The Unscientific Method Explained

I’ve had my share of arguments with people who cling to beliefs that have no decent evidence to support them, or even a huge amount of evidence against them. Eventually, after one of these exchanges, it dawned on me that we were approaching the question from different directions. I was using the scientific method, they were employing the unscientific method.

For reference, as a point of comparison, here’s a flowchart to show roughly how the scientific method works:

Scientific Method

And in contrast, here’s the unscientific method that I identified, and which seems to be common to believers in all kinds of woo, pseudoscience and other forms of bunk:

Unscientific Method

The obvious difference is that unlike the scientific method, which is an unending process of observation and refinement, the unscientific method is only interested in investigating until an acceptable answer is reached, at which point it terminates. Despite a resemblance to the scientific method at first glance, it’s just a desperate attempt to cast around for some sort of support for existing beliefs.

Keep an eye out for it, because it’s surprisingly common.


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About Recovering Agnostic

I'm Christian by upbringing, agnostic by belief, cynical by temperament, broadly scientific in approach, and looking for answers. My main interest at the moment is in turning my current disengaged shrug into at least a working hypothesis.

2 responses to “The Unscientific Method Explained”

  1. hausdorff says :

    I want to laugh but it makes me sad. I was surrounded by the unscientific method growing up and absorbed it quite well. I actually remember learning the scientific method in school and being a little bit confused. The very idea that you would let the evidence lead you to wherever it leads was completely new.

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  1. Creationists are the dung beetles of science | Recovering Agnostic - February 8, 2014

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