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The scientific method is the methodology of the philosophy of empiricism that produces technical peer-reviewed research detailing observations by way of experimentation attempting to find patterns of predictability in nature. These patterns are interpreted by scientists and then a coherent hypothesis can be found. Regardless of the philosophical presuppositions an individual holds toward the origin of life specifically or reality generally, if strict adherence to the scientific method is maintained empirical evidence will be produced.
|“||A method of procedure that has characterized natural science since the 17th century, consisting in systematic observation, measurement, and experiment, and the formulation, testing, and modification of hypotheses.||”|
The scientific method employs several steps which form a coherent set of propositions that explain a class of phenomena. The six listed below are present in all scientific endeavors. Further experimentation is conducted using acceptable scientific standards in a lab with the findings published in peer-reviewed scientific journals. If the natural phenomena becomes reproducible under specific conditions no matter how many times tested, classification of a scientific law is then considered.
The scientific method consists of the following steps:
- Observe some aspect of the universe or natural world.
- Define the aspect through a tentative description, called a hypothesis, that is consistent with what you have observed.
- Use the hypothesis to then predict, or essentially form experiments that compare what you predicted through a hypothesis and what actually happens.
- Test those predictions by repeated experimentation for further observation.
- Modify the hypothesis in light of the results.
- Repeat steps four and five until there are no discrepancies between hypothesis, prediction and observation. 
The scientist observes something interesting, and he wants to know how it happened. He lays down the basic questions as to what is responsible for the phenomena he observed, and from there begins to form his hypothesis.
In asking these questions scientists also look for research that has already been done on their topic to determine if they are duplicating a past experiment, doing something new, or building on a previous experiment. Such research, although tedious and time-consuming, simply builds on the knowledge yet to be gained by the scientist’s questions.
- Main Article: Hypothesis
A hypothesis is a statement of what the researcher thinks will happen in the experiment. Basically a “guess”, the hypothesis must be observable and testable. An hypothesis may become a theory when substantiated by experimentation and supporting data.
When designing the experiment, the researcher carefully controls as many variables as possible. In most experiments there is a control group and a treatment group. The two groups are as similar as possible, but the treatment group is the one that experiences the variable as to what the researcher is studying.
Knowledge of the specific research will deepen and constants within nature can be defined. Experiments should be designed to answer many aspects of the hypothesis and lead to a pattern that provides a theory with great explanatory power for the observation.
After the data are analyzed and written down, the scientist checks the results against the hypothesis; if the results have proven the hypothesis to be wrong, then it must be discarded. Even if the hypothesis is not correct, conclusions can still be made and significant knowledge gained. If the hypothesis is indicated to be correct, then the results are published and sent to other scientists within the field in question.
Scientists must be able to take such published data and repeat the experiment. This not only confirms the validity of the original hypothesis, but advances it to the level of a “theory”, which in science means an interpretation or explanation of a hypothesis that is well-supported by evidence which is tested and testable. A theory can also be falsified by evidence as well. The level of a “fact” or “law” is simply that which is empirical, and cannot be proven wrong.
A classic example of the Scientific Method being used stemmed from a simple bet. In 1872 a railroad baron named Leland Stanford made a wager that a horse’s hooves do not touch the ground at some point in a gallop. To test the hypothesis, photographer Eadweard Muybridge  was hired; he installed a series of trip wires which were rigged from a long wall about two inches from the ground, each one tied to a camera’s shutter facing the wall; the experiment called for the horse to run past the wall, tripping the wires and getting a photo at each point. The results were factual and conclusive: a horse at a running gallop does have all four hooves off the ground.
The agreement of an observation or experiment with a hypothesis does not on its own prove the hypothesis correct. It merely makes its correctness more likely. The hypothesis must agree with other aspects of the scientific framework of knowledge, and survive the test of repeated experiments by other people working independently. Over time, the accumulation of data will tend to confirm or refute a hypothesis.
Philosophy of science
- Main Article: Philosophy of science
Philosophy of science is the investigation into the concepts, methods, principles and ideas by which science operates. Natural science operates most often by presupposing a particular philosophy but that should not be the case. Science is primarily a practical discipline; its standard is utility or "whatever works". It is only when science is asserted as justifiably true and the only rational authority for knowledge that it becomes philosophical, or epistemological, and more specifically can be called scientism. It then competes with other philosophies, something which natural scientists like biologists should be and write like they are reluctant to do.
Philosophy of science serves the following purposes:
- It helps in illuminating a definition of science to determine which realm of ideas are accessible, and which of these is "only religion" or "only philosophy;"
- Develops criteria for determining which ideas are to be considered science, which are speculation, and which are false;
- Develops more comprehensive ethics of scientific methods for experimentation and observation to advance science.
- ↑ Scientific Method Google Online Dictionary definition
- ↑ Scientific Method steps Science Buddies
- ↑ Eadweard Muybridge American History
- ↑ Hilary Putnam on the Philosophy of Science: Section 1
- Scientific method Discovery School
- Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of California, Riverside
- The Scientific Method, from Clermont College
- Introduction to the Scientific Method
- Biology for Kids
- Example of the Scientific Method used, from NASA
- Methodology of Science Genesis Science Mission
- Methodology of Science Genesis Mission
- Science's method rules out design Response to Talk.Origins
- Philosophy of science