Talk:Scientific method/Archive 1

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I reverted the work of Gareth Leng. Altough it is a nice work, I think it is too poetic. The earlier version was more factual.

--Matthias Brendel 16:44, 26 December 2006 (CST)

Just as an example. The first sentence I find very bad is "This simple account begs many questions. What do we mean by ‘facts’? "

1) This is out of the blue, since the "facts" were not mentioned before. So how does the kknowtion of "facts" come here? 2) Then there is an unnecessary dispute about how we can trust facts. We should not start to explain the scientific method by this dispute. 3) The dispute about the basis of scientific knowledge was repeated later as the protocol-sentence debate. So quoting here Bacon is very outdated. If somebody wants to present this question, then let him quote the latest accounts on this! Even the protocol-sentence debate is outdfate I think.

--Matthias Brendel 16:52, 26 December 2006 (CST)

This I think is not how we work at Citizendium. We do not bulk revert in this way, but gain consensus civilly and seek understanding. In particular, this is a new CZ article in progress, and it is replacing a deeply flawed ungainly repetetive and inaccurate WP version (Bayesian inference is not a way of generating hypotheses; Einstein's theory was indeed a refutation of Newton's, and the idea that it represented progress was questioned by Kuhn, who commented that Einstein's theory was closer to Aristotle's than either was to Newton; alchemy was characterised by very precise measurements; Lakatos is unexplained but introduced as though he was a Kuhnian when in fact he was a Popperian etc etc). As for the lead, facts refers directly to the introductory quote from Darwin. Understanding the nature of facts, and how they depend on a theory, is central to the understanding of the importance of theory in science and hence to understanding the incommensurability of theory. Gareth Leng 17:04, 26 December 2006 (CST)

So you just write a new article instead of an existing. This is also a reverting. And your version is just your opinion, there are serious NPOV errors in your article. All of ypour statements here are dispoted by seroius thinkers. You even mention Kuhn. Lakatos was not a Popperian. So I just se a deeply flawed article.

--Matthias Brendel 06:22, 15 January 2007 (CST)

I am "rollingback" this article to the version Dr. Gareth Leng wrote. I base this decision on the fact that Mr./Dr. Brendel used a reversion and a "semi-protection," to freeze this article in the form he preferred. As the template explains, such a semi-protection has the purpose of stopping vandalism, or anonymous, unregistered, or new users from editing an article. Dr. Leng is none of these. Nevertheless, this "semi-protection" is not functioning properly; it is stopping Dr. Leng from editing. Mr./Dr. Brendel, please do not use tools that are misfunctioning.

I do not want to see revert wars. You are both Editors. Please discuss a compromise.

Chief Constable, --Ruth Ifcher 00:00, 20 January 2007 (CST)

Many thanks Ruth. This is Citizendium, not Wikipedia; the article that Mathias reverted to is the Wikipedia article, I would certainly not arbitrarily revert original Citizendium contributions; this is vandalisn as is made clear in the policy document. I suggest therefore Mathias that you detail any specific criticisms of the Citizendium article here, perhaps starting with any dispute about any factual statements, any errors in repoting opinions, or any miscitations? If there are any, let's start by correcting those.Gareth Leng 05:38, 20 January 2007 (CST)

Matthias, we do value your contributions, but you are expected to work with people here, and not simply revert to a version you prefer. That may be all right on Wikipedia (it certainly wasn't in my day!), but it isn't here. Also, the name for our neutrality policy is not and never will be "NPOV" but "the neutrality policy." We are a different community. So I support Ruth Ifcher's action here as Chief Constable, which concerned the behavior of reverting wholesale, not the merits or demerits of any version of an article. I do hope you will work with us here, in any event! --Larry Sanger 12:14, 21 January 2007 (CST)

In my opinion there was a good article here present and Dr. Gareth Leng deleted it and just wrote his own version. If there was any vandalism here, then Dr Leng's action was the first one. If we should reach compromise, then (i) I wish to see that Gareth Leng incorporates the valuable content of the first article in his article, (ii) I wish that he formulates his article in a more neutral way. I will go into details if I see any readiness to compromise from Gareth Leng.

--Matthias Brendel 04:55, 22 January 2007 (CST)

To repeat, the article that I replaced was the old Wikipedia article, that remains on Wikipedia. This is Citizendium, and we have indeed now deleted all old Wikipedia articles. I'm happy to work with anyone constructively, and again suggest that we start with any dispute about any factual statements, any errors in reporting opinions, or any miscitations? If there are any, let's start by correcting those; I'm sure there will be some Gareth Leng 09:45, 22 January 2007 (CST)

I support Dr. Leng's position here, Matthias. He is correct that no Citizendian is obligated to use or develop the Wikipedia version; that's been made clear in several places. Unless you had worked here on CZ on the Wikipedia version of this article, then no one may insist that we adopt it, rather than Dr. Leng's, as a starting point. This we can say without even considering the merits of either article! --Larry Sanger 23:48, 22 January 2007 (CST)

Just a few thoughts

Hello. Being just an author I would like attract your attention to the reader's perspective. While in general I appreciate the idea of illustrating the "scientific method" by actual views of notable scientists, I suggest we consider the following:

  • In the lead I would put a brief summary of the content. I think our concise definition could be somehow elaborated, explained and illustrated. I would put it instead of two citations (no problem, they can be used elsewhere).
  • Feyerabend, although contemporary to Popper and Kuhn, and influential enough to be compared with them, gets a distinguished place in the introductory section (and is not described in the "main body" of the article). Does neutral view policy suggest that we treat the three philosophers "equally"?
  • Overall style resembles an essay, especially introductorybeginning part; while otherwise it sounds quite interesting or even intriguing, maybe it could be more "encyclopedic", "assertive"?

Just few thoughts (but I can formulate more concrete/explicit propositions) Aleksander Halicz 17:12, 22 January 2007 (CST)

Popper, Kuhn, and Feyerabend just happen to be three prominent philosophers of science. There are many others. I doubt any particular philosopher should be mentioned in the introductory section, except as part of a longer list. --Larry Sanger 23:50, 22 January 2007 (CST)

I'm planning on hanging out here, so here's an intro

I'm newly arrived from Wikipedia where I've been working on the History of scientific method article. Regarding Wikipedia, that article is still where my interest lies, since the Scientific method article at Wikipedia is a kind of collage of common opinion without much in the way of citation. My own goal here will be to describe scientific method without having it become The Citizendium Scientific Method.

To get started straight away, I'm wondering whether to add a condensed history section to this article. I'm tempted instead to begin a separate article since my knowledge (and the existing Wikipedia history article), is incomplete. It would be nice to have a fuller picture before deciding to say anything about the history and development of scientific method in this article. --Christian Steinbach 02:17, 23 January 2007 (CST)

Either would be great; I'd certainly like to see a substantial History article developed; there are so many important threads that I think it will need space. I'd suggest writing a new article and then adding a short section to this that is a summary of /introduction to the main articleGareth Leng 07:49, 23 January 2007 (CST)

Restructuring and rewriting of the article

The Wikipedia article was better, then this article, because it vcontained some kind of SYSTEMATIC list of the elements of the scientific method. This articvel does not contain any such systematic list. You can read about a lot of arbitrary opinions, but you do not get an idea, what is the scientific method, which is accepted. You do not get the neutral point of view, the view, which is accepted by most of the philosophers of science and scientists.

The Wikipedia article was better in this respect.

The other problem with this article is, that it contains some unsignificant quotations, like of " Sir Peter Medawar" who cares about his opinion? Why is that important? Charles Darwin and Carl Sagan are good scientists, but I would not quote their opinion either.

And why is this important at all? " Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals [509 U.S. 579 (1993)] decision,"

On the other hand, there is nothing in the article from the logical positivists view. Altough logical positivism was the establisher of philosophy of science. And nothing about postpositivistic views except of Kuhn and Feyerabend. There are some others.

So this article is:

  • Unsysthematic
  • Unstructured
  • Biased
  • Arbitrary
  • Incomplete
  • There are too many quotations and history in the article. This is not Wikiquote!

This article should not contain too much history of philosophy of science, since there is another article on that. This article is about the scientific method. So it should be restricted on that. Not all issues of pphilosophy of science should be discussed here!

I suggest to restructure the article as follows:

  • Elements of scientific method

Here we can describe the most common elements and requirements of scientific method, which are accepted by most of the philosophers. Thsi shall be the description of the neutral point of view.

  • Philosophycal issues

Here we can discuss such contoroversies, as Poppar and Carnap on induction, Kuhn and Popper on falsification, Feyerabend and everybody else on method. And so on.

I repeat my opinion: this is an awful article, and it is worse than Wikipedia. Is your intention to be worse than Wikipedia?

--Matthias Brendel 08:13, 6 February 2007 (CST)

The Wikipedia article was quite good. I do not understand why was it deleted, and why did you rewrite it. The Wikipedia article is still much better. I would like to start from that as a basis.

Why is it good that a good article is rewritten by a scientist, who has quite a few knowledge about philosophy of science? Gareth Leng is not an expert, and I do not see, why should it be good for Citizendium that he replaces the Wikipedia article with his essay about HIS personal picture of science.

--Matthias Brendel 08:19, 6 February 2007 (CST)

This article has as its stem a guide to scientific method as explained by a Research charity - i.e. a practical guide to scientific method, as followed by its research scientists. There are elements in this article that are retained from the Wikipedia article, not much, arguably too much, and most of it I removed as inaccurate, repetitive or simply illogical. Peter Medawar incidentally apart from being a Nobel Laureate was a close friend of Karl Popper and wrote extensively about Popper, as a popular writer of science widely regarded as the best of his time, he along with Einstein contributed significantly to the enormous influence that Popper's work had on active scientists. The article is dominated by Popper Kuhn and Feyeraband of recent philosophers, I think that these probably only these in recent times have had a major widespread influence on scientists views.

Quotes - well this is a style preference. In my opinion, quotes ensure a stem of verifiability, and can bring the authors views to life. Some of these are retained from the Wikipedia article in fact, including the Darwin and Sagan quotes. Why the Dow decision is significant, well that is explained in the link. Given that many philosphhers and scientists dispute whether there is a single scientific method, legal recognition of its existence and central importance is I think significant.

This article, like many, falls into the category of having many interested readers with relevany expertise, although I think it should be overseen by Philosophy Editors, if we have one interested. Gareth Leng 10:27, 6 February 2007 (CST)

I am a little surprised that you think that the article does not convey the view of scientific method accepted by most scientists - the CancerUK guide is quoted directly and I think is an uncontroversial as far as scientists are concerned. Peter Medawar's view at the outset might be challenging but I think is not really disputed. Scientific method is what scientists actually do, not what they are taught, and the essence of Feyeraband and Kuhn was in what scientists actually do. I am not a professional philospher, but I have read and still re-read these, ever since the Philosophy of Science that I studied at University; but that was before I became a scientist :-) I don't know how much this is a personal picture of science; I guess it is a picture that is true to science as I know it - as a scientist that is; I would hardly write an article that was inconsistent with what I know about science after all. But I haven't heard that anything in this is incorrect, that any quote is miscited or out of context or unrepresentative, and I'm not sure what significant opinions are not represented. Carnap's views should be mentioned no doubt. As for issues about the philosophy of science unrelated to scientific method - what would those be exactly in this article? Gareth Leng 10:47, 6 February 2007 (CST)

Just to bring a mixture of opinion to the discussion, I think our article is an excellent starting point and I honestly prefer it to the current Wikipedia article. Quoting the Cancer UK guide is a great way to elaborate on scientific method. Compare this to the Wikipedia article which uses the discoveries of DNA and General Relativity for the same purpose. That approach has, and probably always will have, issues with historical accuracy.
Regarding quotes I will only say that I prefer quotes embedded in the article rather than floating at the top. That’s just a matter of taste.
I’m not too worried about potential overlap between this article and the history article, although I’ll grant that we should keep an eye out or repeated or conflicting material. We probably can’t do justice to this topic without delving into the past, but the history article is more about the development and abandonment of ideas. It is potentially also about the people behind those ideas. I don’t expect we will be saying an awful lot about the syllogism or Descartes here.
By all means, Matthias, add something about Carnap. I for one would appreciate a concise description of his thoughts on Bayesian reasoning, this being one of many lacunae in my understanding of scientific method.
Not sure I’m with you on the restructuring suggestion. I expect there to be philosophical issues for almost anything we care to mention in this article. We may be able to create a substantial 'Elements' section without mention of any particular philosopher (though I don’t see that as a worthy goal), but to keep it free of philosophy? But maybe that's not what you meant. --Christian Steinbach 17:53, 6 February 2007 (CST)

  • The article is in the category: Philosophy Workgroup. Not Science Workgroup!
  • This indicates that this article is a descritpion of the scientific mehthod as philosophers think of it.
  • Science is what scientists do. But that is not the same what scientist think they do!
  • Kuhn, Popper and Feyerabend have a lot of impact, especially in the English speaking regions. But logical positivism still has a great impact.
  • On the other hand you also forget the Edinburgh schhol, Larry Laudan and other philosophers.
  • It is quite clear that this article is not neutral, it is you point of view.
  • Peter Medawar despite of being a nobel laurate and a popular writer about science, and even an author on Popper, but there are so many Nobel-laurates, popular writers, and so many historians of phiolosophy of science. I do not see why he would be of any relevance.
  • Your article is very different from any textbook about the method of science.
  • There was a good list in the Wikipedia article about the elements of scientific method. You have no list. It is very hard to find what are the elements.

So I repeat my opinion:

  • Unsysthematic
  • Unstructured
  • Biased
  • Arbitrary
  • Incomplete
  • There are too many quotations and history in the article.


--Matthias Brendel 04:27, 7 February 2007 (CST)

Elements of scientifivc method

In the Wikipedia article there was a tabe\le like this:

I do not think that this table is perfect, but it is SYSTEMATICAl. You can see what are the elements of scientific method. It is a better starting point.

--Matthias Brendel 04:39, 7 February 2007 (CST)


In thw Wikipedia article the introduction was like this:

"Scientific method is a body of techniques for investigating phenomena and acquiring new knowledge, as well as for correcting and integrating previous knowledge. It is based on observable, empirical, measurable evidence, and subject to laws of reasoning.

Although specialized procedures vary from one field of inquiry to another, there are identifiable features that distinguish scientific inquiry from other methods of developing knowledge. Scientific researchers propose specific hypotheses as explanations of natural phenomena, and design experimental studies that test these predictions for accuracy. These steps are repeated in order to make increasingly dependable predictions of future results. Theories that encompass whole domains of inquiry serve to bind more specific hypotheses together into logically coherent wholes. This in turn aids in the formation of new hypotheses, as well as in placing groups of specific hypotheses into a broader context of understanding.

Among other facets shared by the various fields of inquiry is the conviction that the process must be objective so that the scientist does not bias the interpretation of the results or change the results outright. Another basic expectation is that of making complete documentation of data and methodology available for careful scrutiny by other scientists and researchers, thereby allowing other researchers the opportunity to verify results by attempted reproduction of them. Note that reproducibility can not be expected in all fields of science. This also allows statistical measures of the reliability of the results to be established. The scientific method also may involve attempts, if possible and appropriate, to achieve control over the factors involved in the area of inquiry, which may in turn be manipulated to test new hypotheses in order to gain further knowledge. "

I foind this much more neutral, much more biased, much more informative than your introduction. Its not perfect, but much better as a starting point.

--Matthias Brendel 04:39, 7 February 2007 (CST)

Philosophycal issues

Here you can include Popper and Kuhn and Feyerabend and Carnap, and Bloor, and Poincare and Duhem, and Quine, and others. Yopu can include here the protocollsentence-debate, the foundation-issue, the question of induction and falsification, the question of method (if there is a method at all). I would be very brief and refer to the philosophy of science article, and to the article of the mentioned philosophers and problems.

--Matthias Brendel 04:39, 7 February 2007 (CST)

Mattias, reading the above I feel a bit overwhelmed. If you had to decide, what is the single objection you feel most strongly about? I ask because we may make some progress if we focus our discussion and take things a bit at a time. --Christian Steinbach 04:43, 7 February 2007 (CST)
  • Bad structure
  • Not neutral
  • Not biased

I think this article is a badly structured essay on some views about the scientific method favoured by the main author. Nothing more.

I cannot correct it, since its structure is completly bad. We should agree first on the main structure.

--Matthias Brendel 05:31, 7 February 2007 (CST)

User:Matthias Brendel/Scientific method

Here is my version. I just copied together some thing, the details are not so important, but a structure and scope, like this would be important.

--Matthias Brendel 05:00, 7 February 2007 (CST)

I've commented on that version on the relevant discussion page. Clearly we have a content dispute with irreconcileable views, and need the involvement of a Philosophy Editor.Gareth Leng 09:44, 7 February 2007 (CST)

As an interested reader I would like to see the Citi system of dispute resolving in action. The bad news is that, apparently, we have no relevant editor - at least when I scanned through the category, I found that none of them has made more than one edit outside his user page :( Humor me and prove that I'm wrong, please. Aleksander Halicz 16:31, 7 February 2007 (CST)

I read the beginning few sections of both articles and I must say I share some of Matthias' doubts. In the introduction I like Gareth's version more because it mentions in a concise ways some of the concept of the scientific method. Matthias's versions OTOH starts with a recursive explanation (the method is a method) and then immediately starts with restrictions of applicability (it gets better after a few sentences ;-).

But in the second section ("Elements...") my preference changes by 180 degrees. Reading Gareth's version I thought "Yes, but please, what in more detail is the scientific method". In contrast, with Matthias' version I immediately started to think about how much of my daily power-point drawing is actually still scientific work. Even more at the end of Gareth's Elements section, after having read several times that there is no scientific method, I actually expected that the next chapter would declare Creationism a science, too, given that the so claimed scientific method and its elements are denounced by all philosophers.

I very much doubt that that impression is the intention of the author, but putting all those statements at the beginning of an article acts that way (at least for me). Maybe if reading the whole article everything would fall into place, but IMHO an encyclopedic article should be like a newspaper article (and not like a scientific paper): Short rough description. More detailed but still concise description of the all the important concepts. Then expand on individual concepts in order of decreasing importance, uniqueness, ... . Of course that is not always possible but you should not have to read the whole article to get all the important facts into context.

Now of course that is just my personal view and I can neither cite philosophers on that nor am I one. But then, philosophy is not following the scientific method anyway (*ducks away back into the Computers section*). Markus 18:05, 7 February 2007 (CST)

I read through both articles top to bottom, Gareth's first then Matthias'. My impression from Gareth's was that I was drawn deeper and deeper into the flow of thought, perhaps it is his ability to write in a prose fashion and get his point across. Going to Matthias', I definitely saw the method, but left with nothing new or special. The chart was no help and may have detracted. If I had read in the opposite order, I don't know if I would have felt the same. When I saw who each of these two capable authors were, I see that perhaps it has more to do with where each are coming from; Gareth from the more life science and medicine background and then Matthias from artificial intelligence with a hard science background. Perhaps you are both right, and perhaps that was what Gareth was talking about when he writes of each field having their own method, thus a particular science's method is it's scientific method. For Matthias, it just happens to be the scientific method. I would continue to work together until you are both satisfied that you have it right. --Matt Innis (Talk) 21:28, 7 February 2007 (CST)

You must take into account that I am not native English. I have to admit that Gareth's style is better. It is no surpreise. But I mis the neutral point and the systematic approach. --Matthias Brendel 04:30, 8 February 2007 (CST)

Your English is not that bad! But I'd think that Gareth would consider adding some more "conventional" method information perhaps in the beginning and then expound from there. It could be done in one short paragraph; more is not always better. The systematic process could even be introduced as a historical aspect of science and how it has grown from there in order to advance other fields, etc. The possibilities are endless. Talk about it. Matt Innis (Talk) 07:33, 8 February 2007 (CST)


Yes, this is clearly the situation, when we would need an editor, to make a decision based on his expertise.

Now, my propblem with Citizendium is, that:

  • It is not easy to find out, who is responsible for this article.
  • This editor seems to be very inactive and does not do anything.

So organisation is clearly WRONG.

--Matthias Brendel 08:56, 8 February 2007 (CST)

We're an evolving community, and this is still the pilot phase. Where there are disagreements between authors then we need editors to arbitrate. I think we can probably work through this, but there are some CZ principles here. First this is not Wikipedia, and we will prefer content that does not stem from Wikipedia. But more fundamentaly, the policy on neutrality differs. Wikipedia elevates a supposed consensus majority view as the "NPOV default". I think we are aiming for neutrality in a different way, a way that avoids needlessly asserting a majority view where there is no clear consensus, but explains the arguments rather than taking any editorial position. Here, the dispute essentially stems from my view that there is no consensus on whether there is such a thing as the scientific method that distinguishes science from any other reasoned activity, and no agreement on whether there is any method that consistently characterises scientists activities. To say there's no consensus on the first point is not to agree with Feyeraband, only to declare that his position is a significant one. The second point is probably something that everone concedes - for philosophers this is the demarkation problem and for scientists, well they know that between astronomy, quantum mechanics, cognitive science and social anthroplogy the common ground is pretty narrow; they vary only in whether there is something that most scientists follow. This of course depends on who you include as scientists... I'm actually not trying to make any point with this article, except display a maximal interesting diversity of views and opinions. I can see that the article needs another section to the introduction to explain what has been suggested characterises scientists activities - obviously I did that later with the CancerUK theme. The problem is how to do this at the outset without asserting exactly what is in dispute. I'll give it more thought though, and see if we can't find something that satisfies us all. Gareth Leng 11:17, 8 February 2007 (CST)

OK, I now read both articles completely (uff) and I think have to retract some criticism of Gareth's article. What I missed in the beginning comes later on. Questioned which of the articles to give to a student who has to prepare a talk on the scientific method I would even probably point to Gareth's because it is less authoritative and thus forces the student to think more on his own (thus experience the scientific method ;-).

Yet being less authoritative is IMHO not really a positive feature for an encyclopedic article as that will not only be read by students preparing for a talk but also by laymen looking for an explanation or by professionals looking for a quick refresher or reference. And for both uses IMHO Matthias' article structure is better. Gareth's article is often simply presenting quotes from philosophers without setting the stage with first presenting the hypotheses he wants to support with the quotes. Reading his above statement what he wanted to express helped me a lot in understanding the article.

Nevertheless I don't understand why you are waiting for an editor. The articles do not seem to be that far away after all. How about the following structure:

  • A very few sentence overview (probably along the lines of Gareth's article with some statements from Matthias, e.g. the "Some scholar doubt..." sentence and using that one as a forward reference.
  • Maybe a very short section on features of the scientific method (Objective, reproducible, falsifiable) which are currently spread around in both articles.
  • A short section on the Elements of the Scientific Method (maybe only Matthias table). BTW, the table could use some help by someone knowledgeable in the appropriate literature (like *cough* Gareth) as it contains too many phrases which I would see as "Alert signs" (probably wrong idiom) for insufficient literature work like "Almost all phiulosophers agree" or "Many scientists argue" without providing any reference.
  • This should have set the stage for the first 'Insertion' like: "Is the Scientific Method anything special?", where parts of Gareth's article could go in showing that it is actually only something anyone rational would do.
  • Afterwards the elements of the method could be explained in a mixture from Matthias' and Gareth's article. For elements where Gareth's article provides lots of philosophical background (e.g. for "Theories") maybe a 'Critical appraisal' subsection could be added after the actual element has been described.
  • Now complete knowledge of what the Scientific Method is supposed to be can be assumed so it is time for Insertion "Do scientists have to follow the Scientific Method?" (explaining that the Scientific Method describes how sciences works but not necessarily how scientists work (including the chance and inspiration parts from the Elements parts of Gareth's article and the strange ordering of content in scientific papers from the literature part)
  • Insertion "Is the Scientific Method the same for all sciences?" (I can't find anything on that in Gareth's article but he stated above that it is not so).

(The headlines and content of the insertions mentioned above are meant as examples. I may have complete misunderstood everything.)

After that I become a bit lost, since probably things to go into the "Models" and "Philosophical questions" sections proposed by Matthias are now already explained in the insertions or the critical appraisals but hopefully until then consensus has emerged and someone more philosophical than me will have found a solution.

I think such a structure should appeal to both authors. Clearly to Matthias, because the structure is a lot along the lines of his proposal. But also Gareth might be contend because although now something, which he thinks does not exist in that form, is mentioned as a 'fact' in the beginning sections this gives a more clearer object to distinguish from in the insertions and the insertions themselves should raise the awareness to his points more than if the reader had to come up with those questions on his own while reading Gareth's article.

And now we need a new Talk page since the SW complains that it is already longer then 32 KB.

-- Markus Baumeister 16:35, 8 February 2007 (CST)

A start

Taking into account all the comments above, I put in a paragraph in the beginning of the "Elements of the scientific method" section that is meant only as an example of how we might progress from here. Does it look like anything we can work with? Feel free to revert it and certainly correct all the errors in thought;) --Matt Innis (Talk) 17:20, 8 February 2007 (CST)

Many thanks both of you. I think you've very clearly and constructively pointed to directions to improve the article. I'm tied up just now but will get back to it when I can. I don't want to discourage anyone from adding to the article, it's far from complete.Gareth Leng 04:06, 9 February 2007 (CST)

Alternative article: User:Matthias Brendel/Scientific method

I finished the prototype of my alternative article, which is here:

User:Matthias Brendel/Scientific method

I think it is:

  1. Much better structured.
  2. Much more textbook like (I had courses in philosophy of science)
  3. Much more unbiased.
  4. Much more focused on the important things.
  5. Much more informative for the laymen, who want to get some quick information, what scientific method consist of.

I suggest to take that article and continue from that article. I suggest that we incorporate from Gareth' article step by step parts, if they are really important and missing from my article.

It is however much worse in spelling and style, since I am not a native English. So please copy-edit it, moreover, reformulate the sentences! The apripriate references are also missing, but those can be obtained from Garet's article.

I just think that my article is a better framework.

--Matthias Brendel 07:43, 6 March 2007 (CST)

Matthias, the difficulty with starting a competing article is that you in essence ask other contributors to replace what they have worked on with your work. Who will make that decision? I'd rather not, because I have no interest in alienating other contributors. Besides, the only ones who ought to make the decision are philosophers of science, and we don't have any such philosophers active right now (that I know of). No philosophy editor is going to become active only to say, "Your work is out, and your work is in." So we have no way, no mechanism, whereby the hard work of one contributor can entirely replace the hard work of another contributor.

Sorry to say it, but the only thing we are set up to do, right now, is to collaborate--not to replace. --Larry Sanger 09:06, 6 March 2007 (CST)

Thanks Mathias. There is a clear difference of style and intent behind the two versions. I'm not going to comment on the content, but what motivated my version was the wish to produce an article that is readable by a lay reader, in requiring no specialised prior knowledge. It was not intended to be exhaustive (the length does not allow this), but intended as a sampler, an introduction to some of the issues, in the way that Biology is not remotely exhaustive, but is provocative for the reader in its own, different way. It was certainly intended to be anything but a textbook chapter. I've restructured it in light of the comments aired about this version. I think one way forward might be to add a "See also" section that directs readers to the type of specialised issues that you allude to in your article.Gareth Leng 09:28, 6 March 2007 (CST)

Gareth: You know my opinion. Your article is a non-organized collection of some of your favourite ideas, philosophers, examples and citations. It has no structure. It is not a textbook chapter, and THAT IS THE PROBLEM. Your article is a magazine article, not an encyclopedia article.

--Matthias Brendel 10:20, 6 March 2007 (CST)


1) You say we should not replace an existing article with another. Exactly this what was Gareth doing.

2) I cannot collaborate with this article, since IT'S BASIC STRUCTURE IS BAD.

3) So as I see what happens here that if something is started and a lot of effort was made then whatever wrong the direction is, you do not dare to correct the mistake. THAT IS BAD.

4) What is with my effort. Shall I just throw out my article? You did not say that "do not do this other version, we will trow it out anyway".

5) I could slowly replace everything according to my article, but

a) Why is that better? b) It is a lot of quarel.

6) My suggestion is the same: let us take my article as a basis, since its STRUCTURE is better, and put into my article Gareth's work.

The question is: shall we replace the furniture of a good building with some good pieces of furniture from a wrong building, or vice versa? Or just destroyout the good building, and keep the bad one with some good pieces, but wrong structure?

A comment here was deleted by The Constabulary on grounds of making complaints about fellow Citizens. If you have a complaint about the behavior of another Citizen, e-mail It is contrary to Citizendium policy to air your complaints on the wiki. See also CZ:Professionalism.

--Matthias Brendel 10:20, 6 March 2007 (CST)

I have to chime in here after watching this proceed for so long. The wikipedia article is not better. It is different. In my opinion it is actually very confusing to read. Yes, the CZ version reads like a magazine article, is this is critiscism or a complement? Why can't we have both? We desperately need a more approachable article than the one on wikipedia. I am certain that most of the people that read this article will be high school students, therefore a magazine-like article is good from that perspective. I don't see why an extension of these themes cannot be explored at a higher level in sister articles?

With regard to you first comment, "you say we should not replace an existing article with another. Exactly this what was Gareth doing". This does not make sense. Yes, there was an article imported from wikipedia but authors are encouraged to write their own. Gareth started with a blank sheet of paper not a wikipedia article. Maybe you had significant input to the wikipedia version, if so it would be good to work with Gareth incorporating some of the better ideas. Chris Day (Talk) 11:03, 6 March 2007 (CST)

Matthias, I agree with what Chris says re "this is what Gareth has done": no, he started over, and that is behavior that we on CZ want to support. And he did this before you arrived on the scene. Now, if you leave it up to me, we won't replace our article (it isn't Gareth's, it's CZ's) with yours. The fact that you took the trouble to write another article is impressive and praiseworthy but it should not obligate us to use it, or to create a new process whereby someone can write a new article out of whole cloth and simply expect to replace the current one. As to your complaints about the current article, they are your opinion. If you think, for example, that "its basic structure is bad," then you can explain exactly how its structure needs to be improved, and perhaps the current article can be supplemented with material from yours. You worry about "a lot of quarrel" in this case, but for us simply to replace the current article with an article developed by someone else, who just happens to claim that it is better, when neither party is an editor in the relevant area--well, that would create a huge amount of ill-will, and would set a dangerous precedent, which I want to avoid.

I will ask you, please, instead of simply dismissing another excellent contributor's work, actually to argue and explain your points, and allow us to engage in a dialectic, or else leave the article alone entirely. --Larry Sanger 11:18, 6 March 2007 (CST)


1) As I remember an encyclopaedia doe differ from a magazine very much. It is closer to a textbook article. So this is a criticism

2) Our goal is to create a good encyclopaedia, and for this purpose a Wikipedia article is not less worth than any other contribution. Who wrote the article is not an factor.

3) "you can explain exactly how its structure needs to be improved". I explained it and I even demonstrated it. See my article.

4) "but for us simply to replace the current article with an article developed by someone else, who just happens to claim that it is better, when neither party is an editor in the relevant area--well, that would create a huge amount of ill-will, and would set a dangerous precedent, which I want to avoid."

Simply to keep things how they are, because you have no editor is a more dangeorus precedent. As I see Citizendium is not better organized than WIkipedia. You just forked Wikipedia, I do not se what for.

In Wikipedia it was at least possible to change something along the majority opinion. Here I see that it is not possible to change something. Things remain the same because of lazyness.

You are creating a dangerous precedence, causing me to leave this projecct.

I just remind you that I am more of a specialist in this area than Gareth. And you simply throw out my work.

That is exactly the opposite than the goal of this project: you encourage people to disregard specialists. You do it yourself.

--Matthias Brendel 11:56, 6 March 2007 (CST)

A comment here was deleted by The Constabulary on grounds of making complaints about fellow Citizens. If you have a complaint about the behavior of another Citizen, e-mail It is contrary to Citizendium policy to air your complaints on the wiki. See also CZ:Professionalism.

please the topic WAS and IS scientific method. I fail to see anything related to that topic. As I am very virginal to the principle of the scientific method, it seems to me it is (I believe) about: observations reproducible observations explanation verification and falsification please stick to that topic and stay clear from side ways and side turns that are not directly related. Robert Tito | Talk 13:21, 6 March 2007 (CST)

A comment here was deleted by The Constabulary on grounds of making complaints about fellow Citizens. If you have a complaint about the behavior of another Citizen, e-mail It is contrary to Citizendium policy to air your complaints on the wiki. See also CZ:Professionalism.

This is no Miss Universe contest, or Idol Robert Tito | Talk 13:02, 6 March 2007 (CST)

Outsider's View - Zach

I'll admit to not being an expert on the scientific method, but I have to say that I find Matthias's article easier to read, however looking at many of the factual changes that Gareth added to this version, many of them are both factual and organizational improvements. I think Matthias's intro is too long. I would limit it to a maximum of 1/2 or maybe 2/3 its current line-count. On the other hand, I think that Gareth's version goes a bit over-board on the quotes. Quotes are great when they reinforce a point, but we don't need 1-2 in each section if they don't really help the article that much. I like how both articles have good coverage of the elements of the method, but I think that Matthias's version has it split slightly better into sections. I also think Matthias's version has a lot of better coverage in sections 2 and 3 that are missing in the current version of the current article.

I think that we need to get over the idea of this being "someone's" article. It's not. It's the group's article. I think there's enough merit to the alternative version that I think it would do well as the core around which we could add stuff from the current article. I think the layout is good, and while it has obvious spelling/grammar issues as well as a lack of sourcing, it's still a good article, and I think that with some work in combining the two, we can have a lot better article overall.

By these comments, I obviously mean no disrespect to any authors or contributors. I'm just trying to provide another point of view on the (apparently contentious) issue. -- ZachPruckowski (Speak to me) 19:44, 6 March 2007 (CST)

Thanks. So this confoirms my claim that at least there are some people, who agree that my article is better organized. If this is so, this also confirms my claim that my article is a better startpoint, since its structure is better. The better parts of Gareth's article can be incorporated in my article better, then the other way.

--Matthias Brendel 03:37, 7 March 2007 (CST)

Text book/encyclopedia/magazine

So which one are we? A bit of all three?

I have started this section since I think the following comments from above need to be addressed before we discuss content.

"an encyclopaedia does differ from a magazine very much. It is closer to a textbook article"
"Our goal is to create a good encyclopedia, and for this purpose a Wikipedia article is not less worth than any other contribution"

To me the whole problem here is more about presentation than content. Matthias, do you really think we serve the world better by replicating a text book style or britannica? Why can't citizendium do its own thing? Accuracy is critical but i see no problem in experts cherry picking their favourite examples to present in a more essay-like format. Just out of interest, why do you think CZ should be more like a text book? In your opinion is there room for more magazine-like commentary, and if so, how should the interface between the text book and the magazine look?

With regard to CZ being disorganised, this is clearly the case. We have too few editors, policy and style pages are still in flux, approval system is still being worked through by trial and error. And many more issues. However, this is a pilot and we have to start some where. Is it frustrating? Yes, it can be. Will it get better? Yes. You cannot make a difference if you don't hang around. Chris Day (Talk) 13:29, 6 March 2007 (CST)

I just started a thread in the forum that may be better for discussing this topic in depth. See:,629.0.html Chris Day (Talk) 14:15, 6 March 2007 (CST)

I thought CZ is a free enyclopaedia and not a free magazine. I thpught CZ is a Wikipedia fork, which aims for better content and better organization, but for the same thing: namelly a free encyclopaedia. But maybe Larry did not define this clearly, and I was misslead. I do not see any reason in doing a free magazine.

For me it is obvious that high quality is a more important aspect for CZ than enjoyability (I do not know the best phrase).

I do not see any reason just to try to create something else, while you even do not know, what is that else. I do not contribute to a project, without a clear concept. --Matthias Brendel 03:34, 7 March 2007 (CST)

Matthias, I'm not trying to suggesting that we create something else but I think an encyclopedia can be enjoyable too. This is a modest goal but essential to attract new readers and teach them to love knowledge. Kids have a very short attention span, but once you have their attention who knows what could happen. For me, one of the goals is to get their attention, so readbility and enjoyability are essential for CZ to be worthwhile. My highest priority, however, is accuracy and this is where wikipedia can be very weak, at least in my field of biology. With respect to quality, why do we have to lose enjoyability to achive a high quality product? Wouldn't something that is accurate AND enjoyable be of the highest quality? Chris Day (Talk) 05:30, 7 March 2007 (CST)

To be accurate: my argument was this:

  1. My article has a better quality in repsect to neutrality, structure, completeness, and so on. In short is more textbook like.
  2. Gareth's article may have several other virtues, but his article is worse in these repsects.
  3. Quality is more important than the other virtues. So a textbook like article is better than a magazine like.
  4. So if we have to chose a basis, then the textbook articleis better then the magazine like.

Since you agree in all the premises, you have to accept the conclusion. The other things you write about were not a question. I did not write that we shall disregard enjoyability, I sayd that it is secondary to high quality.

So please try to get my argument accurately, and try to argue accurately! --Matthias Brendel 05:58, 7 March 2007 (CST)

I don't understand why i have to accept one or the other re: your previous poll and again your argument above. While you do not write "we shall disregard enjoyability" you do say "So if we have to chose a basis, then the textbook article is better then the magazine like." My argument is that we need to write something that inlcudes the best of both. We need to blend, not throw out one or the other. Chris Day (Talk) 06:12, 7 March 2007 (CST)

Because we have to chose a basis. Currently the magazine article is chosen and Gareth tries to make it closer to my article. But the other way is better. Lets take my article and put in ther what is better in Gareth's. In my opinion Gareth's article is still fundamentally wrong. Wrong in structure, wrong in focus.

--Matthias Brendel 06:20, 7 March 2007 (CST)

the atmosphere this article breaths

is one of middle aged women joining on their weekly gossip meeting - and the topic this time is the method, uhm method? yes the scientific method. Lets have another sherry shan't we?? The topic seems to be forgotten in personal debates, arguments are seldom on topic or in place. For those interested it might be new, but confer to the books written by Störig. Robert Tito | Talk 14:57, 6 March 2007 (CST)

Where to start

I'm interested in contributing to this article, but want to find the top priority area for specific improvement first, especially since a lot of work has been done already. Can anyone suggest a particular part or issue that's the best point of attack, before I move in on the text? I can see there is a lot of solid content in Mathias' alternative document, but the issue is where to we insert some of the additional content in the existing article. I can see that content like logical positive thought and the Vienna Circle are not developed extensively in the existing article, but I think the alternative text needs work on how it presents them.David Tribe 17:16, 6 March 2007 (CST)

Mathias' major problem, after style, appears to be structure. So i agree with you that the major issue, to reach harmony here, appears to be where to insert it. Once we have a structure that we can all agree on, then we can worry more about the content. Chris Day (Talk) 17:46, 6 March 2007 (CST)


All remarks should be within the topic. Remember the scientific method is about verifying or falsifying theories by using experimental observations. It is not used to prove experimentally derived experiments to prove something not theoretically defined.

Please stay on topic and do not use personal arguments, as scholar you should use the science as argument not the person. Robert Tito | Talk 21:16, 6 March 2007 (CST)


The structure is like this currently:

"1 Elements of scientific method 2 Hypotheses and theories 3 The scientific method in practice 3.1 Hypotheses 3.2 Experiments and observations 3.3 Peer review 3.4 The scientific literature 3.5 Confirmation 3.6 Statistics 3.7 Progress in science 4 Alternative views 5 See also 6 Notes and references 7 External links "

1, 2 and 3 is redundant. 2 shall be a part of 1, since hypotheses and theories are elements of scientific method. 3 is the same as 1 should be. I do not see any reason to list the elements of scientific method again. Important topics are missing, like philosophycal issues, and models of scientific method, which are important for the philosophycally interrested reader.

Why can't we use my structure from User:Matthias Brendel/Scientific method, which is better?

--Matthias Brendel 04:12, 7 March 2007 (CST)


The current introduction is:

  • Too short
  • Not neutral. There is not even a hint that some philosophers do not agree with the nomological-deductive model, and that there are even philosophers, who claim there is no method, or are against method.

Why can't we use my introduction from User:Matthias Brendel/Scientific method, which is more detalied and more neutral?

--Matthias Brendel 04:15, 7 March 2007 (CST)

Your intro is too long by at least a third. I think we should rewrite an intro that is neither too long nor too short, but just right :-) - ZachPruckowski (Speak to me) 11:36, 7 March 2007 (CST)

Can you suggest any sentence, which I can delete? I could not.

--Matthias Brendel 11:52, 7 March 2007 (CST)


This is not my article it is CZ's. I have provided content that I can affirm to be accurate and verifiable; I have checked all references to Popper Kuhn and Feyeraband both against the original texts and any interpretation of them against other commentaries. Certainy this tect is selective, selective because of my own particular knowledge; I was taught philoophy at university for example by Popper's biographer, David Miller, so it is inevitable that I know more about him than others. However it would be very hard to escape Popper, as he is a rare case of a philosopher whose work has had a major impact on the thinking od scientists and the practice of science. In part this was through his collaborations with and promotion by Einstein, Medawar and Eccles in particular, and perhaps therefore greater in the UK than elsewhere, but the Logic is phenmenally highly cited and influential. (Incidentally Mathias, your assertion that Popper "followed" Pierce, if it implies derivation as it seems to, is inconsistent with Popper's assertion that he was unfamiliar with Pierce's work until after he had published the Logic). Kuhn's book of course is even more highly cited, and these two dwarf all other texts at least in this measure of impact. Feyeraband selects himself in part for his contrariness to Popper and in part because (I think) his views chime with those probably of most scientists, but I may be wrong in that.

Actually I wholly agree with Mathias that the Introduction was unbalanced in not referring to the dissent; this has been a clear misunderstanding because I'd earlier moved Feyeraband from prominence at the beginning to a passage at the end because of an earlier apparently oppodite concern from Mathias, that the article introduced dissenting views too early. I'm very happy to redress this, and have done so.

Popper Kuhn and Feyeraband had one thing in common; they all strongly affirmed that what they were doing was reporting on what scientists actually did. So I do think that scientists have a legitimate interest in and voice in this article. Clearly it is at present consistent with what I know, from my own experience, of the practice of science.

I don't think I've ever suggested that the article shouldn't be expanded. Just that I'm not able to write with any confidence on all things. That is why we collaborate, after all.

However, I think that Mathias's comments point to an apparent solution; Citizendium does not at present have an article on Models of scientific inquiry that Mathias' version links to. Creating that article and linking to it from here would address the content deficiency.

Gareth Leng 05:09, 7 March 2007 (CST)

Written before reading Gareth above)

Looking at both Introductions, I'd say the current one is clearly better in terms of style, simplicity and reader friendliness. I'm not sure that longer is better, and Im not sure its undesirably less than neutral. On the other hand the section (boxed) 'Elements of scientific' method in the alternative seems nicely organised and to be useful addition, although in could be edited with benefit.
The complete restructuring of what has been produced so far worries me a bit in terms of rudeness to those who have put a lot in already. Why not try an work up Elements of scientific method box early in the article and see how we go? David Tribe 05:21, 7 March 2007 (CST)


1) Popper is one influential philosopher of science. You may be well trained on Popper and Kuhn, but that is very narrow. I have a broader training. Beside Kuhn, Popper and Feyerabend, Carnap, Hempel, Lakatos, Toulmin, Barnes & Bloor, and a lot of other philosophers are also relevant.

2)Your training is very English-focused. Popper had a great influence in the English speaking world, because he was in England and published in English. He is a little bit over-valued in the English-speaking world. You native English tend to forget about the other parts of the world.

So I think you have too much attention on Popper and Kuhn and too few on others. Actually, you only have English authors in your article (from the middle ages on). That is too narrow.

--Matthias Brendel 06:08, 7 March 2007 (CST)

David: Yes, it is becomming better. I still favour my version. areth's is a little bit too brief for me still.

--Matthias Brendel 06:08, 7 March 2007 (CST)

I've had a go at the box; if it can be shifted to the right alongside the Contents it might work well? I wouldn't know about how to value philosophers except by their impact. Actually Popper first published in German and it was through Einstein (in German) that he first achieved prominence, but most (all?) of those philosophers you mention published in English and worked in the UK or USA. Certainly I have been selective in describing views that I know to have been influential in science. You're obviously including the USA as English; Kuhn is not English, and of the scientists mentioned, Einstein, Heisenberg, Kekule... ? From 1935 Carnap was in the USA. Gareth Leng 06:17, 7 March 2007 (CST)

Yes of course, philosophers have to be valued by their influence. But global, not only English-world influence. And certainly after the WWII, almost all the prominent philosophers in philosophy of science published in English. Still, you do not seem to know a bit about logical positivism for example. That is completly missing from your article.

On the other hand, you do not seem to know about the movements in philosophy of science. You mention Popper and Kuhn. But where do they belong to and why? Popper and Kuhn are two representatives of two branches of philosophy of science. What are these branches? I have in my structure the name of the the philosophycal movements and models. My article is STURTCURED.

And to be precise, it was Carnap, who made Popper well known in the world. LSD was published with the help of the VC. --Matthias Brendel 06:28, 7 March 2007 (CST)

"The book was brought to Einstein’s attention through musical connections. Popper’s friend Rudolf Serkin played with the Busch Chamber Orchestra and had recently married Adolf and Frieda Busch’s daughter. Frieda knew Einstein, now in Princeton, through his violin-playing. In April 1935 she sent him a copy of Logik der Forschung, explaining that the author was a Jew living in Vienna and hence had no prospects: ‘Have the great kindness to read the attached book. Your judgement, in case it is favorable to Popper, could perhaps help him to get somewhere!’ Not long afterwards the young secondary school teacher received a letter from Einstein which began: ‘Your book pleased me very much in many respects.’ He liked its rejection of the ‘inductive method’ in favour of falsifiability as the decisive feature of scientific theories; purged of certain mistakes the book ‘will be really splendid’. He offered to help in getting it known. Popper replied deferentially, but at some length, standing his ground where he thought he had been right. This elicited the reply from Einstein that appears in Appendix *xii of The Logic of Scientific Discovery."Gareth Leng 07:04, 7 March 2007 (CST)

Einstein, Kekule and Heisenberg are not prominent philosophers of science. They were prominently scientists. You have too many scientists in your article.

--Matthias Brendel 06:29, 7 March 2007 (CST)

It is true that I have a deep antipathy to labels, unless absolutely necessary, believing that the text should be self explanatory. I have no objection to linking to articles about particular movements or schools of thought, where these can be adequately explained.

I also have an antipathy to statements about what most philosophers or most scientists think, as I have no idea how to verify this. It's something I tried to avoid, as the tone implies argument by authority and elevates some views above others in a way that is unneccessary. I can live with a bit of this, but I don't like it.Gareth Leng 07:24, 7 March 2007 (CST)

Gareth: Exactly that is why your article is not organized, since you do not like labels. But an encyclopaedia has to have labels, and Wikis have sections, and those are for labeling, categorizing content in an organized way. You do not like this, that is why your article is not organized.

And an encyclopaedia has to state something about how a view is accepted. It has to name prominent views, videlly accepted views, minority views and so on. This is a task of an ancylopaedia. That is what the reader is awaiting.

If you ommit this, then you get an article, which is only your personal picture about this topic. It will not be an encyclopaedia article.

--Matthias Brendel 08:40, 7 March 2007 (CST)

No, you've misunderstood. It's labels like "Critical Rationalist Model" that I dislike, because it is not self explanatory, the label either has to be explained or else it stands as jargon between the reader and the meaning. And no, I don't consider that this article has to or should come to any judgement between majority and minority views in articles like this. Why? And how can it be verified? The principles by which I try to write is that it is not our job to make up the reader's mind for him, but to a) stimulate his interest to find out more and b) empower him the power to think for himself. We can report facts and opinions. But where there are different opinions on a topic, we do not decide between them by weighing majorities but indicate the arguments and leave it to the reader.Gareth Leng 08:58, 7 March 2007 (CST)

"Critical Rationalism" is a terminus technicus for the view of Popper and his followers. He named himself this way. It is quite selfexplanatory. But the thing is that this is the experts way of describing things. If you do not know this, then you are not an expert. And you are not writing an encyclopaedia.

"The principles by which I try to write is that it is not our job to make up the reader's mind for him, but to a) stimulate his interest to find out more and b) empower him the power to think for himself."

The job for an encyclopaedia is exactly what you reject, and not what you favour. Write your own book if you want what you describe here! That is nice tought, but not an encyclopaedia.

In an encylcopeadia facts are categorized, opinions are categorized and majority opinion IS INDICATED.

You do not just state that creationism and evolutionism exist, you also indicate, which is the accepted or majority view of science. That is not to decide the truth, but indicate some facts about the opinions. That is also a fact.

--Matthias Brendel 09:38, 7 March 2007 (CST)

Yes I know that Popper described his views of Critical Rationalism. But does that name tell anyone what his views were, or indeed anything about them at all? This is why it is not self explanatory. As for the rest, I guess this is a matter for Citizendium neutrality policy.Gareth Leng 09:49, 7 March 2007 (CST)

No, it is not. The problem is that you do not understand that an encyclopaedia uses such labels. It is unavoidable. If you do not like it, do not write encyclopaedias!

--Matthias Brendel 09:57, 7 March 2007 (CST)

"Karl Popper is generally regarded as one of the greatest philosophers of science of the 20th century. He was also a social and political philosopher of considerable stature, a self-professed critical-rationalist"


This is what encylopaedias do. They label, that is their job. Iy you do not like this, then you are in the wrong project.

--Matthias Brendel 10:06, 7 March 2007 (CST)


The Stanford Encyclopedia article on Karl Popper uses the term once, to explain that Popper described himself as a ‘critical-rationalist’. This is of course true; the categorisation is circular (Popper introduced the term to summarise his views) and its meaning not self evident. I don't see what meaning is added to the article by mentioning it.

There are two issues; one is avoiding jargon wherever possible, the second is actively avoiding judgements but confining the writing to facts and reporting selected notable opinions. A statement that an opinion is a majority opinion is a) implied argument by authority and b) requires either verification or clear editorial authority, and in my view should be applied very sparingly. These key issues of readability and neutrality are clearly stumbling blocks that separates your concept from mine. Gareth Leng 11:28, 7 March 2007 (CST)

Gareth: No.

1) jargon shall not be avoided, since this is an ENCYCLOPAEDIA. Do you understand this?! You may explain jargons, but the goal of an encyclopaedia is to contain quality knowledge. I.e. something like the experts knowledge clarified and simplyfied a little bit and mad understandable for a laymen. And actually the term "critical rationalist" is describing quite accuratelly Popper's standpoint. So we shall use jargons wherever possible and translate it also to the laymen. Both are needed.

2) Knowledge shall be structured.

3) This article is not about Popper. Popper is here only an example for a view. The naming of the movement is more important than the person of Popper. It is more important to describe the critical rationalists view then to describe Popper's philosophy. The later is described int he article about popper.

4) We do not want a random sample of some philosophers, but an organized collection of views on this topic.

5) You stick to "critical rationalism", but you also avoid other terms, like logical positivism, historic turn, social school of knowledge and other branches. You miss a lot of views in your article, and you miss a lot of philosophers. I tried to list all the schools relevant for methodology and represent them by the most relevant philosophers.

A comment here was deleted by The Constabulary on grounds of making complaints about fellow Citizens. If you have a complaint about the behavior of another Citizen, e-mail It is contrary to Citizendium policy to air your complaints on the wiki. See also CZ:Professionalism.

A comment here was deleted by The Constabulary on grounds of making complaints about fellow Citizens. If you have a complaint about the behavior of another Citizen, e-mail It is contrary to Citizendium policy to air your complaints on the wiki. See also CZ:Professionalism.

7) Verification: how do you verify that Popper is influential philosopher? The same way you can verify which view is a common, an accepted or a minority view. So you must have the answer yourself. If you do not have an answer thern you can not pick Popper and kuhn as prominent philosophers.

--Matthias Brendel 11:51, 7 March 2007 (CST)

A comment here was deleted by The Constabulary on grounds of making complaints about fellow Citizens. If you have a complaint about the behavior of another Citizen, e-mail It is contrary to Citizendium policy to air your complaints on the wiki. See also CZ:Professionalism.

I would like to add that the wiki is simply not the place to attempt to adjudicate personal disputes you have with others. We have an adjudication process, which you may attempt to invoke if you remain a member in good standing, and which it is our duty to execute with impartiality. But it would be very much contrary to "due process" and to civil working relations if we use the wiki to settle complaints. --Larry Sanger 13:47, 7 March 2007 (CST)

Scientific institutions

What about developining some of the topics by describing current scientific institutions (the republic of science, scholarly behavior, scientific journals, competitive research funding and so on. Or may thats for elsewhere? Just a conjecture :o)David Tribe 18:20, 7 March 2007 (CST)

Personally I think that would be valuable. The practise of science is extensively governed by the gatekeepers of funding and publication, and perhaps Good Laboratory Practise should be mentioned.

On other issues, I found that this article from Carnap, wgich I've added to the reading list, may be helpful for the basis of expansion, for three reasons, first to distinguisgs between what philosophers understand by observables and what scientists understand by this. Second the ditinction between empirical "laws" and theoretical laws, and third, relating to this the very concept of a law; obviously in biology we don't talk much about laws but do in physics. Carnap R (1966) Theories and Nonobservablesfrom Philosophical Foundations of Physics

Another possibility would be a section on "thought experiments" - notably Einstein's, but the Galileo Tower of Pisa "experiment" was really a thought experiment (although practically executed in a different form)

Again, something neglected here (and in most accounts) is method in "big science", the human genome project and particle accelerators for example. This is different in being goal driven rather than hypothesis led.

Another issue relates to medicine - in what sense if any is medicine scientific?

I removed the sections on reductionism and measurement to reductionism, but I do think that reductionism should be covered here to some extent, and the section on measurement might fit in the context of a section on observables?

Obviously the structure that I attempted was to take a structured account (from CancerUK) of actual practise, and and break it down with each elements accompanied by some explanation and some commentary introducing related issues. A problem is that this is an account of method in biological sciences, and accounts in other areas of science might be very different. If so I don't think it would help to try to develop a generalised method, but it might be good to present the flows separately, as contrasting examples of scientific method in practice.

I don't want any appearance of my owning this article so would prefer to step away from this now. What I had implictly proposed was that this article a) be readable for a lay person, and be intended more as an introduction for scientists to the philosophical issues and considerations behind what they do, than as an precis for philosophers about movements within philosophy. b) that it should not attempt to prescribe what scientists ought to be doing, but describe what they actually do, with philosophical commentary on that. c) that it should acknowledge the diversity of scientific practise and the diversity of views held about method d) I wanted an article with authority (carefully referenced to on line available links, and judiciously selective in its choice of examples and issues to introduce) but that did not trespass into a tone of argument from authority

It would also be good I think to think about illustrations. The history of course has a separate article, so Galileo and Hume are not mentioned here for example, and the history provides a rich source of possible illustrations.

I'd favour some examples to bring abstract concepts alive, However rather than recycling Newton, Ptolemy and Copernicus, perhaps a sustaned example from Earth Sciences - plate tectonics perhaps - could be given a section as an example of a scientific revolution, an initially highly controversial hypothesis that became a theory validated by observations (geological continuity in strata now widely separated) and experimental tests (of the rate of movement of plates), with explanatory power (to understand the distribution of volcanos)? Just a suggestion.

Wishing you all well.Gareth Leng 06:11, 8 March 2007 (CST)