November 21, 2006
Science and/or Religion
Don't miss this article about the relationship between science and religion or, perhaps more aptly stated, their current separation and pending divorce. See Article Here.
It has been a recurring debate among the cognescenti who study science and law as to whether there is any such thing as "the" scientific method. Among working scientists, of course, there is really no debate, since that is what they do for a living. It may very well be that there is no one METHOD associated with SCIENCE. But there are certainly METHODS that are, and that is what scientists do when they test hypotheses. Hypothesis testing, albeit using a very wide variety of paradigms, is what constitutes the scientific method (or scientific methods, if you prefer).
Well, today's blog is not the place for me to engage this debate fully, if a blog is ever quite appropriate for such matters. But a story in today's New York Times made me think of this debate, since it chronicles what it calls "the best science show on television." The show, on the Discovery Channel, is called "Mythbusters." The hosts like to "blow things up," and in so doing teach us all a lot about science. The show, as the story tells it, is not really a science show at all, since they don't teach "science." They do, however, teach the core lesson of science, which is to test hypotheses. It's an important lesson, and one that all lawyers, judges, and policymakers could benefit from learning. Now if we could just get the show to devote a few episodes to some of the forensic identification sciences, or clinical medicine, or clinical psychology/psychiatry. Unfortunately for all of us, these subjects, possibly with the exception of arson investigation, do not lend themselves to fires and explosions, and thus do not make good television. See Story Here.