My question has been deleted. Please post it here so I could copy it.

I do not remember the name, but it was about scientific method and boundaries of science and selective measurement that makes the result to appear differently.


1 Answer 1


Here you go:

In my opinion natural science is a collectivist tool of research, invented to improve human's ability to understand nature. Science gives people two main advantages which are impossible with other means of learning:

1) The possibility to share and exchange knowledge between researchers

2) The possibility to construct advanced research instruments which would be impossible or difficult to construct individually or by individual's funding.

Thus the natural science provides huge advantages to the researchers. But it seems that its collectivist nature actually limits its applicability and scope. Even more, there can be situations where scientific method leads to controversial and paradoxical results.

For example, imagine the following setting:

There is a group of researchers prepared to conduct an experiment with throwing a coin. But before the experiment each researcher is covertly cloned: an exact copy of him is created.

Then all researchers perform the experiment: a coin is thrown and they measure to which side the coin fell.

After the experiment one clone of each researcher in killed, depending on which throwing outcome they observed with those who observe the coin to fall to side A killed more often than those who observed the coin to fall to side B.

After the experiment all survived copies of the researchers meet to discuss the results. Not knowing that they were cloned they would conclude that the coin has a potential field that makes it fall to one side more often than the other. They even can claim it is a new law of nature based on their experiments.

From the assumption that the potential field exists they can calculate the potential energy of any configuration that involves the coin. But if the cloning of the researchers stops, the researchers will discover the disappearance on the apparent field and the violation of the conservation of energy.

So my questions are as follows:

1) How from the point of view of the above-mentioned researchers explain the apparent violation of the conservation of energy?

2) Does the potential possibility of the above-mentioned result-censoring manipulation invalidate the trust into scientific method?

3) How can we know that the fields and laws which we observe do in fact exist and are not actually illusions due to result selection? Namely, can we be confident that the second law of thermodynamics or statistical properties of radioactive decay are actually laws of nature rather than a systematic error due to proper selection of the outcomes?

4) Does the very ineradicable fact that any quantum measurement affects the observer undermine the viability of the scientific method based on the consensus on the researchers at least in quantum mechanics?

But in the future, if a question of yours gets closed I suggest you copy the text so you don't have to keep asking.

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks. It has ben deleted, not closed... $\endgroup$
    – Anixx
    Commented Sep 15, 2011 at 0:20
  • $\begingroup$ What was the name, btw? $\endgroup$
    – Anixx
    Commented Sep 15, 2011 at 0:20
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Yes, I meant that if a question of yours gets closed, copy the text so that in case it gets deleted later (which is what happened to this one), you won't have to ask for help retrieving it. $\endgroup$
    – David Z
    Commented Sep 15, 2011 at 0:21
  • $\begingroup$ "Is scientific method applicabe to quantum mechanics?" $\endgroup$
    – David Z
    Commented Sep 15, 2011 at 0:22
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks. I am going to ask it in philosophical SE. $\endgroup$
    – Anixx
    Commented Sep 15, 2011 at 0:23

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