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A better scientific method?

  1. Jan 30, 2008 #1
    I heard somewhere that the goal of physics is to describe the most amount of phenomenon in the fewest terms. I really like that for some reason.

    Of course then there is the scientific method, which I am less fond of. I wonder, in this day and age, is the scientific method actually limiting our efforts? Case in point - physics is relegated to being just another branch of the sciences. I mean, based on the goal, shouldn't it should be THE science?

    My main concern is that the scientific method only accepts the conditions and results that can be reproduced. Someone in a lab in France must be capable of getting the same results a month, a year, or a century after what someone shows me right here and now (and if they still differ a little we call it noise, and describe it no further).

    Of course the fundamental units of our experiments are space and time, but never the here and now. How can physics describe the most amount of phenomenon if it rules out any effects associated with a particular moment in time and a particular place in space (by virtue of the scientific method). I know that my existence and all my perception depends on these things.

    Is there any better scientific method out there to take physics to the next level?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 30, 2008 #2
    One of the basic I guess you can call them "axioms" of physics is that the laws of physics are invariant under time and translation, i.e. movement to some other place.

    One of my professors said that there are some ideas floating around saying the laws of physics change over time, but we can't tell right now anyway.

    As to physics being THE science. Sure. It is. So what? If someone wants to do biology, you will make them learn physics first? That's pointless. Sure, having an understanding of physics will be great, but it won't really be worth the time.

    Chemistry began as an offshoot of physics, and actually we've been learning about orbitals and stuff in my Quantum Mechanics class lately, but it took me 3 years to get here, whereas I could have done a LOT of other chemistry in the mean time, not really caring about modern physics, or any of my physics lab classes, if I had just wanted to do chemistry.

    You can think of the other sciences as approximations and simplifications of physics. We do it all the time in physics, so some other branch should have no problem giving the approximate case for something that we can't really tell the difference from the actual case anyway.
  4. Jan 30, 2008 #3

    This is metaphysics mumbo jumbo.

    'here and now' ----................................okay.

    The part I made bold is self contradicting.
  5. Jan 31, 2008 #4
    The what? There is no method in any interesting sense of the word method. Scientists infer from evidence, like regular folk.

    It's great when results are reproduced because that supports the hypothesis being tested and strengthens the inference.

    I think you're saying "surely we can say stuff about instances that aren't reproduceable?" The answer is of course you can: the laws of physics don't only tell us about results in scientific experiments. They tell us what to expect from the whole world.
  6. Jan 31, 2008 #5

    I recommend reading the following: http://www.uwgb.edu/dutchs/pseudosc/badmodl.htm" [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
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