Thursday, April 8, 2010

Hypotheses or data first - Update

We discussed these two articles mentioned in a previous post in our Community Ecology class, and this is the summary of the very interesting discussion between the students, the TAs, and Tom and I:

  • It is not one or the other (which is actually acknowledges by using the "first" in the title)
  • The scientific method is cyclical and depends on data, hypotheses, predictions, increased information, or is cyclical as is illustrated by Tom
  • But I added (which was not supported by the majority of the students, or Tom ;-) that the start of the scientific method is data, or the description of a natural phenomenon
  • I also tried to argue that the "hypotheses first" in its extreme is related to religion, since religion is essentially a hypothesis (causal mechanism) without data to support it, but at this point I was way outside my zone of expertise

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