Ray breaks the mold and re-defines what we know about reality in an impressive fashion in several scientific realms, and he has demonstrated that conventional scientific thinking is woefully inadequate... Ray has impeccably documented his investigative process and IMO he is the most impressive, forward-thinking, seasoned expert we have in this proto-scientific field we grudgingly refer to as ufology. (original post at #48)Somewhere, my friend Dick Hall is spinning in his grave. You see, the big problem with Stanford (well, one of them), is that he claims to have lots and lots of earth-shattering, ground-breaking evidence - but none of it seems to be available for anyone to have a look at, i.e. meaningful peer review. And it's not like Stanford just found this "evidence" - apparently, he's been accumulating it for decades.
Of course, Stanford is far from unique in this "I have evidence, and will release it soon" bait-and-switch game that goes on amongst the worst self-promoters and charlatans in ufology - Steven Greer takes the cake, with his alien babies and vectored spaceships and so on. But whatever you want to call all of this, you can't call it "science", and you can't blame science for not wanting to have any part of it (well, Stanford and Greer can, and do, but that's all tied up with the Cosmic Watergate and so forth...).
So, I thought it might be useful to remind these guys, should they stop by here, of exactly how the scientific method works. I took a look on the Internet for a good, concise statement, and found one, at a site called Biology4Kids.com. I thought it best to keep things reasonably simple, so that Stanford, and Greer, and their defenders / promoters, could begin to understand at least the basics (hint: key word = "evidence"). So, here we go (original here):
REASONING IN SCIENCEScience isn't the enemy of real UFO research - it's the only reasonable way forward (one should never confuse science with "scientism"). It's self-proclaimed "proto-scientists" like Stanford, and their ardent defenders like O'Brien, who undermine real UFO research, and have done so for decades now. This is the result of their complete lack of understanding of the scientific method, and their concomitant lack of respect for it.
Learning about the scientific method is almost like saying that you are learning how to learn. You see, the scientific method is the way scientists learn and study the world around them. It can be used to study anything from a leaf to a dog to the entire Universe.
The basis of the scientific method is asking questions and then trying to come up with the answers. You could ask, "Why do dogs and cats have hair?" One answer might be that it keeps them warm. BOOM! It's the scientific method in action. (OK, settle down.)
Just about everything starts with a question. Usually, scientists come up with questions by looking at the world around them. "Hey look! What's that?" See that squiggly thing at the end of the sentence? A question has been born.
So you've got a scientist. When scientists see something they don't understand they have some huge urge to answer questions and discover new things. It's just one of those scientist personality traits. The trick is that you have to be able to offer some evidence that confirms every answer you give. If you can't test your answer, other scientists can't test it to see if you were right or not.
As more questions are asked, scientists work hard and come up with a bunch of answers. Then it is time to organize. One of the cool things about science is that other scientists can learn things from what has already been established. They don't have to go out and test everything again and again. That's what makes science special: it builds on what has been learned before.
This process allows the world to advance, evolve, and grow. All of today's advancements are based on the achievements of scientists who already did great work. Think about it this way: you will never have to show that water (H2O) is made up of one oxygen (O) and two hydrogen (H) atoms. Many scientists before you have confirmed that fact. It will be your job as a new scientist to take that knowledge and use it in your new experiments.
THE WHOLE PROCESS
There are different terms used to describe scientific ideas based on the amount of confirmed experimental evidence.
- a statement that uses a few observations
- an idea based on observations without experimental evidence
- uses many observations and has loads of experimental evidence
- can be applied to unrelated facts and new relationships
- flexible enough to be modified if new data/evidence introduced
- stands the test of time, often without change
- experimentally confirmed over and over
- can create true predictions for different situations
- has uniformity and is universal
You may also hear about the term "model." A model is a scientific statement that has some experimental validity or is a scientific concept that is only accurate under limited situations. Models do not work or apply under all situations in all environments. They are not universal ideas like a law or theory.