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Author Topic:   Scientific method biased..?
Member (Idle past 1517 days)
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Joined: 03-14-2004

Message 13 of 21 (536125)
11-19-2009 11:02 PM
Reply to: Message 10 by slevesque
11-19-2009 2:11 PM

Hi slevesque,
I would have said 3 and 5 provide opportunities for biases and preconceptions to limit what you consider in formulating or reformulating the hypothesis.
3) You formulate this idea in the form of a hypothesis. You make a prediction
This formulation and prediction making are necessarily limited by your understanding and beliefs about reality. One of the ways to try to limit this is to form the anti-hypothesis and see if that can be falsified. However, you will be limited to not consider ideas that you don't think of, whether due to bias and preconception or just to lack of knowledge.
5b) If the outcome is negative, then you will adapt your hypothesis to the very extent that it is adaptable. Only when unreconciliable with the data will you discard it.
We can already see some bias being induced by point 5b). A scientist likes his hypothesis, it is the fruit of his mind and he will keep it alive as long as possible. This does not mean that in some cases, oher data won't come around and completely falsify it, forcing it to be discarded. But I do think that in some cases it leaves place for bias.
Agreed, this tendency is observed in practice, as is the tendency to stick to the current "model" when new theories come along:
Subbie Message 3: My impression is that it's considerably harder to get funding to pay for research that challenges the current paradigm, whatever the field.
If a person doesn't believe X is possible, they are not going to go through the trouble, time and expense to solicit funding to investigate and see if it is true.
Scientific organizations that fund research are not going to fund studies that their peer review group does not think will result in valid results.

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This message is a reply to:
 Message 10 by slevesque, posted 11-19-2009 2:11 PM slevesque has not replied

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