Saturday, March 03, 2007

The Scientific Method

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This is stub for a discussion on the scientific method.

-the disussion will go here-

Lets say that you order a plate from a restaurant. After waiting for over an hour you begin to get frustrated that it is taking so long. Is your frustration justified or reasonable?

I say it is reasonable with a qualifier, and most of it depends on my presumptions, one more strongly justified than another.
A list of reasons in the order of justification strong to weak. In all cases my presumption would be the opposite.
- The staff have deliberately misled people about their ability to produce an egg/sausage skillet, for example, my presumption would be that they should not mislead people about their ability to produce an egg/sausage skillet.
- The staff are playing cards instead of producing the egg/sausage skillet
- The staff have over estimated their ability to produce a egg/sausage skillet,
- They are simply short staffed at the moment,
- They have malfunctioning equipment at the moment
- I have unrealistic expectations about how long it takes it make an egg/sausage skillet.
In the last case, to show that I have unreasonable expectations would depend on showing how long it really takes. That would require evidence of the empirical kind. In this case I would have a hypothesis (presumption as a claim) that would be subject to falsifiability
( It would be up to the restaurant to accept my claim on its face or request that I prove my claim that "it is taking too long". In the (unlikely) case that I can't prove my claim, I would have to change my hypothesis about how long it should take, or in the case that I choose not to, then I should walk out and try another restaurant.
In the case that I walk into the kitchen and do it myself in less time, then I have validated my hypothesis (presumption as claim), in other words proved my point. My hypothesis has survived the process of falsifiability until challenged again. Each time it survives falisifiability, and through each reiteration of the process of falsifiability it inductively comes closer to a theory and closer still to a presumed truth (presumption), strong enough to use as a premise in an argument to support a claim (such as 'it is taking too long'). In this case we know that the preponderance of prior evidence justifies the presumption that 'it is taking too long'. Of course, I'm not telling you anything you don't already know, this is common sense, AKA the scientific method, and this is how the world increases its cumulative store of knowledge, building one presumption at a time.


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