Highest School

The Scientific Method, Part 1

In science classrooms around the country, children are told that there is just one way to get information: by applying the scientific method. They are told that make a "theory," test it through experimentation, and verify their experiments, after which they still aren't officially sure of anything and have to keep testing and making new theories! If this sounds like a tedious and, ultimately, pointless way of obtaining knowledge, then your hearing is just fine.

The scientific method may be sufficient for obtaining some kinds of knowledge, but it is worthless for finding out anything with absolute certainty. And teaching this method to the exclusion of all others denies our children the knowledge of how to gain information through more natural means. For example:

The scientific method also falls apart when supernatural phenomena are investigated. For example, the presence of someone who is not a whole-hearted believer and has no emotional stake in the success of a psychic experiment may cause that experiment to fail. And scientists might have you believe that a psychic performer is a fraud just because he has repeatedly been shown to use fraudulent methods, but science is at a complete loss to prove that he wasn't using his psychic abilities on those occasions when he wasn't caught.

Scientists also poo-poo some evidence just because it hurts their ego or doesn't fit into their favored world view. Let's say that a psychic helps police find a missing woman by telling police to look near water where there's a number two, and that the missing woman is found in a damp basement on a Tuesday, scientists would claim that this was "too ambiguous" to be evidence and shake their heads sadly when it headlined Fox evening news. All because science is embarassed about being completely unable to help the police in this way.

Let's look at another famous failure of science. When people started bringing the first meteorites to scientists, claiming that the rocks fell from the sky, scientists thought the idea completely ridiculous. "Rocks can't fall from the sky," said the scientists, and encouraged the poor ignorant folks to put their rocks back in their heads from whence the came. Eventually it was proven that the rocks did indeed fall from the sky, showing once again that the scientists didn't know what they were talking about. But did the scientists change their minds? Well, yes they did, but only after the evidence was so significant that they really had no choice.

So why limit our children to one set of tools for finding a reality of their own? No reason we can think of.