[b-hebrew] repost of full question
kwrandolph at gmail.com
Thu Apr 24 08:17:37 EDT 2008
On Wed, Apr 23, 2008 at 6:06 PM, Yohanan bin-Dawidh <
yohanan.bin.dawidh at gmail.com> wrote:
> Hello Karl and Bill;
> In every text book that own, from Anthropological, to Psychological, to
> Biological, defines science as "....systematic knowledge of the physical
> material world that is gained through observation and
> That is the definition I was taught, so in this we are in agreement.
> The Scientifc Method is even as follows:
> 1) Establish a question.
> 2) Gathr information and resources.
> 3) Form a hypothesis.
> 4) Test hypothesis from experiment and collect data.
> 5) Analyze the data.
> 6) Interpret data and draw conclusions that serve as a startin point for a
> new hypothesis.
> Yo*h*anan bin-Dawidh
> The Unirsity of Texas at Arlington
The scientific method that I was taught was slightly different, as follows:
1) Make observations
2) Use only those observations that are repeatable
3) Look for patterns in those observations, i.e. make hypotheses
4) Devise experiments to test hypotheses, the only valid experiments are
those that contain and are based on steps 1 and 2
5) A hypothesis that survives step 4 can be called a theory
6) Repeat step 4.
The reasons for the steps are as follows:
Step 1 is to make sure we are dealing with the physical universe, not going
off arguing how many angels can dance on a pin or something similar.
Observation can, and should, be enhanced with tools wherever applicable, it
is not limited to our unenhanced physical senses.
Step 2 is to make sure we are not dealing with a mistake, a fluke, or a one
Step 3 is to systematize the observations, see definition of science you
Your steps 1 and 2 are contained in step 4 as I was taught it. The reason is
that one can't establish a question until he has already seen a pattern in
Step 6 is to deal with new observations that may force a revision, or
possibly even replacement, of an already recognized theory.
Other than the slight differences noted above, I note that the method as you
were taught it is very similar to what I was taught, the biggest difference
possibly reflecting the reality of most modern scientists upon graduation,
namely that they will deal with pre-existent theories, rather than creating
new ones. The other main difference is terminology, which is unimportant.
Taking this method to its logical conclusion, it can deal only with present
phenomena. Present phenomena can and does include artifacts from the past
that still survive, an example being Biblical Hebrew language as preserved
in Tanakh. But science cannot deal with that which cannot be observed. For
example, did the sun's shadow go backwards one time (2 Kings 20:11, Isaiah
38:8)? That was a non-repeatable observation, therefore science cannot touch
What confuses people is that many people, including many scientists, violate
steps 1 and 2 that I was taught was central to scientific method, yet call
their investigations "science". The rule, as I was taught it, was to ask at
each step of the way, "Am I dealing with observable phenomena?" though often
that was unnecessary as the scientist was in the act of making observations.
Unless someone can show that the definition of science has changed since I
was taught it, this discussion, this diversion away from the main subject of
our discussion namely B-Hebrew, is, as far as I am concerned, closed.
Karl W. Randolph.
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