Teach Me Science

Creationism, Evolution, and other science issues

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DavidLeon
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Teach Me Science

Post #1

Post by DavidLeon »

What is the scientific method and how is it different than the way we teach and learn ourselves? If I were the inventor of the airplane wouldn't I be employing the methodology of science just as if I were learning how to change a flat tire or make a website? How would they be similar and how would they differ?
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Re: Teach Me Science

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Post by Miles »

DavidLeon wrote:What is the scientific method and how is it different than the way we teach and learn ourselves?
The scientific method is composed of steps done in a specific order so as to answer a question. Here's a fairly good representation.

Image
And it is a way we learn, but certainly not the only one. Just think of all the ways we learn by simply reading, watching, and listening.
If I were the inventor of the airplane wouldn't I be employing the methodology of science just as if I were learning how to change a flat tire or make a website?
It all depends on your needs. The scientific method as used within science is to gain knowledge about natural phenomena. In a less ridged form it is sometimes used to answer more mundane questions, such as "What happened to my car last night? It isn't where I left it." Typically the steps are never explicitly considered, but happen in the same order because it makes sense.

Ask a question:
What happened to my car?
Do background research: Consider people who may have had access to it
Construct a hypothesis: My sister had access to it and needed it to go somewhere and didn't park it where I left it
Test with an experiment: Ask my sister
Procedure working? Yup. She said that's exactly what happened and that she parked it down the street
Draw conclusion: My car is parked down the street
Results align with hypothesis: yup
Communicate results: Tell sister that if she ever wants to use the car again she better park it in the same place she got it from.

So, do you need to know about some natural phenomenon in order to make an airplane? Kind of doubtful I'd think, but it's almost a given that you'll use the steps of the scientific method to resolve some other question: "Why is the flapper valve on the chime chamber flapping out of sync?"
And, do you need to adhere to the scientific method in order to change a flat tire? It's extremely doubtful. Do you need to adhere to the scientific method in order to make a website? It's highly doubtful, but you may well use the some of steps somewhere along the way.

On the other hand, inventing is creating or designing something new. Something quite unlike finding the answer to a question.


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Last edited by Miles on Wed Jul 22, 2020 10:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Teach Me Science

Post #3

Post by DavidLeon »

Miles wrote: Wed Jul 22, 2020 4:32 pm It all depends on your needs. The scientific method as used by science is to gain knowledge about natural phenomena. In a simpler form it is sometimes used to answer more mundane questions, such as "What happened to my car last night? It isn't where I left it." Typically the steps are never explicitly considered, but happen in the same order because it makes sense.

Ask a question:
What happened to my car?
Do background research: Consider people who may have had access to it
Construct a hypothesis: My sister had access to it and needed it to go somewhere and didn't park it where I left it
Test with an experiment: Ask my sister
Procedure working? Yup. She said that's exactly what happened and that she parked it down the street
Draw conclusion: My car is parked down the street
Results align with hypothesis: yup
Communicate results: Tell sister that if she ever wants to use the car again she better park it in the same place she got it from.

So, do you need to know about some natural phenomenon in order to make an airplane? Maybe, but you probably will use the steps to resolve some question unrelated to a natural phenomenon: "Why isn't flapper valve on the fly pin flapping out of sync?" Do you need to know about about some natural phenomenon in order to change a flat tire? I highly doubtful. Do you need to know about about some natural phenomenon in order to make a website? I highly doubtful.

On the other hand, inventing is creating or designing something new. Something quite unlike finding the answer to a question.


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Actually you saved me the trouble of giving the mundane example, which is what I had in mind. It makes sense. I used to overuse a personal expression: "treading the thin line between the quixotic and the mundane." I have a uniquely practical approach to spirituality. Rather than an quixotic (idealistic to an impractical degree) I have a mundane (irreligious or more earthly than heavenly) approach. To me science is practical, but so is Buddhism.

Anyway, what often makes me look anti-science is actually just my own perception of science being misrepresented by scientific atheism in an almost Utopian fashion. Of course, I take this to extreme for my own entertainment much the same as an atheist does in their harassing the religious, but I think this is not an uncommon perception among theists. The sophomoric turnabout is fair play.

I don't think it fair to pit science against religion, or more specifically science against spirituality. They Bible and science don't always agree but is disagreement unheard of in science? I don't think so.

In going along with the nature of the Science and Religion forum, trying to avoid blaspheming either, the following:

Ask a question: Were we created by God?
Do background research: Consider people who may have had access to the information, i.e. Bible
Construct a hypothesis: The people who wrote the Bible indicate with great detail that we were created by God
Test with an experiment: Study the Bible
Procedure working? Yup. The Bible indicates we were created by God
Draw conclusion: We were created by God as the Bible says
Results align with hypothesis: yup
Communicate results: Tell the good news to the unwashed heathen, amen!

Easy now ... Easy!

Okay, so, if I want to determine if Hobbits of The Lord Of The Rings or wizards of Harry Potter are real the conclusions would be different only if I went outside of those works for the methodology. To communicate the results would amount to peer review. Up until the last couple hundred years it would have been agreed that the Bible accurately gives the account of our creation but that has changed.

So . . . how do we handle peer review, especially disagreement?
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Re: Teach Me Science

Post #4

Post by Miles »

DavidLeon wrote: Wed Jul 22, 2020 6:05 pm

In going along with the nature of the Science and Religion forum, trying to avoid blaspheming either, the following:

Ask a question: Were we created by God?
Do background research: Consider people who may have had access to the information, i.e. Bible
Construct a hypothesis: The people who wrote the Bible indicate with great detail that we were created by God
Test with an experiment: Study the Bible
Procedure working? Yup. The Bible indicates we were created by God
Draw conclusion: We were created by God as the Bible says
Results align with hypothesis: yup
Communicate results: Tell the good news to the unwashed heathen, amen!

Easy now ... Easy!

Okay, so, if I want to determine if Hobbits of The Lord Of The Rings or wizards of Harry Potter are real the conclusions would be different only if I went outside of those works for the methodology. To communicate the results would amount to peer review. Up until the last couple hundred years it would have been agreed that the Bible accurately gives the account of our creation but that has changed.
"To communicate the results would amount to peer review" Whaa? Peer review is not communicating anything to anyone. Telling you the results of my medical exam doesn't amount to a peer review of them. Peer review is the evaluation of scientific, academic, or professional work by others working in the same field.
So . . . how do we handle peer review, especially disagreement?
Are you talking about a disagreement between your conclusion and another conclusion reached by peer reviewers? If so, you loose. Virtually no one is going to care what you say if it isn't confirmed by peer review.



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Re: Teach Me Science

Post #5

Post by DavidLeon »

Miles wrote: Wed Jul 22, 2020 8:02 pm "To communicate the results would amount to peer review" Whaa? Peer review is not communicating anything to anyone. Telling you the results of my medical exam doesn't amount to a peer review of them. Peer review is the evaluation of scientific, academic, or professional work by others working in the same field.
[Laughs] Okay, maybe I'm using the wrong terminology. In your example the last step was communicate results. Who are we communicating them to? Would that likely be more accurately described as publishing?
So . . . how do we handle peer review, especially disagreement?
Miles wrote: Wed Jul 22, 2020 8:02 pmAre you talking about a disagreement between your conclusion and another conclusion reached by peer reviewers? If so, you loose. Virtually no one is going to care what you say if it isn't confirmed by peer review.
Yes. So far all we have established is where your sister parked your car and that we know the Bible tells us we were created by God. If peer review isn't communicating the results as such, how do we deal with disagreement of your sister's peers, perhaps, in your missing car scenario or the atheist community's criticism of the Bible beginning in the 19th century?

What I'm getting at if peer review simply means that those in the same field review and agree or disagree on the findings it would be fairly closed or stagnant in a sense. If all of the Christian denominations agreed upon one evaluation of the Bible, for example, that would be something. So if some of the neighbors said your sister didn't park the car but she let someone else drive it instead and that person didn't know where to park it . . . that sort of thing. To find two people that agree on much of anything can be a formidable task, especially if it's detailed as science and theology can be.
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Re: Teach Me Science

Post #6

Post by DrNoGods »

[Replying to DavidLeon in post #3]
Ask a question: Were we created by God?
Do background research: Consider people who may have had access to the information, i.e. Bible
Construct a hypothesis: The people who wrote the Bible indicate with great detail that we were created by God
Test with an experiment: Study the Bible
Procedure working? Yup. The Bible indicates we were created by God
Draw conclusion: We were created by God as the Bible says
Results align with hypothesis: yup
Communicate results: Tell the good news to the unwashed heathen, amen!
Here's a better sequence since the bible can't be used as a source to confirm its own claim:

Ask a question: Were we created by God?

Do background research: Show that gods exist, or find prior evidence that does show that gods exist.

Construct a hypothesis: (a) gods exist, therefore they could have created humans and we proceed to the next step; (b) gods do not exist, answer to the question is no; (c) it cannot be determined whether or not gods exist, question cannot be definitively answered and more background research is needed or the hypothesis is abandoned.

Test with an experiment: Design experiments to ascertain whether humans have features that validate creation by a god, or that show other possible alternative explanations which do not require a god (eg. gods have been shown to exist to get to this step, but it could be that none of them created humans and humans arose via some other method). This is where you are likely to run into major problems trying to support the hypothesis, although I expect that the prior step of showing that gods exist may be the end of the process.

Procedure working? No. Gods have never been shown to exist and without this hurdle being cleared it is not possible to support the fundamental assumption of the hypothesis (no gods, no support for the claim that one of them created humans).

Draw conclusion: The question cannot be answered or the hypothesis confirmed because the fundamental assumption of the existence of a god cannot be shown to be true.

Results align with hypothesis: No again ... no god, no support for the hypothesis. The hypothesis requires the existence of one or more gods.

Communicate results: Admit defeat and recognize that the biblical claim cannot be supported by evidence or experiment via the scientific method. Some other approach is needed.
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Re: Teach Me Science

Post #7

Post by brunumb »

DavidLeon wrote: Wed Jul 22, 2020 8:17 pm ..... and that we know the Bible tells us we were created by God.
<groan>
That's a huge step away from knowing that what the Bible says is true. It's no more reliable than quoting Moby Dick to verify the existence of giant white whales.
Christianty: 2000 years of making it up as you go along.

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Re: Teach Me Science

Post #8

Post by DrNoGods »

[Replying to DavidLeon in post #5]
What I'm getting at if peer review simply means that those in the same field review and agree or disagree on the findings it would be fairly closed or stagnant in a sense.
Peer review is a prepublication process where experts in the same field review a manuscript and evaluate its merits, look for mistakes, etc. For most new scientific results, given the level of detail and knowledge in the field that is required to thoroughly understand the material, only experts in the field are generally suitable for critical peer review. But that is just part of the process. If the peer review process results in a paper being published, then it becomes available for everyone to see and throw darts at, and that is where the real scrutiny begins. It is no longer only seen by a few people at the institutions of the author(s), or the reviewers for the journal, but by the community at large and at that point anyone is allowed to challenge the results and claims once it is formally published. I suppose that is also peer review by definition, but it never ends unlike the initial peer review prior to publication.

So it isn't a stagnant situation, and papers can be withdrawn, errata published, etc. as time rolls on. That is one of the huge differences between science and religion. The Bible or the Quran are generally not revised and updated over time because they are thought to be divinely inspired or the actual "word of God", and for the Quran I think it is expressly forbidden to alter anything whatsoever in it. If you publish a science paper that gets through initial peer review, and someone finds a mistake or problem with it, you can be sure it will be pointed out and challenged and result in some kind of action being taken to correct the issue.
Last edited by DrNoGods on Wed Jul 22, 2020 10:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
In human affairs the sources of success are ever to be found in the fountains of quick resolve and swift stroke; and it seems to be a law, inflexible and inexorable, that he who will not risk cannot win.
John Paul Jones, 1779

The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read.
Mark Twain

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Re: Teach Me Science

Post #9

Post by DavidLeon »

brunumb wrote: Wed Jul 22, 2020 9:01 pm
DavidLeon wrote: Wed Jul 22, 2020 8:17 pm ..... and that we know the Bible tells us we were created by God.
<groan>
That's a huge step away from knowing that what the Bible says is true. It's no more reliable than quoting Moby Dick to verify the existence of giant white whales.
But we aren't trying to establish what the Bible says is true. That would involve a completely different series of tests. Up to a certain point, the supernatural, it wouldn't be difficult.

Also, if science discovers a painting on a cave wall of primitive people hunting or even more sophisticated Egyptian art depicting what was happening in a given place at a given time Moby Dick, by comparison, is a far more detailed representation of whaling as the Bible is a fair representation of God than primitive hunters.
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Re: Teach Me Science

Post #10

Post by DavidLeon »

DrNoGods wrote: Wed Jul 22, 2020 8:57 pm Here's a better sequence since the bible can't be used as a source to confirm its own claim:

Ask a question: Were we created by God?

Do background research: Show that gods exist, or find prior evidence that does show that gods exist.

Construct a hypothesis: (a) gods exist, therefore they could have created humans and we proceed to the next step; (b) gods do not exist, answer to the question is no; (c) it cannot be determined whether or not gods exist, question cannot be definitively answered and more background research is needed or the hypothesis is abandoned.
You need to be more specific. There are millions of gods, some of them supernatural, some mortal men, some no doubt existed, with others existence is questionable. Here we are talking about a specific God who allegedly created the heavens, earth and everything in them.

If (c) is true at this point, namely that it can't be determined and more background research is needed, in the specific case of the creator God of the Bible, Jehovah, is this research done and what possible similar excursions have been made in science. That is to say, hypothesis that haven't been abandoned. What exactly is the difference between hypothesis and theory?
DrNoGods wrote: Wed Jul 22, 2020 8:57 pmTest with an experiment: Design experiments to ascertain whether humans have features that validate creation by a god, or that show other possible alternative explanations which do not require a god (eg. gods have been shown to exist to get to this step, but it could be that none of them created humans and humans arose via some other method). This is where you are likely to run into major problems trying to support the hypothesis, although I expect that the prior step of showing that gods exist may be the end of the process.
You are trying to insinuate the theory of evolution with the absence of a theory on where life came from? Could you demonstrate how an experiment to ascertain evolution would look?
DrNoGods wrote: Wed Jul 22, 2020 8:57 pmProcedure working? No. Gods have never been shown to exist and without this hurdle being cleared it is not possible to support the fundamental assumption of the hypothesis (no gods, no support for the claim that one of them created humans).

Draw conclusion: The question cannot be answered or the hypothesis confirmed because the fundamental assumption of the existence of a god cannot be shown to be true.

Results align with hypothesis: No again ... no god, no support for the hypothesis. The hypothesis requires the existence of one or more gods.
The existence of Gods isn't necessarily relevant to creation, as mentioned above. God simply means venerated. Not all gods are creators or supernatural.
DrNoGods wrote: Wed Jul 22, 2020 8:57 pmCommunicate results: Admit defeat and recognize that the biblical claim cannot be supported by evidence or experiment via the scientific method. Some other approach is needed.
[Laughs] Well, as long as science has no agenda of a dogmatic nature.
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