Scientific method = device for accurately identifying incorrect thinking?

From: J. R. Molloy (
Date: Thu Jan 10 2002 - 08:28:26 MST

From: "Anders Sandberg" <>
> > Scientific method = device for accurately identifying incorrect thinking.
> This is another thread, but I would like to point out that 1) whether it
> is universally accurate is strongly debated

I'd say "weakly" debated rather than "strongly" -- and add that the debate
hasn't produced anything nearly as useful as what science has produced. When a
device for accurately identifying incorrect thinking surpasses the ability of
the scientific method to do so, we can measure the extent of its success by
using the scientific method.

> 2) it is not applicable to
> all situations

In those situations where accuracy is unwelcome, the scientific method may
seem not to apply, but this is because people often prefer to remain immured
in their familiar fantasies rather than liberated by unfamiliar facts.

> 3) it is not very efficient in dealing with qualitative
> data.

The scientific method begins with categorizing knowledge, which makes it the
most efficient method for dealing with qualitative data. What is qualitative
data? Quality is a measure of relative value. Qualitative data deals with
meanings. "Is this movie interesting?"
Qualitative data is varied in nature. It includes any information that can be
captured that is not numerical in nature. Consequently, according to the
scientific method, the assignment of categories of correctness or
incorrectness to thinking which pertains to qualitative data would be

> As an example, how do you apply science to accurately identify
> whether the claim "Captain Ahab was gay" is an incorrect conclusion from
> melville's _Moby Dick_?

That's easy. Captain Ahab never existed, therefore his sexuality did not exist

--- --- --- --- ---

Useless hypotheses, etc.:
 consciousness, phlogiston, philosophy, vitalism, mind, free will, qualia,
analog computing, cultural relativism, GAC, Cyc, Eliza, cryonics, individual
uniqueness, ego, human values, scientific relinquishment, malevolent AI,
non-sensory experience, SETI

We move into a better future in proportion as the scientific method
accurately identifies incorrect thinking.

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