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The Scientific Method's Blind Spot

October 9 2007
We owe a lot to the scientific method in western society. It is an excellent way to create and to test theories about the way the world works.

The fundamental steps are:
  • Ask a Question
  • Do Background Research
  • Construct a Hypothesis
  • Test Hypothesis with an Experiment
  • Analyze Data and Draw a Conclusion
The method depends on repeatablilty. In order to be valid any hypothesis developed and proven in this fashion must be reproduceable by other researchers following the same procedures.

The reproduceablity requirement filters out experimental errors, flukes of nature and deliberate attmepts to mislead.

As important as these benefits are, they also result in the filtering out instances of devine or spiritual intervention, or miricales.

This last point is not generally a problem if we are using science to design bridges, since we really don't want to rely on a vigilant and miraculous supreme being to protect us every time we drive over the train tracks. But it does allow the posssibility that certain types of events and processes will be systematically missed when the scientific method is applied.

I point this out only for the benefit those who would hold science out as the ultimate authority on what is possible and what is not possible or what exists and what does not exist, in our universe.

Science has its place, a very important place, but by its nature it cannot be considered the sole or final authority on how our world functions.

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