Monday, May 17, 2010

The scientific method

I keep thinking there ought to be a good way to explain the study of science that leads to a useable result. Francis Bacon is supposedly the inventor of the scientific method. He first proposed to write down all findings for any investigation. He had a point. His writings were valuable in their attempt. The place where he ran into snags was when he included religion in his scheme. Religion is not science. It is a state of belief. It lacks the concept of unshakable certainty.

My conclusion is that the scientific method is based primarily on gathering information and writing down all of it, not just what fits the hypothesis. First and foremost it requires telling the truth. A true scientist tells the truth. He will not compromise. He will tell the truth even if the findings of the investigation show nothing in the positive results basket. It is disappointing, but the knowledge of not having obtained results is also a valuable thing because it tells the scientist that the hypothesis does not have to be investigated any longer and energy may be directed towards another attempt for a solution.

Science is an attempt to find the truth about what matters in natural phenomena, and the truth may wait a long time to materialize. Indeed it may never be found. But the attempt of finding it and the joy in the process is a never ending quest for greater understanding of what matters in the material world.