The scientific method: for AND against

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In our liberal, rational society there can be a tendency to “Science – good, other views – bad.”  But what is science?  For us it combines pursuing understanding through observation while suspending personal values.  The scientific process identifies a hypothesis and seeks predicted data for AND against it.  If it stands up to all or some scrutiny then things are getting clearer.  Even disproof is progress.

During the last month we have had The Scientist vs The Government (Professor Nutt vs Alan Johnson on Cannabis), and The Scientists vs The Sceptics (on Climate).  Looking in on these debates, it is not clear how far good scientific method is at work all the time.  If it isn’t, then poor process opens the way for other belief systems (public opinion about weed, economic risk assessments of climate reduction).  Just claiming to be ‘a scientist’ is in no way sufficient to demonstrate that your thinking is superior to that of others.  Showing openness of mind in pursuit of knowledge is.

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