I am often asked the question “Is there a scientific method?” If the question means “Is there just one method that all scientists accept and use by consensus?” then the answer is clearly NO. As this series has shown, and will continue to show, there are many, many methods that scientists use in their efforts to understand how the world works.
I believe, however, that there is such a thing as an UNscientific method, and that, rather like Lewis Carroll’s conception of an UNbirthday in Alice in Wonderland, it is much more common than the real thing.
The rules for applying the unscientific method to a problem are simple:
- Know what answer you are looking for.
- Look for evidence and arguments to support your answer.
- Avoid or ignore evidence and arguments that do not support your answer.
- Deride those who disagree with you.
It’s that simple. And it is much easier to use than any real scientific method.
Maybe that’s why so many people use it.