The Ethical Skeptic

Challenging Pseudo-Skepticism, Institutional Propaganda and Cultivated Ignorance

The Scientific Method Contrasted with The Experimental Method

The scientific method begins with observation, intelligence and necessity – a process of circumspection and skepticism, which is distinctly different from the much more tactical experimental method: a subset of the scientific method which boasts that it knows what question to ask, from the very start – bearing no need for such frivolities as preliminary study, a catalog of observation and a compelling framework of argument.

The experimental method is a subset of the scientific method. There is also a distinct difference between these two protocols of science. The experimental method is oriented towards an incremental continuation of existing knowledge development, and accordingly begins with the asking of a question, bolstered by some quick research before initiating experimental testing. But not all, nor even the majority of knowledge development can be prosecuted in this fashion. Under the scientific method, one cannot boast about possessing the information necessary in asking a question at the very start. Asking an uninformed question may serve to bias the entire process – or kill the research artificially without the full awareness of the sponsors or stakeholders. Accordingly, in the scientific method, a question is not asked until step 8 – this in an effort to avoid the pitfalls of pseudo-theory. This is purposeful, because the astute researcher often does not know the critical path necessary to reach his discovery – at the very beginning. Science involves a intelligence development period wherein we ask, 1. what are the critical issues that need to be resolved, 2. what are the irrelevant factors we can ignore for now? and 3. how do I chain these issue resolutions into a critical path of knowledge development? In absence of this process, there exists a bevy of questions – wherein just selecting one and starting experiments, is akin to shooting in the dark.

The materials physicist Percy Bridgman, commented upon the process by which we ‘translate’ abstract theories and concepts into specific experimental contexts and protocols. Calling this work of reduction and translation ‘operationalism’ – Bridgman cautioned that experimental data production is often guided by substantial presuppositions about the subject matter which arise as a part of this translation. Often raising concern about the ways in which initial questions are formulated inside a scientific context. True science is a process which revisits its methodological constructs (modes of research method) as often as it does its epistemological (knowledge) ones. Accordingly, this principle identified by Bridgman is the foundation of the philosophy which clarifies the difference between the scientific method, and the experimental method. It is unwise to consider the two as being necessarily congruent.1

The process of developing a scientific question, is many times daunting, involving commitment from a sponsor, a long horizon of assimilating observational intelligence and persistence in seeking to establish a case for necessity. A necessity which serves to introduce plurality of argument (see Ockham’s Razor), which can be brought before peers. Advising peers who are in support of the research and assist in developing the construct being addressed, into a workable hypothesis. These peers are excited to witness the results of the research as well.

Fake skeptics seek to kill research in the hypothesis development phase. In the end, they don’t want to know the results. Which is why they eschew these critical path steps of the scientific method:

  1. Observation
  2. Intelligence
  3. Necessity

And then further push the experimental method in its place – asking a biased and highly uninformed question (also known in philosophy as rhetoric), while promoting science as nothing but exclusive club lab activity.  Finally, incorporating their corrupted version of ‘peer review’ wherein they seek to kill ideas before they can be formulated into a hypothesis and be studied. This is a process of corruption.

Accordingly, the scientific method begins with a process of circumspection and skepticism, which is distinctly different from the inception of the much more tactical experimental method. To scoff at this distinction, reveals a state of scientific illiteracy and of never having done actual scientific research nor discovery.

While both the experimental method and the scientific method are valid process descriptions applicable to science, there does exist an abbreviated version of the scientific method which sometimes slips by as valid to political agenda proponents and the mainstream press – that method which is practiced in the pesticide and vaccine industries.  It follows:

The Lyin’tific Method

1.  Become indignant that anti-science people are questioning your authority and endangering your profits

2.  Ask a poorly framed half-assed sciencey-sounding question – without any prior observation or research

3.  Conduct a single statistical study in another country, with the wrong age group, exclusion biased to obfuscate effect and which observes absences (not presences) of data

4.  Publish wildly exaggerated & comprehensive claims extrapolated from that single questionable study

5.  Hire a gang to infiltrate society and media to virtue signal about you and attack those who dissented

To the media, this might look like science. But to a life-long researcher, it is nowhere near valid.  It is pseudo-science at the least; and even worse than in the case of the paranormal peddler – it is a criminal felony and assault against humanity.

The discerning ethical skeptic bears this in mind and uses it to discern the sincere from the poser.

epoché vanguards gnosis

How to MLA cite this blog post =>
The Ethical Skeptic, “The Scientific Method Contrasted with The Experimental Method” The Ethical Skeptic, WordPress, 31 March 2018, Web;
  1. Paul Humphreys,”The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Science; Oxford University Press, New York, NY, 2016; pp.284-5.

March 31, 2018 - Posted by | Ethical Skepticism | , ,

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