good science?

Giovanni Maga maga at vetbio.unizh.ch
Tue Apr 25 17:39:53 EST 1995


In article <25APR95.01380045.0191 at UNBVM1.CSD.UNB.CA>, JARDINE  P
<F3CM at UNB.CA> wrote:

> I'd just like to reiterate a little on a reply I made about some
> criticism that was directed at someone who posted a "HIV is not the
> cause of AIDS" note in another news group.

> This is the foundation on which science is supposedly built and is
> something that seems to escape to many people being trained in the
> sciences today.
> The whole process is supposed to center around the suspension of
> disbelief. If I conduct an experiment with the goal of supporting an
> hypothesis I believe to be true, I am doing poor science. If I
> conduct an experiment which is designed to refute a previously
> supported hypothesis, I am doing proper science. The first thing I
> do if I find supportive evidence for an hypothesis is design
> experiments to prove it wrong. This is the basis of science as
> described by Popper, someone most molecular biologists have
> forgotten about or unfortunately have never heard of.

> 
> The next time you see a post about something you think is wrong,
> present evidence to refute it. The next time you get good results in
> the lab, ask someone to tear it apart. If they can't, move on. If
> they disprove you, you've learned something. But if you fail to ask,
> you might be at risk of doing bad science.

> May your media be sterile but your research not.
> PJ Jardine

Sorry for the extensive cuts. Actually, the basic episthemology is still
teached at the University also in the Biology courses, so I think people
know what you're referring to. I apologize if my posting about that
statement of HIV was not clear. I feel anyway that the perception of the
problem is not right. When I see a post (or read an article) saying
something I think it is wrong, the *first* thing I do is looking at the way
this theory was built up. If I find a right method has been used, I then
can start to find out a way in order to disprove it. The problem in that
particular case was that no indications about the method used were
provided. Since I have read a lot of data supporting the opposite idea, I
suppose that *he* must find an experiment in order to disprove those data,
am I wrong? I have no dogma or orthodoxy in my scientific thinking. Just
like to debate about scientific results, not about self-accomplishement.
That the way that matter was posted was wrong, follows directly from what
you properly said is the scientific method. As a scientist, I do not dare
to state something as *true until it will be disproven* without trying to
disprove it by myself. Asking for common sense and good scientific practice
is far different from censorship.
maga at vetbio.unizh.ch 



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