Scientific Method Then and Now

Generate theory based on government grants.


According to, a theory is always backed by evidence. It is a tested, well-substantiated, unifying explanation for a set of verified, proven factors.

A hypothesis, on the other hand, is only a suggested possible outcome, and is testable and falsifiable.


Thanks to Stephen Bird for this image

9 thoughts on “Scientific Method Then and Now”

  1. There is a profound confusion in many minds, even minds that should have been educated to know better, between laboratory science and field science. Both are important, but they cannot be handled in the same fashion. Field science is the source of observation which theory addresses. Hypotheses are the tools employed to abstract key elements a theory may identify in as potential actors in a natural process.

    To be “testable” and “relevant” – that is, both necessary and sufficient for the theory be useful – the elements in combination and action must unique to the theory. Otherwise they are not sufficient to test the theory. One of the most critical failures in the so-called theory anthropogenic global warming (AGW) is the lack any combination of elements of climate and other climate driven aspects of nature that can occur if and only if the change is induced by human activity.

    There is in fact no “theory,” nor even a genuine scientific hypothesis of AGW. AGW is a “logical conjecture” based on some observed facts in and out of the laboratory and some inductive generalization. Many suggestion of necessary and sufficient observations have been offered as proof of AGW, if they can be shown to exist. But not even arguments of changes in stable isotopes through human activity are “proof” of human -driven climatic warming on a global scale.

    The Climategate emails document the logical and scientific problems that even advocates of AGW theory have [had] with actual observations, which persistently fail to match models. Possibly the most ironic is Trenberth’s complaint that warming in the oceans that MUST have occurred IF the theory was correct could not be found. He complains that “the data must be wrong.” There is no hint that the theory may have problems. This the very attitude that lead Sir Francis Bacon to advance the concepts of the scientific method in the lat 16th century.

  2. is wrong, as a hypothesis is also based on data, just that it’s an infantile theory that will either grow or die based on more data and testing. Once it’s grown up, it can be called a theory, but a theory can still die based on new testing and data. This was the practice in modern science.

    However, we now have post-modern science, where the starting point is a belief, whether from ancient religion to mathematical model to government grant, which cannot be overthrown, and called a “scientific theory”. Then data is marshaled to support that belief/theory while contrary data is discarded and said not to exist. Those who do not kowtow to the belief/theory are not allowed into the sacred halls of “science”, or if already in, are hounded out.

    The poster above is a variation on the post-modern science meme.

    • Interesting comment, thank you!

      Another thing I’ve noticed recently is that a lot of the rules of statistics have gone by the wayside among the younger generation of college educated people. I was trained in biostatistics in the 80s and have used stats in various jobs since (though less and less hypothesis testing).

      A few years ago on a project of mine I had proposed doing some really basic preliminary statistical tests of association on some of our data – the chi square test. Two of the “senior” staff (both about 30 years younger than me but in higher positions) insisted there was no such thing… including one person who had a M.S. in statistics. At the time I assumed it was just crazy-making behavior (the two women being cut-throat competitive types)… but now I wonder.

  3. REAL science follows the evidence WHEREVER it may lead! Fake science alters data so it fits the theory!! We now live in a post-scientific era!!!

  4. Can you imagine where we would be if Tesla, Einstine, Westinghouse, Watts (and others) had followed this modern idea of testing hypothesis? or following the money more than the science? scary.

  5. Climate Science is not the only place this foolishness and non-scientific method is happening. I see it in my own fields of Anthropology and Sociology. For instance: There is evidence that human evolution never happened at all but, rather, several different subspecies or breeds of ancient human ancestors coexisted and interbred giving us modern humans (Homo sapien sapiens). What that means is we are all hybrids! But try to get funding to research this and all you get is a big fat ZERO and laughed out of the halls of academia and government!

    Another example: The famous Paleoanthropologist Louis Leakey left Africa and went to America convinced that he’d find fossil remains of ancient human ancestors there. He went to Calico Hills in California. He didn’t find any, allegedly, and died not long after but that’s not the point. The point is WHY did the famous Louis Leakey believe ancient human ancestors once existed in the Americas? Again, try to get funding for this to find out what Leakey found out and you get a big FAT ZERO and laughed out of the halls of academia and government. That’s why no one is looking for such fossil remains in the Americas…..well ALMOST no one. Those of us who are must use our own private funds which don’t go far. And PLENTY has been found to support this theory including Olduwan Choppers and Scrapers used by H. habilis and early H. erectus. And these are NOT geofacts but ARTIFACTS! Now why would they be here if ancient human ancestors were not here?

    Our science (all of it) is nothing but a complete FARCE today period!!

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