... in an easy to understand way
David Eagleman, a neuroscientist at Baylor College of Medicine, is searching for a middle place between the dogmatic certainties of both religion and science.
Between the New Atheists' unequivocal rejection of God and traditional religious believers' embrace of the same, a whole host of other possibilities, according to Eagleman, are getting squeezed out of the picture.
He even has a name for the person who occupies that middle place—a possibilian. A possibilian is a person who acknowledges that our understanding of how the universe works is extremely limited and our ignorance truly vast.
A possibilian shies away from anything that even hints at dogma or final certainty and allows the tools of science to sort out truth from falsehood.
The following talk, taken from TED Houston, is an eloquent call for a spirit of humility and an attitude of exploration as we move toward a deeper understanding of ourselves and the universe.
Mental Models are important because they enable us to handle reality (literally 'get a handle' on meanings & manipulate - or design - with that reality). But they also FILTER everything we see, and thus they can mis-lead us, if use a model that doesn't 'work': ie. what it predicts is not, in fact, what happens.
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The Oxford English Dictionary says that scientific method is: "a method of procedure that has characterized natural science since the 17th century, consisting in systematic observation, measurement, and experiment, and the formulation, testing, and modification of hypotheses."
Although procedures vary from one field of inquiry to another, identifiable features distinguish scientific inquiry from other methods of obtaining knowledge. Scientific researchers propose hypotheses as explanations of phenomena, and design experimental studies to test these hypotheses via predictions which can be derived from them.
These steps must be repeatable, to guard against mistake or confusion in any particular experimenter. Theories that encompass wider domains of inquiry may bind many independently derived hypotheses together in a coherent, supportive structure. Theories, in turn, may help form new hypotheses or place groups of hypotheses into context.
Scientific inquiry is generally intended to be as objective as possible, to reduce biased interpretations of results. Another basic expectation is to document, archive and share all data and methodology so they are available for careful scrutiny by other scientists, giving them the opportunity to verify results by attempting to reproduce them. This practice, called full disclosure, also allows statistical measures of the reliability of these data to be established.
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