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#319905 - 01/11/20 08:32 PM convictions
jgw Offline

Registered: 05/22/06
Posts: 2777
Loc: Port Angeles, WA

#319935 - 01/12/20 06:58 AM Re: convictions [Re: jgw]
pondering_it_all Offline

Registered: 02/27/06
Posts: 9135
Loc: North San Diego County
People believe what they want to believe. Show them facts that disprove one of those beliefs, and they will believe in it even harder. The problem is that most people are not scientists. People who do science are trained to believe in something because of observation, but then to try and disprove it. Few non-scientists understand this. Experiments are designed to disprove their favorite hypothesis. This makes them especially open to accepting new data and discarding a "belief".

People spend many years in graduate education to become PhDs so they can learn this. Unfortunately, sometimes they don't and will cling to a favorite hypothesis long after it has been disproved. These folks try to design experiments to prove their hypothesis, which is NOT the Scientific Method. I have observed this, especially in medical research, and a physician near retirement age trying to prove something he started to believe 30 years before is sad.

#319936 - 01/12/20 07:09 AM Re: convictions [Re: jgw]
pondering_it_all Offline

Registered: 02/27/06
Posts: 9135
Loc: North San Diego County
The usual standard for "proof" in peer-reviewed research is P<5%. This means they are 95% sure that what their research shows is true. The 5% is divided between two different kinds of errors. The first is that your results look like they proved your hypothesis is true, but it is false. The other is that your results look like they disprove it, but it is actually true. IE, you tried something 100 times and just by bad luck your results fell into one of the tails of the binomial distribution. If you can get P<1%, that is gold!

So you can see why scientists are skeptical about everything.


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