Sunday, October 11, 2015

The Power of the Scientific Method

Feelings are great. I love feelings. But I propose that they're unreliable as a means of discerning things that are true. I have a favorite flavor of ice cream. I love it. I feel happy and hungry just thinking about it. But that doesn't mean Cookies & Cream is true.
So what's our best method for telling if something is true? When a truth claim is made, such as "the sun revolves around the earth" or "the human race is only 6,000 years old," we test it. We scrutinize it. We try to disprove it. We revise our ideas when our results don't match our prior hypothesis. And in the end, the things that are left standing we can say with confidence are true, at least within our current reference frame, and within our limits to discern and understand them. And this is always open-ended, ready to be revised if new evidence arises. 
So my friends, don't doubt your doubts. Embrace them. Take them on as a challenge. Put them to the test. Every great advance in human history has been made because someone had the intelligence, courage and integrity to challenge the status quo, to question what everyone else accepted unquestioningly as true. 
Science is not "true." It's a way of thinking about the world. The scientific method is a tool, and the best one we have for discovering what is true.

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