Definition of "Experiment" (was: Re: Experiments With Human Subj

Michael Butler (
Mon, 23 Sep 1996 16:14:51 PST

Robin said:
If there is any sensible distinction between observation and
experiment, it is in one's degree of control over a system. Observers
look, while experimenters change things (and look).

I say:
OK, so we appear to have the distinction between disciplines that
1) observe-(model-)predict,
2) observe-(model-)make_a_change_in_what's_observed-predict,

Do I understand Robin to be saying that category (2) is an
experimental discipline, and category (1) is not?

Are they both justifiably called "science"?

What if one _tries_ to make a change on what one is observing, and
discovers that no different result is observed? Were you not really
conducting an experiment? Example: toggling the power switch on an
appliance which is unplugged.


Michael M. Butler, not representing On Command Video