Dilemma Of The Scientific Method
Although I have been a rigorous proponent of the Scientific Method and accepted, by and large, much of the facts that have been based on this method, I have always had one large, looming problem that has never been adequately resolved or sufficiently addressed by any scientist.
The part that gnaws at me is reproducing an experiment independently to prove that the results can be repeatedly verified before it’s accepted as scientific fact. I have always felt that the experimenter, whether by choice or not, can become a factor in the outcome of any experiment. This is not based on the same steps independently or accurately followed, but the inherent energy level of the experimenter that may contribute or detract from the outcome of the results.
I have written several essays about the nature of the physical senses, their boundaries, thoughts and actions, other realities that may exist and perhaps interact with this one but I would be less than honest if I denied the possibility of how each person’s connection with other realities may impact the quality of any outcome for a Scientific Experiment they may be involved in.
I realize that I am questioning one of the foundations that defines Science, and delineates it from Philosophy or Theology, but if I present questions about my acceptance of other views, I must also present some of the fallacies I have about the Scientific Method , to be fair. Since I have pretty much ruled out any ultimate truth, but accepted relative truths as the basis of my reality, can I do less than raise some of these questions? My answer is no. I must also look at Science itself, and what may be loopholes in its approach to forming the basis of what it considers knowledge and scientific fact.
It presumes that the experimenter can be separated from the experiment. I wonder whether that is a fair assumption to operate on. I also realize that measuring the energy level of a person is not necessarily open to the scientific method. What exactly are we measuring? What is the nature of this energy? I have no idea how to answer that or even if I’m being reasonable in raising this issue. However it has been in the back of my mind for some years.
Many things that differentiate one person from another are introspectively based. They can’t be explained or articulated. Ideas are often so internally based that the nuances of their quality can’t be explained to others by the use of language. Yet so much of Science is based on proof and proving something that can be visibly seen and measured from one person to another.
I look at an object that is red. I know that I identify it as that color, yet another person may see the same object , yet because they are different, may perhaps see another shade that they also consider as red. They are not seeing exactly what I am seeing yet unless they can actually put themselves in my shoes, how do I know we are seeing the same thing? I don’t.
So much of Science is based on this concept of reproducibility. I wonder if it’s possible to expect exact duplication or approximation of an experiment or should we be more flexible and deal with larger ranges of results and recognize that the differences between each person and with the potential boundaries of their senses, variations will occur. Does that discount the results of an experiment or is it just simply acknowledging the differences that we know exist?
On the other hand, I don’t want to give a green light to theologists to say that I have drawn enough questions about the Scientific method to give more credibility to Creationism, religious theology and theories, such as Intelligent Design, more weight. I am not a person who believes in blind faith. I do not accept things because some “organized” religious authority has told me, as I was growing up, that this is the truth. Nor do I accept any organized religion as having a monopoly on the nature of God, His intent or His will.
I am a philosopher by nature, with the primary intent of a scientist. How do I resolve this basic issue about science? How can I accept the existence of other realities, yet not be able to prove them, verify or articulate them any more than say I know they exist? Is prove-ability that necessary for acceptance of what one feels exists? Is knowledge based on introspective experience any less real than reproducible facts that science holds so dear? This is my basic philosophical dilemma that I have continually faced and yet I am no closer to a resolution than I was twenty years ago.
How does one resolve these kinds of issues? Should I be searching for a resolution at all? Should I simply accept the differences between the nature of Science, Philosophy and Theology, or try and find a bridge that will reconcile them?