AI News, To Hypothesize or Not to Hypothesize

To Hypothesize or Not to Hypothesize

Some suggest traditional scientific methods must be used while others assert new scientific methods must be developed - especially considering algorithms, machine learning and future artificial intelligence.

Let us stipulate that 'Data Science' means the scientific study of the creation, manipulation and transformation of data to create meaning and 'Data Scientist' means a professional who uses scientific methods to liberate and create meaning from raw data.

“Scientific method” means a method of research in which a problem is identified, relevant data are gathered, a hypothesis is formulated from these data, and the hypothesis is empirically tested.

It is suggested that best practice data science methods consists of the following steps: (1) Careful observations of data, data sets and relationships between data.

Note that even without a hypothesis, it is prudent to use standard scientific methods to measure and record any experimental or test results for optimal decision making and continuous improvement.

For example, we recently were engaged by a large financial firm to find meaning in data to help market and sell certain financial products.

Human purchasing behavior is tricky business yet by running a number of experiments we found the optimal marketing and selling process that significantly increased sales.

The dirty secret in business and public policy (but not hard scientific disciplines) - when dealing with unpredictable human behavior - is that running many experiments is often (but not always) superior to creating a model to test a hypothesis.

For example, attempting to find one or more causal variables in a financial model, identifying why the hypothesis could be true before crunching data is vital considering it is a generalized model.

Scientific method

Scientific method is an empirical method of knowledge acquisition, which has characterized the development of natural science since at least the 17th century, involving careful observation, which includes rigorous skepticism about what is observed, given that cognitive assumptions about how the world works influence how one interprets a percept;

The process of the scientific method involves making conjectures (hypotheses), deriving predictions from them as logical consequences, and then carrying out experiments or empirical observations based on those predictions.[5][6]

A scientific hypothesis must be falsifiable, implying that it is possible to identify a possible outcome of an experiment or observation that conflicts with predictions deduced from the hypothesis;

Robert Nola and Howard Sankey remark that 'For some, the whole idea of a theory of scientific method is yester-year's debate, the continuation of which can be summed up as yet more of the proverbial deceased equine castigation.

The term 'scientific method' did not come into wide use until the 19th century, when other modern scientific terminologies began to emerge such as 'scientist' and 'pseudoscience' and significant transformation of science was taking place.[19]

The term 'scientific method' came to be used prominently in the twentieth century, with no scientific authorities over its meaning despite it popping up in textbooks and dictionaries.[19]

Though there was a steady growth on the concept into the twentieth century, by the end of that century numerous influential philosophers of science like Thomas Kuhn and Paul Feyerabend had questioned the universality of the 'scientific method' and in doing so largely replaced the notion of science as a homogeneous and universal method with that of it being a heterogeneous and local practice.[19]

A strong formulation of the scientific method is not always aligned with a form of empiricism in which the empirical data is put forward in the form of experience or other abstracted forms of knowledge;

revelation, political or religious dogma, appeals to tradition, commonly held beliefs, common sense, or, importantly, currently held theories, are the only possible means of demonstrating truth.

The overall process involves making conjectures (hypotheses), deriving predictions from them as logical consequences, and then carrying out experiments based on those predictions to determine whether the original conjecture was correct.[5]

Depending on the complexity of the experiment, many iterations may be required to gather sufficient evidence to answer a question with confidence, or to build up many answers to highly specific questions in order to answer a single broader question.

The discovery became the starting point for many further studies involving the genetic material, such as the field of molecular genetics, and it was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1962.

If the work passes peer review, which occasionally may require new experiments requested by the reviewers, it will be published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal.

Though not typically required, they might be requested to supply this data to other scientists who wish to replicate their original results (or parts of their original results), extending to the sharing of any experimental samples that may be difficult to obtain.[52]

This allows scientists to gain a better understanding of the topic under study, and later to use that understanding to intervene in its causal mechanisms (such as to cure disease).

The most successful explanations – those which explain and make accurate predictions in a wide range of circumstances – are often called scientific theories.

improvements in theoretical scientific understanding typically result from a gradual process of development over time, sometimes across different domains of science.[53]

In general, explanations become accepted over time as evidence accumulates on a given topic, and the explanation in question proves more powerful than its alternatives at explaining the evidence.

However, these laws were then determined to be special cases of a more general theory (relativity), which explained both the (previously unexplained) exceptions to Newton's laws and predicted and explained other observations such as the deflection of light by gravity.

Since new theories might be more comprehensive than what preceded them, and thus be able to explain more than previous ones, successor theories might be able to meet a higher standard by explaining a larger body of observations than their predecessors.[55]

this is a heuristic that leads a person with a particular belief to see things as reinforcing their belief, even if another observer might disagree (in other words, people tend to observe what they expect to observe).

historical example is the belief that the legs of a galloping horse are splayed at the point when none of the horse's legs touches the ground, to the point of this image being included in paintings by its supporters.

Another important human bias that plays a role is a preference for new, surprising statements (see appeal to novelty), which can result in a search for evidence that the new is true.

Goldhaber and Nieto published in 2010 the observation that if theoretical structures with 'many closely neighboring subjects are described by connecting theoretical concepts then the theoretical structure ..

On the contrary, if the astronomically large, the vanishingly small, and the extremely fast are removed from Einstein's theories – all phenomena Newton could not have observed – Newton's equations are what remain.

it should also be noted that a number of philosophers, historians, and sociologists of science, including Paul Feyerabend, claim that such descriptions of scientific method have little relation to the ways that science is actually practiced.

(The subjects can also be called unsolved problems or the unknowns.) For example, Benjamin Franklin conjectured, correctly, that St. Elmo's fire was electrical in nature, but it has taken a long series of experiments and theoretical changes to establish this.

The systematic, careful collection of measurements or counts of relevant quantities is often the critical difference between pseudo-sciences, such as alchemy, and science, such as chemistry or biology.

The measurements often require specialized scientific instruments such as thermometers, spectroscopes, particle accelerators, or voltmeters, and the progress of a scientific field is usually intimately tied to their invention and improvement.

For example, electric current, measured in amperes, may be operationally defined in terms of the mass of silver deposited in a certain time on an electrode in an electrochemical device that is described in some detail.

The operational definition of a thing often relies on comparisons with standards: the operational definition of 'mass' ultimately relies on the use of an artifact, such as a particular kilogram of platinum-iridium kept in a laboratory in France.

The history of the discovery of the structure of DNA is a classic example of the elements of the scientific method: in 1950 it was known that genetic inheritance had a mathematical description, starting with the studies of Gregor Mendel, and that DNA contained genetic information (Oswald Avery's transforming principle).[40]

Using clues painstakingly assembled over decades, beginning with its chemical composition, it was determined that it should be possible to characterize the physical structure of DNA, and the X-ray images would be the vehicle.[74]

Sometimes, but not always, they can also be formulated as existential statements, stating that some particular instance of the phenomenon being studied has some characteristic and causal explanations, which have the general form of universal statements, stating that every instance of the phenomenon has a particular characteristic.

Scientists are free to use whatever resources they have – their own creativity, ideas from other fields, inductive reasoning, Bayesian inference, and so on – to imagine possible explanations for a phenomenon under study.

Charles Sanders Peirce, borrowing a page from Aristotle (Prior Analytics, 2.25) described the incipient stages of inquiry, instigated by the 'irritation of doubt' to venture a plausible guess, as abductive reasoning.

The history of science is filled with stories of scientists claiming a 'flash of inspiration', or a hunch, which then motivated them to look for evidence to support or refute their idea.

the success of a hypothesis, or its service to science, lies not simply in its perceived 'truth', or power to displace, subsume or reduce a predecessor idea, but perhaps more in its ability to stimulate the research that will illuminate ...

In contrast to the usual English use of these terms, they here refer to a theory in accordance with the known facts, which is nevertheless relatively simple and easy to handle.

To minimize the confirmation bias which results from entertaining a single hypothesis, strong inference emphasizes the need for entertaining multiple alternative hypotheses.[76]

In their first paper, Watson and Crick also noted that the double helix structure they proposed provided a simple mechanism for DNA replication, writing, 'It has not escaped our notice that the specific pairing we have postulated immediately suggests a possible copying mechanism for the genetic material'.[80]

Einstein's theory of General Relativity makes several specific predictions about the observable structure of space-time, such as that light bends in a gravitational field, and that the amount of bending depends in a precise way on the strength of that gravitational field.

Traces of this approach can be seen in the work of Hipparchus (190–120 BCE), when determining a value for the precession of the Earth, while controlled experiments can be seen in the works of Jābir ibn Hayyān (721–815 CE), al-Battani (853–929) and Alhazen (965–1039).[83]

To protect against bad science and fraudulent data, government research-granting agencies such as the National Science Foundation, and science journals, including Nature and Science, have a policy that researchers must archive their data and methods so that other researchers can test the data and methods and build on the research that has gone before.

who distinguished the forms of approximate and exact reasoning, set out the threefold scheme of abductive, deductive, and inductive inference, and also treated the compound forms such as reasoning by analogy.

Charles Sanders Peirce (1839–1914) characterized inquiry in general not as the pursuit of truth per se but as the struggle to move from irritating, inhibitory doubts born of surprises, disagreements, and the like, and to reach a secure belief, belief being that on which one is prepared to act.

He framed scientific inquiry as part of a broader spectrum and as spurred, like inquiry generally, by actual doubt, not mere verbal or hyperbolic doubt, which he held to be fruitless.[90]

Peirce held that slow, stumbling ratiocination can be dangerously inferior to instinct and traditional sentiment in practical matters, and that the scientific method is best suited to theoretical research,[92]

The scientific method excels the others by being deliberately designed to arrive – eventually – at the most secure beliefs, upon which the most successful practices can be based.

Starting from the idea that people seek not truth per se but instead to subdue irritating, inhibitory doubt, Peirce showed how, through the struggle, some can come to submit to truth for the sake of belief's integrity, seek as truth the guidance of potential practice correctly to its given goal, and wed themselves to the scientific method.[23][26]

In that vein he defined truth as the correspondence of a sign (in particular, a proposition) to its object and, pragmatically, not as actual consensus of some definite, finite community (such that to inquire would be to poll the experts), but instead as that final opinion which all investigators would reach sooner or later but still inevitably, if they were to push investigation far enough, even when they start from different points.[94]

In tandem he defined the real as a true sign's object (be that object a possibility or quality, or an actuality or brute fact, or a necessity or norm or law), which is what it is independently of any finite community's opinion and, pragmatically, depends only on the final opinion destined in a sufficient investigation.

Those conceptions of truth and the real involve the idea of a community both without definite limits (and thus potentially self-correcting as far as needed) and capable of definite increase of knowledge.[95]

Paying special attention to the generation of explanations, Peirce outlined the scientific method as a coordination of three kinds of inference in a purposeful cycle aimed at settling doubts, as follows (in §III–IV in 'A Neglected Argument'[5]

Scientific journals use a process of peer review, in which scientists' manuscripts are submitted by editors of scientific journals to (usually one to three, and usually anonymous) fellow scientists familiar with the field for evaluation.

This standard is practiced to various degrees by different journals, and can have the effect of keeping the literature free of obvious errors and to generally improve the quality of the material, especially in the journals who use the standard most rigorously.

The peer review process can have limitations when considering research outside the conventional scientific paradigm: problems of 'groupthink' can interfere with open and fair deliberation of some new research.[107]

Sometimes experimenters may make systematic errors during their experiments, veer from standard methods and practices (Pathological science) for various reasons, or, in rare cases, deliberately report false results.

In these cases, detailed records of their experimental procedures, raw data, statistical analyses and source code can be preserved in order to provide evidence of the methodology and practice of the procedure and assist in any potential future attempts to reproduce the result.

These procedural records may also assist in the conception of new experiments to test the hypothesis, and may prove useful to engineers who might examine the potential practical applications of a discovery.

There are basic assumptions, derived from philosophy by at least one prominent scientist, that form the base of the scientific method – namely, that reality is objective and consistent, that humans have the capacity to perceive reality accurately, and that rational explanations exist for elements of the real world.[109]

Hanson (1958) first coined the term for the idea that all observation is dependent on the conceptual framework of the observer, using the concept of gestalt to show how preconceptions can affect both observation and description.[111]

He opens Chapter 1 with a discussion of the Golgi bodies and their initial rejection as an artefact of staining technique, and a discussion of Brahe and Kepler observing the dawn and seeing a 'different' sun rise despite the same physiological phenomenon.

Kuhn (1961) said the scientist generally has a theory in mind before designing and undertaking experiments so as to make empirical observations, and that the 'route from theory to measurement can almost never be traveled backward'.

Whereas postmodernists assert that scientific knowledge is simply another discourse (note that this term has special meaning in this context) and not representative of any form of fundamental truth, realists in the scientific community maintain that scientific knowledge does reveal real and fundamental truths about reality.

while some systems of investigation are fragile in the face of human error, human bias, and randomness, the scientific method is more than resistant or tough – it actually benefits from such randomness in many ways (it is anti-fragile).

In fact, some observers (including some well known mathematicians such as Gregory Chaitin, and others such as Lakoff and Núñez) have suggested that mathematics is the result of practitioner bias and human limitation (including cultural ones), somewhat like the post-modernist view of science.

However, when the scientific method employs statistics as part of its arsenal, there are mathematical and practical issues that can have a deleterious effect on the reliability of the output of scientific methods.

The particular points raised are statistical ('The smaller the studies conducted in a scientific field, the less likely the research findings are to be true' and 'The greater the flexibility in designs, definitions, outcomes, and analytical modes in a scientific field, the less likely the research findings are to be true.') and economical ('The greater the financial and other interests and prejudices in a scientific field, the less likely the research findings are to be true' and 'The hotter a scientific field (with more scientific teams involved), the less likely the research findings are to be true.') Hence: 'Most research findings are false for most research designs and for most fields' and 'As shown, the majority of modern biomedical research is operating in areas with very low pre- and poststudy probability for true findings.'

However: 'Nevertheless, most new discoveries will continue to stem from hypothesis-generating research with low or very low pre-study odds,' which means that *new* discoveries will come from research that, when that research started, had low or very low odds (a low or very low chance) of succeeding.

Steps of the Scientific Method

For example, scientists studying how stars change as they age or how dinosaurs digested their food cannot fast-forward a star's life by a million years or run medical exams on feeding dinosaurs to test their hypotheses.

But even when modified, the goal remains the same: to discover cause and effect relationships by asking questions, carefully gathering and examining the evidence, and seeing if all the available information can be combined in to a logical answer.

Whether you are doing a science fair project, a classroom science activity, independent research, or any other hands-on science inquiry understanding the steps of the scientific method will help you focus your scientific question and work through your observations and data to answer the question as well as possible.

What Is Science?

Science is a systematic and logical approach to discovering how things in the universe work.

is derived from the Latin word scientia, which is knowledge based on demonstrable and reproducible data, according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary.

When conducting research, scientists use the scientific method to collect measurable, empirical evidence in an experiment related to a hypothesis (often in the form of an if/then statement), the results aiming to support or contradict a theory.

"As a field biologist, my favorite part of the scientific method is being in the field collecting the data,"

So the first step in identifying questions and generating possible answers (hypotheses) is also very important and is a creative process.

"This is one that guides much of my research on cellular electrical activity and it states that energy cannot be created nor destroyed, only changed in form.

A law just describes an observed phenomenon, but it doesn't explain why the phenomenon exists or what causes it.

Laws are generally considered to be without exception, though some laws have been modified over time after further testing found discrepancies.

For a hypothesis to become a theory, rigorous testing must occur, typically across multiple disciplines by separate groups of scientists.

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Some of the things we take for granted today were dreamed up on pure brainpower, others by total accident.

Some of the things we take for granted today were dreamed up on pure brainpower, others by total accident.

The earliest evidence of science can be found in prehistoric times, such as the discovery of fire, invention of the wheel and development of writing.

The understanding of chemistry also evolved during this century as Antoine Lavoisier, dubbed the father of modern chemistry, developed the law of conservation of mass.

John Dalton also introduced atomic theory, which stated that all matter is composed of atoms that combine to form molecules.

1900s: The discoveries of Albert Einstein, who is best known for his theory of relativity, dominated the beginning of the 20th century.

concluded that time must change according to the speed of a moving object relative to the frame of reference of an observer.

Watson and Francis Crick discovered the structure of DNA, which is a double helix formed by base pairs attached to a sugar-phosphate backbone, according to the United States National Library of Medicine.

2000s: The 21st century saw the first draft of the human genome completed, leading to a greater understanding of DNA.

What Is a Scientific Hypothesis? | Definition of Hypothesis

A scientific hypothesis is the initial building block in the scientific method.

A hypothesis is a suggested solution for an unexplained occurrence that does not fit into current accepted scientific theory.

For a hypothesis to be termed a scientific hypothesis, it has to be something that can be supported or refuted through carefully crafted experimentation or observation.

This is called falsifiability and testability, an idea that was advanced in the mid-20th century a British philosopher named Karl Popper, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica.

A key function in this step in the scientific method is deriving predictions from the hypotheses about the results of future experiments, and then performing those experiments to see whether they support the predictions.

For example, the previous statement could be changed to, "If love is an important emotion, some may believe that everyone should fall in love at least once."

This process can take years, and in many cases hypotheses do not go any further in the scientific method as it is difficult to gather sufficient supporting evidence.

"But what really makes that fun is knowing that you are trying to answer an interesting question, so the first step in identifying questions and generating possible answers (hypotheses) is also very important and is a creative process.

During a test, the scientist may try to prove or disprove just the null hypothesis or test both the null and the alternative hypothesis.

Upon analysis of the results, a hypothesis can be rejected or modified, but it can never be proven to be correct 100 percent of the time.

As sufficient data and evidence are gathered to support a hypothesis, it becomes a working hypothesis, which is a milestone on the way to becoming a theory.

The Steps of the Scientific Method for Kids - Science for Children: FreeSchool

- Help support more content like this! The Scientific Method is a way to ask and answer questions about the world in a logical way

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