A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Wayfinding
From: Frank Reed
Date: 2016 Jul 9, 10:07 -0700
Geoffrey Kolbe, you wrote:
"Should you choose to spend a few minutes in gentle study of the Scientific Method, I hope you will be disabused of this notion."
I think that's too harsh.
Consider: in the year 1600, gravity was a phenomenon with the same properties it has today. People knew it existed, but it scarcely even deserved a name, and they had no idea it governed the motions of the planets and the Moon. By 1700, gravity was still the same phenomenon, but now there was a model of gravitation, Newton's Law of Universal Gravitation, as it is commonly known. By 1950, though still valid in a wide range of circumstances, this law had been replaced by Einstein's general relativity.
Robert's previous comment that laws are "what people make up" or models created by physicists, as we might say today, while gravity is a phenomenon --in my interpretation of his comment, implying that it exists and has properties regardless of the "laws" we write down-- is a reasonable point of view. And I don't think that has anything to do with the Scientific Method. In fact, the so-called Scientific Method is also a model of a process which is not completely constrained by theory. The only thing we can say for sure is that the "Scientific Method" is whatever collection of practices and systems produces good science. Beyond that its properties are open to discussion.
Needless to say, most physicists would accept the principle that the Universe has laws, and physics (is that a plural? wait... that's another discussion) seeks to uncover those laws. This is a theological precept. Is it true? That's a matter of faith...