened,” Barton said. “So (scientists) need to go back to square one, look at the empirical data, look at alternative theories, and see if they can find a theory that actually fits the facts.”


Sounds much more like Fudging the Science, to me …

Things That I do not Understand 20091124

As a professional scientist, I am accustomed to observing some phenomenon that is interesting to me, wondering about its significance, looking at background data (if any exist, and yes, “data” is the plural form of “datum”), and then trying to figure out the principles behind.

That works well, for the most part, in systems that can be controlled and only one variable at a time changed.  That is the essence of the scientific method as it generally practiced.  I dispensed with the classical steps, which are observation, formulation of a hypothesis, experimentally testing the hypothesis, refining or rejecting the hypothesis, and then doing more and better experimental tests to test the hypothesis further.  If one is very lucky, the refined hypothesis becomes a theory, and if no exception after crushing peer review, becomes a principle or a law.

Pique the Geek 20090726, Phlogiston, the “Perfect” Theory of Combustion in the 18th Century

Back in the days when energy was not understood, but after the Aristotelian ideas of the elements were being shot down, folks became interested with why fire “works”.  That is not in the least odd, since fire has been simultaneously our best friend and our worst enemy.

Without fire, food would be rather indigestible, especially meats and starchy things.  With the heat from fire, those become much better sources of digestible nutrition.  With fire, our living structures become comfortable, and without it chillingly cold and very harsh.

But fire has its own way of doing things.  Uncontrolled, it is one of most destructive natural, or human created, forces.  But it is NOT an element.  Neither is Earth, Air, nor Water.