Tuesday, November 23, 2004

The Scientific Method

1. Observation and description of a phenomenon or group of phenomena.
On Sunday, I observed Roche's decision to "break up" or "reclassify" our relationship from a dating relationship to "just friends." Based on statements made, body language, and tone of voice, I have determined that he is serious about being "just friends." Now, being serious about being friends is all well and good. Now the onus is on him to act on said impulse and cause me to want to be friends with him.
2. Formulation of an hypothesis to explain the phenomena. In physics, the hypothesis often takes the form of a causal mechanism or a mathematical relation.
I hypothesize that the desire to be friends will cause Roche to call me around Thanksgiving.
3. Use of the hypothesis to predict the existence of other phenomena, or to predict quantitatively the results of new observations.
I predict that Roche will call me and express desire to be friends, as well as propose several scenarios in which we could be friends.
4. Performance of experimental tests of the predictions by several independent experimenters and properly performed experiments.
My test will consist of not calling or contacting Roche. I will instead regard this as a purely observational study. The test subject (Roche) will be the only one allowed to make contact with the observer (me). If I or any of my friends makes any sort of contact with him, the experiment will be declared null and void, since the constant group (me) will be compromised. Roche, being the variable, is allowed to make contact when the desire strikes.

Potential theories: The ender of a romantic relationship feels more responsible for the feelings of the endee, thus they tend to desire the establishment of a "lesser" or "substitute" relationship such as a friendship. The endee generally is not as supportive of this idea. Hence, the establishment of a scientific experiment to prove that in this particular instance, Roche feels badly enough about the end of the romantic relationship so as to take on the responsibility of creating a "friendship."

If the experiments bear out the hypothesis it may come to be regarded as a theory or law of nature (more on the concepts of hypothesis, model, theory and law below). If the experiments do not bear out the hypothesis, it must be rejected or modified. What is key in the description of the scientific method just given is the predictive power (the ability to get more out of the theory than you put in; see Barrow, 1991) of the hypothesis or theory, as tested by experiment. It is often said in science that theories can never be proved, only disproved. There is always the possibility that a new observation or a new experiment will conflict with a long-standing theory.

Am I a dork? Yes. Do I care? No. Is this keeping me from calling him? Yes.


RESULTS FROM DAY TWO: No contact so far. It's also only 1pm.

Quote of the Day: "I know you think we can't be together, but can't you respect me enough to let me make my own decision?" Mary Jane Watson, Spider-man 2.

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