Posts Tagged ‘scientific method’

“Learning scientifically.” ~ Doc Meek


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Thursday, March 10, 2011. Today I am grateful that we can be aware both “objectively” and “subjectively.”

This is not a “religious” blog per se, although “everything” is “religious” through a certain lens. Even atheistic scientists have their “religion”: unsupported beliefs which are clung to, and defended, with the same tenacity as a “religious” zealot. This scientific zeal is practiced by scientists all unaware usually.

Many scientists believe that they are totally “objective” in their scientific endeavors. Their “objective” view that they are totally objective is, in itself, subjective.

Scientists can hold to this belief in ther own objectivity with some degree of impunity, and perhaps even some degree of “infallibility,” when their efforts are directed towards things, towards objects if you like, and not people.

As soon as people become the focus, however, the concept of “objectivity” loses much, if not all, of its power.

Three examples:

(1) The “scientific” mythology of the single variable.

In the so-called “hard sciences,” single variables, and even clusters of variables, can be manipulated with some degreee of certainty. As soon as the focus is on people, however, the idea that a single chemical, a “pill” if you like, or a single set of processes will accurately achieve its purpose goes out the window, so to speak. People present such a startingly high array of variables that even the most seriously intended statistical regression analysis falls fall short of the mark.

(2) The “scientific” mythology of the placebo.

If I had a drug that worked with all groups of people with some degree of success, all the time, no matter what the problem, the drug would be considered to be “miraculous” and I would be famous. We have such a drug. It is scornfully called a placebo, something that doesn’t “really” help, and is “all in the mind.” Since everything, everything, is all in the mind (when it comes to humans), it isn’t prudent to dismiss something that works all of the time for some of the people regardless of the presenting difficulty. Is it?

Here’s the question: If the mind is so powerful that it can effect positive results for a percentage of the people in any group suffering from any malady, why aren’t we actively harnessing that great power, instead of scornfully treating it as if it were not “real?”

(3) The “scientific” mythology of the anecdote.

Sometimes when I am providing accounts to scientists of startling successes some of my clients achieve in solving one of their “unsolvable”or “incurable” problems, the scientists scorn my account by describing it as “only anecdotal evidence.” In other words, to them, it has no “scientific” value.

However, I would rather have a thousand anecdotes of success, a thousand case histories if you like, than a “scientific” study with 86 subjects, 67% of whom find success using a “scientifically” derived process. A thousand subjective anecdotes beats 67% of 86 (or 67% of 1,086) every time. Even a study with very large “n’s” does not defeat my 1,000 anecdotes, which, for the successful individual concerned in the anecdote, represents 100% success, every single time. Right?

It is more important that I find my own success, and the success of my clients, in “what works for that individual,” as opposed to a “scienfically-derived process” that works for some of the people some of the time.

If my child finds success, where s/he found failure before, then it matters not whether that success is “anecdotally-based” or “scientifically-based,” does it?

Besides, I have noticed that my scientific friends, when pointing out the success of their scientific methods, are very convinced by an anecdote of one person who found success using their method. 😮

Many thanks to scientists who don’t take themselves or their “science” too seriously!

Knowledge is where you find it, no matter the source or the method, eh? (Within reason. 😮 )

Doc Meek, Thurs, Mar 10, 2011, Sherwood Park, Alberta, CANADA

The Scientific Method Can Flaw Our Thinking

Picture from “The Scientific Method Today”:

Return to  Scientific Method Home page

My friend had suffered from severe depression for many years. One day he came to me and asked for advice.

“I have tried everything out there,” he said, “and nothing works.”

“What have you tried?” I asked. He got his fingers out, and started in with his list.

The first five fingers

“First, I tried antidepressants, several different kinds; gave it a good sincere try for many months. No help. Gave them up.

“Second, I tried vitamins and minerals, many different kinds; gave it a sincere try for many months. Didn’t work. Stopped taking them

“Third, I tried exercise, many different kinds; sincere try; strenuous; many months. Felt better immediately after workouts. Didn’t seem to last long-term. Seemed no real point in continuing that huge effort.

“Fourth, meditation. Have you any idea how many different kinds there are out there? Really went at this. Long effort. Tried really hard. Didn’t help. No point in going on with no results, eh? I did find some comfort in the stillness and quietness of the mind sometimes. Didn’t last.

“Fifth, tried music. Gentle  music. Kept this up for a long time. I did enjoy listening to the music. Didn’t lift my depression permanently though. Stopped listening. Kinda sad, eh?

The second five fingers

“Sixth [he had to switch to his other hand], enzymes. I had heard that dysbiosis can cause brain problems. Gave it a proper trial. Did settle my gut down a lot. I enjoyed eating more. Didn’t help my depression though. So I stopped that. Enzymes can be expensive if you take as many of them with every meal as you are supposed to do.

” Seventh came positive thinking and repetitive self-affirmations. Looked on the bright side of everything even though things were really awful. Kept telling myself that I was OK endlessly. On and on and on. Know what? I didn’t believe that crap. After an interminable period of time, I stopped. What a relief!

“Eighth, socialization. I was told I had too few friends and that I didn’t get out and socialize enough. That was why I was so morose all the time. So I gave it the old college try, eh? Found a few new friends. Really enjoyed their friendship. Tried to go out every week and socialize. What agony! I think it  made me even more depressed, although I don’t think that’s possible. Finally, after doing this like what seemed forever, I finally realized that this was definitely not lifting my depression, so I stopped the agony and stayed home where I was more comfortable, eh? I was less depressed at home. What’s the matter with solitude anyway?

“Ninth came EFT [Emotional Freedom Technique]. The big Kahuna. This guy said it would fix me up in no time. So I started in with this, even though I didn’t think it would help. You tap your head and body in various places and repeat the same boring words over and over again. This is supposed to get your energy moving and clear out your depression. Stupid technique. I kept at it for awhile and got no results. No point in going on if you don’t get any results, eh?

” Tenth. I tried punching a bag and yelling a lot. Get the anger out, eh? Felt good. Really good. I pounded the living daylights out of that bag for weeks. Didn’t help. No real value in yelling at a bag if you go back to being just as depressed as you were before, right?

Running out of fingers

“Eleventh . . . ” [he ran out of fingers, and was still going to plow on . . . ]

I raised my hand as a signal for a possible pause . . . he sighed deeply . . . and let his long list die a premature death. I was proud of him. He had suffered unspeakable agony and it really wasn’t my place to deny him the full list of things he had tried without success.

“Do you want to hear about my experience with depression?” I gently queried.


“Depression is the natural result of unwanted circumstances.”


Science and the one variable approach

“The scientific  method has a tendency to teach us to look for one variable that will resolve the riddle we are grappling with . . . uh . . .  the riddle with which we are grappling. [Gotta follow the rule about a sentence not ending with a preposition, eh? :o]

“We tend to work pretty hard to find the ‘one magic bullet’ that will permanently resolve the presenting issue.”

I went on: “If you had continued on with some of the things that you tried, and added some new ideas (like dancing, say, or maybe walking in the woods) and continued on with some of them, you would probably be well ahead of yourself by now, maybe even well.”

Free Butterfly Screensaver - The dazzling beauty of these unique  creatures really makes you think about the treasures that

This butterfly was once a caterpillar. Photo from:

Forest Waterfall. Photo from:

Placid Lake. Wander in the woods and along the streams and lakes . . . see them . . . feel them . . . smell them . . . drink them in . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Photo from: …………………………………………………………………………………………….

I decided to take another tack:

“Let’s put it this way. I think it was Justice Brandeis who said something like this:

‘If we would just realize that life is difficult, things would go a lot easier for us’.

“Whatcha mean?”

So I suggested he put in place–permanently–this “medical model”:

Step one: Start low.

Step two: Go slow.

Step three: Don’t stop.

Step four: Add new ideas.

Step five: Repeat above steps.

[Five steps is all the fingers on one hand, right?] 😮

Depression is a many-splendored thing. It’s a multi-variable problem. It yields to a multi-factor approach.

Would it surprise you to learn that my severely-depressed friend got better?

Gradually . . . step by step . . .  over time . . . glorious time.

To your happy health!

Doc Meek, May 5, 2010, at Sherwood Park, Alberta, CANADA; not at South Jordan, Utah, USA

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