Brief discussion of what is Science


Tree House enthusiast
Aug 23, 2008
Seems highly relevant in this time of vaccine hesitancy and science mistrust. From Scientific American mag. One scientist's perspective.

Is Science Actually right?

It doesn’t deliver absolute truth,
but it contains useful elements of truth By Naomi Oreskes

The COVID crisis has led many scientists to take up arms (or at least keyboards) to defend their enterprise—and to be sure, science needs defenders these days. But in their zeal to fight back against vaccine rejection and other forms of science denial, some scientists say things that just aren’t true—and you can’t build trust if the things you are saying are not trustworthy.
One popular move is to insist that science is right—full stop— and that once we discover the truth about the world, we are done. Anyone who denies such truths (they suggest) is stupid, ignorant or fatuous. Or, as Nobel Prize–winning physicist Steven Weinberg said, “Even though a scientific theory is in a sense a social consen- sus, it is unlike any other sort of consensus in that it is culture-free and permanent.” Well, no. Even a modest familiarity with the his- tory of science offers many examples of matters that scientists thought they had resolved, only to discover that they needed to be reconsidered. Some familiar examples are Earth as the center of the universe, the absolute nature of time and space, the stability of continents, and the cause of infectious disease.
Science is a process of learning and discovery, and sometimes
Naomi Oreskes is a professor of the history of science at Harvard University. She is author of Why Trust Science? (Princeton University Press, 2019) and co-author
of Discerning Experts (University of Chicago, 2019).
we learn that what we thought was right is wrong. Science can also be understood as an institution (or better, a set of institutions) that facilitates this work. To say that science is “true” or “permanent” is like saying that “marriage is permanent.” At best, it’s a bit off- key. Marriage today is very different from what it was in the 16th or 18th century, and so are most of our “laws” of nature.
Some conclusions are so well established we may feel confi- dent we won’t be revisiting them. I can’t think of anyone I know who thinks we will be questioning the laws of thermodynamics any time soon. But physicists at the start of the 20th century, just before the discovery of quantum mechanics and relativity, didn’t think they were about to rethink their field’s foundations, either.
Another popular move is to say scientific findings are true be- cause scientists use “the scientific method.” But we can never actu- ally agree on what that method is. Some will say it is empiricism: observation and description of the world. Others will say it is the experimental method: the use of experience and experiment to test hypotheses. (This is cast sometimes as the hypothetico-deductive method, in which the experiment must be framed as a deduction from theory, and sometimes as falsification, where the point of observation and experiment is to refute theories, not to confirm them.) Recently a prominent scientist claimed the scientific meth- od was to avoid fooling oneself into thinking something is true that is not, and vice versa.
Each of these views has its merits, but if the claim is that any one of these is the scientific method, then they all fail. History and philosophy have shown that the idea of a singular scientific meth- od is, well, unscientific. In point of fact, the methods of science have varied between disciplines and across time. Many scientific practices, particularly statistical tests of significance, have been developed with the idea of avoiding wishful thinking and self- deception, but that hardly constitutes “the scientific method.” Sci- entists have bitterly argued about which methods are the best, and, as we all know, bitter arguments rarely get resolved.
In my view, the biggest mistake scientists make is to claim that this is all somehow simple and therefore to imply that anyone who doesn’t get it is a dunce. Science is not simple, and neither is the natural world; therein lies the challenge of science communica- tion. What we do is both hard and, often, hard to explain. Our efforts to understand and characterize the natural world are just that: efforts. Because we’re human, we often fall flat. The good news is that when that happens, we pick ourselves up, brush our- selves off, and get back to work. That’s no different from profes- sional skiers who wipe out in major races or inventors whose ear- ly aspirations go bust. Understanding the beautiful, complex world we live in, and using that knowledge to do useful things, is its own reward and why taxpayers should be happy to fund research.
Scientific theories are not perfect replicas of reality, but we have good reason to believe that they capture significant elements of it. And experience reminds us that when we ignore reality, it sooner or later comes back to bite us.
Science to me is simply proving your assertion. You make a claim, then test it. If the tests backup your claim, it becomes true until a competing claim refutes it by testing and proving their claim. Anything else is religion.
Not at all disagreeing, but by that token, the members here who used Ivermectin and had good results constitutes science, does it not? And until those wishing to refute it can reliably prove that the Ivermectin played no part in their recovery, the science stands?
the members here who used Ivermectin and had good results constitutes science, does it not?
Not really. One could say Stihl oil blows up engines.

"I used Stihl, and my saw was cooked in a week"

"What ratio did you use?"

"It was about 50:1. I used an old measuring cup to measure it"

"Huh... Do you know your cup measures right? Did you account for the oil stuck to the side after pouring?"

"It's graduated, should be good, and that little bit of oil left doesn't matter"

"What gas did you use? Was it fresh? Known good source?"

"It's the same gas I put in my car, and my car runs fine. I did use a different station, but it's all the same stuff"

Meanwhile, they don't mention they took the air filter out, and forgot to put it back, and it was 108° degrees the day the saw blew up, never mind the inconsistency of the fuel prep for the saw that basically says nothing of the operating parameters.

Science is about rigorous examination, eliminating chance, and accounting for discrepancies. You need to test 1,000 people using the same standards, compare them with people that have the same care, but a modified parameter(placebo), then compare that group to the general population using statistics. Only then you have a chance at getting to the truth.
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Cory. Vaccine hesitency is far from science denial. Its looking at the other questions that may prove or disprove a theory or statitics. The science is far from over for a lot of things we accept. Even stuff Einstein theorized.
Questioning the "science" is part of doing the science.
Exactly the point I was making with the OP.
“Science is about rigorous examination, eliminating chance, and accounting for discrepancies. You need to test 1,000 people using the same standards, compare them with people that have the same care, but a modified parameter(placebo), then compare that group to the general population using statistics. Only then you have a chance at getting to the truth.”

Did these covid “vaccines” go through this test?
C'mon Austin; look at his statement below the cartoon, and compare the irony of it to the truthfulness posited by Schulz.
True science is all about getting excited every time you find out you're wrong, or every time you realize you made an error, because those errors promise to bring the scientist closer to the "truth." I use quotation marks around that last word because many truths are relative and even scientific truths are constantly evolving. Even many of the very laws which govern our universe find themselves disputed by reputable scientists to this day. Truth, effectively, is merely what is (at the time or currently) deemed to be the MOST correct answer for any given thing by either the majority of the population or by a majority of elected intellectuals who make tough decisions on behalf of the rest of society. Science and answers are about discovering and utilizing and analyzing the best truths at one's disposal. And a great scientist will, even after a conclusion is made, continue to test it to validate it to build confidence in the result and to answer additional, secondary or tertiary etc. questions which may present themselves along the way.

It's important to distinguish that truth for an individual, versus for society, is much more binary. In most cases, it either happened or it didn't, when speaking about one's individual reality. You know what is true and what is not as situations pertain to yourself. However, add another person, and you may find yourself struggling to convince someone that something is the truth. But it is this skepticism which often inspires further truth seeking among scientists throughout the world. However, in a relationship (friend, girlfriend, wife, teacher, boss), it can be very hurtful and damaging. But that's only because non-professional relationships do not follow the Scientific Method; they follow the "emotional method" (not a real thing, just making a point) for too much of the time. That's all I'll add for now.
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