The scientific method

The role of the testable hypothesis is well known in scientific method, but the role of quantity as symbolized is just as important but rarely seen. Nothing can be called science that doesn’t “crunch the numbers” at some point. If you don’t have numbers, you don’t have data.

The scientist makes no distinction between quantity and substance, or quantity from the numerals imposed to stand for it. It’s not that scientists decided to confuse these things- they are each distinguished by very basic arguments- it’s simply that the distinctions aren’t important for what scientists do. There is, however, an extreme ontological blind spot in failing to realize that those using the scientific method always operate under the restriction of what can be known about the world so far as it is known through symbolized quantity.



  1. Elliot B said,

    March 27, 2009 at 8:51 am

    Hi, Mr. Chastek, sorry I haven’t gotten the Dao De Jing translation to you yet. Life. Teaching. Ugh. Not excuses, per se, just reasons.

  2. March 28, 2009 at 2:37 pm

    “Nothing can be called science that doesn’t “crunch the numbers” at some point.”

    I’m rather surprised you write this. While some of creation can be reduced to quantity, most cannot, and of that which cannot, a portion of that can be investigated according to scientific method.

    While the question of why do birds fly south?, and the hypothesis because it’s too far to walk can be investigated and proved by reducing the question to quantity. The same cannot be said of why do birds of a feather flock together? The answer to the why can be investigated scientifically, but the answer cannot be deduced via reduction to quantity.

  3. March 28, 2009 at 2:56 pm

    When circular motion is reduced to quantity, it’s a reduction as metaphor since numerical quantity is according to straight line motion, and since much of what is considered scientific involves in some manner circular motion, much of what is considered numerical scientific investigation is not numerical except by poetic extrapolation.

  4. March 29, 2009 at 4:39 am


    To your first: reduction to quantity is not necessary. But the use of quantitative tools is: percentages, graphs, statistics, and measurements taken of temperature readings, days, barometric pressures, etc. The particular question you ask about the reasons for migration would have to use quantitative tools at some point. Theology, metaphysics, and the study of mobile things in general does not (and in fact cannot) make use of these tools. The scientist, as the term is presently understood, does- and I would say must.

    To your second: are you saying that numbers are lines and/or that numbers are only known from lines?

  5. March 30, 2009 at 4:01 pm

    Mr. Chastek writes : “The scientist, as the term is presently understood, does- and I would say must.”

    True, which is why I was surprised by your use of the term because how the term is presently used makes an assumption. An assumption which leads to error by assuming creation is reducible to quantity, or at least how we can know it with certitude is through reducing it to quantity.


    Mr. Chastek writes : “are you saying that numbers are lines and/or that numbers are only known from lines?”

    That numbers are linear in some manner. They are a length of something. Curves do have length, but its not a length to which number can be immediately applied, but can only be applied by measuring the curve with straight lines, or by pretending that the curve is a polygon. It’s not a matter of precision in so far as reducing curves to straight lines is sufficient for all practical uses, but it does matter when its argued that numbers are how we know with certitude

    • March 31, 2009 at 4:16 am

      I don’t know why your post got counted as spam. That shouldn’t have happened.

  6. March 31, 2009 at 12:30 pm

    Thanks for letting me post my musings. I could also understand you wanting to block them, which is what I thought had probably happened. If they become too annoying, just let me know.

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