The Scientific Method? It Has Its Failings, How Can We Make It Better?


Introduction: The Scientific Method? It Has Its Failings, How Can We Make It Better?

About: I am a stone mason. My hobby is making new solar cooking and gardening stuff. I have used solar heat to cook soil for a couple of years. In mother earth news in January, i read that their compost expert does...

 Ambjorn Naeve invented a neat solar device over 30 years ago. But the practical idea and the mathematical concept fell through the cracks in the system.
Once upon a time, well to do people did "science" privately for fun. Peer review was not  the formalized process we have now. It was people copying each others experiments and making improvements. Nowadays, we in the rich world are more well to do than ever before but it seems this form of peer review has ended. Now, it seems everybody stands back and plays it safe, watching, consulting with "searches" and copying exactly some "proven" idea and doing nothing new.
I put up this video to try to shake people out of their complacency. The "scientific method" is not working as well as it should because people are not participating enough.
Lets get it back on track.
Who decides what gets researched and what gets ignored? Let us try to ask the right questions so that we can fix the problem and make the scientific method work better. For all of us.
Brian White



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    As long as big money talks, we don't get to decide, they do, unless it is something that can be researched with items around the house or easy to access.

    Whoa, I didnt know that there was such conversation on this site. Awsome!

    So uh you're saying society went "copy cat" on itself? Then you're asking we need a drastic change in the way we do things around here? I don't have doubts (on what I understand), but I can't comprehend what you're saying. I can't comprehend the video due to faulty speakers. It's just i got a headache so I can't think straight. Please clarify, thanks!

    4 replies

    Since the video, they did research on the pump at Queens university Toronto and perhaps there is more going on in California. (Results were better than they expected) should have the latest info. It took over 2 decades for that to happen. Why so long? One reason is that your attitude is widely shared by others. You have bought into the idea that the system works great. Another is that there is almost no funding for appropriate tech research. Thats a political problem which you are contributing too. Political appointees decide where the money goes. Scientists are just paid rats and highly directed rats in a rat race. (No funding for appropriate tech= no scientists researching appropriate tech) Its all about the money with most people. My prime minister in Canada is currently de funding climate research because he does not like the results. (Canada, biggest country in the world, perfectly positioned for arctic research too, decommissioning weather stations!) No funds, no research, no data. (So he buys a few more years for the owners of the tar sands). Also, from my experience in science college, the great stars were the people with big memories who went on all nighters with coffee before the exams. So is an open mind as important as a big memory to become a scientist? Apparently not in the race to get to be one! And this is real important. Because, if you only have access to what you can recall, you will not be capable of digesting the pulser pump, or the dual reflector on equatorial mount concept, or solar design t-square, or clam shaped solar cookers or the mechanical mathematician. (Thats my entire contribution and probably incomprehensible to most of the big memory people). It is not rocket science but if you switch off before you even look at it, it is pretty much impossible to engage your brain. Another great problem is leaders and followers. There are so many "monkey see, monkey do" people out there who attach themselves to someone that society has decided is a LEADER. So if he says something they treat it like the word of God. I have met some of those "leader" people. Very few of them are open minded and many have bought into their personality cult and do not hear the plebes. (Research has been done on that social problem by the way. They actually (unknown to themselves) tune out what the underlings say!) It does not even reach the higher part of the brain. (I have done this myself and it is a humbling experience when you look back and you realize what you have done). I cannot remember stuff to save my life. The only time my paper was ever handed around is when I forgot that there was an exam. So I had to make the whole thing up on the spot in a 2 hour exam. Pretty hard to do. So just maybe I had a deeper understanding than the super memory people who did superbly in later careers. Also, I would urge you to read this page from appropedia They are recognizing that roadblocks exist and they are trying to remove some of them. Do not get mad at me. I was just delivering the message. The message is that there are a whole lot of unofficial road blocks that prevent scientific research. Some are in our own heads.

    Okay, makes sense. From my understanding, it all boils down to one common, human trait: selfishness. *eats raisin cookie*

    I do not think it is quite that simple. My x girlfriend was not religious or rich but she always contributed to the foodbank when she bought groceries. And it was quite a lot. Collectively the scientific community and their funders are doing a terrible job of contributing. It cost less than $100 to verify scientifically that the pulser pump worked but it took about 150,000 views of videos of them clearly working before anyone in that community lifted a finger. Thats outragous. And the EXCUSES that people gave for their refusal to lift a finger were so shallow too. Any of those environmentally friendly pop stars or actors could do a complete exhaustive review of the pump over a large range of conditions, film it and make 50 or 60 grand for themselves and be heroes. Like I said, it is not rocket science. Forget theory of 2 phase flow. Just test the damn thing with different heads of water, different power water speeds, and different pumping heights, etc and make the results public. Its that easy! And then I can forget the stupid pump once and for all. Hurah!

    lol, straight to the point if that's what you're talking about.

    Just a note that  there is a research project about the pulser pump currently going on in Queens university Toronto.  (I found out yesterday)
    They are using as their project page and they will post their final results on May 1st.
    They have some pdf files of supporting research that may be very useful.
    I think appropedia had some input into it getting started.
    I also won a place in with the tracking solar accumulator project.  The  solar design t-square and clam shaped solar project was also accepted but an individual  can only have one project  so I chose the accumulator. (no lasers needed).

    I shall only put in my three cents worth because a couple of my favorite people have been drawn into the discussion:( Lemony, Kiteman). Each time gaiatechnician comes up with a new idea I( tried) many times to offer easier solutions to his rube- goldberg reinventions of the wheel. He seems to prefer to stay in his own world and tries to convince others that his is the newest and best solution to a problem that has already been solved. I gave up and have, consequently, relegated him and his notions to, well, somewhere other than in the forefront in my thoughts. But we all know that he will never give up...and I wish him all the luck he deserves.

    3 replies

    Why did you not try to peer review what I did?  That is what science is all about.
    Experiments.  You repeat my experiments,  and then say that it is stupid.
    I did them and you did not.
    You simply do not have the right to be offended.   Problems in the real world have multiple solutions.
    And the people who need problems solved have different price points and different skills to apply to those solutions

    Remember when people invented rube goldberg spinning wheels and and weaving devices? People (like you) thrashed the new devices. Just like you. Lemony and Kiteman were drawn in because of their idealogy, you because of your friendship and your defence of old thought. This is more proof that there is more to peer review and the scientific method than meets the eye. There is a heck of a lot of inertia, isn't there? Why are people unable to say, "yes, I would like to know more about the naeve wheelbarrow". If a leading scientist or large charity organization said they were interested in the naeve wheelbarrow, would people be offering their help? This video IS proving something. How can we adjust the scientific method to allow for this human failing?

    "Rube-goldberg reinventions of the wheel" . Why thank you very much. I am doing charity research for very very very poor people. They cannot afford to buy your wheels. Eventually, (if they ever get told about them), they can make my devices. You are complicit in their poverty.

    Following from this video, I put on a playlist which is about how science works.
    It includes a british scientist after a funding rejection and the same scientist after a successful proposal.  Here is what I get out of the playlist.   Scientists propose research to funding committees.  The funding committees decide which research gets the money.    So it is the FUNDING COMMITTEES who have absolute power over the DIRECTION in which science moves.
    No money, no research, no movement.   This is why, over 20 years later, nobody has a clue how much oxygenation a pulser pump can do, how well it would transfer to big sites, how much water it would pump under specific conditions.
    It is also why nobody has tweaked naeve's curved mirrors to make a super easy to make solar cooker with a one hour unattended use time for Hati.
    The funding committees have no incentive to fund stuff of use to poor people, have they?  They do whatever their political or commercial taskmasters tell them to do.

    Reading all the personal attacks for this thread makes me sick. If you dont have anything constructive to say then dont say it. Making suggestions you know are beyond someones money and education doesnt make you sound smart it makes you look like the back end of a donkey.  By the way scientists do peruse the web looking at everything and researching anything that looks like it works for other applications. Thats what makes collaboration with others so enlightening they may miss something you see. For anyone here that knows it all i pity you. As far as peer review goes it didnt help Naeve, his design is excellent and there is both video proof and documented scientific evidence. By the way thats a college and he's a PHD.

    If you want something peer reviewed, submit a paper to a scientific journal. Scientists don't spend their days perusing the web looking for tinkerers that they can do peer reviews on. If you want to be noticed for innovative things you've made, patent them and start a business selling them. Posting a video to Instructables complaining that the scientific community has not recognized your accomplishments will not accomplish much. Also, if you don't have an audio editor, try writing a script before you start recording. That will keep your narration focused.

    5 replies

    Why do scientists not spend their days perusing the web looking for projects? And surely students do look on the web for projects? So why not direct them to stuff that has not been properly checked out? My narration does not need to be focused. If you or anybody else feels strongly on the subject, you are free to post a video response on youtube or elsewhere. If you look on the instructabes website, you may see that your statements run counter to the instructabes ideology. I am already recognized for innovation. I wish to have systematic blockades to innovation and uptake of innovation removed. First I have to prove that the blockades exist. I think I have come a long way towards that. And it seems some of those blockades are idiological. Brian

    Scientists don't spend their days perusing the web for projects because it's such an inefficient way to find new ideas. It's far better to have people with innovative projects identify themselves through scientific magazines, engineering magazines, patent offices, and even marketing departments. "Why not direct them to stuff that has not been properly checked out"? Because there are crackpots out there with perpetual motion machines, proofs that relativity is wrong, theories that viruses are a type of subatomic particle, disproofs of evolution, evidence that the moon landing never happened, and they all say that scientists have ignored their genius and that the peer review process is broken. Scientists don't have the time to chase down everything that someone claims is worth checking out. That's why someone who has something valuable must come forward with a demonstration of its value. "My narration doesn't need be focused": you're right, it doesn't. Just because every accomplished scientist, engineer, and inventor produces focused, concise presentations of their ideas, doesn't mean you have to. "I am already recognized for innovation": In 14 comments in Instructables? I thought you wanted something a little broader.

    Scientists at universitys spend most of their time on administration and teaching.  They also write "proposals" to funding committees and the funding comittees reject most of the proposals. 
    And many scientists do not have ANY idea why some proposals get rejected and others accepted!   You can check Nottingham university's "test tube" It includes interviews with the scientists after winning and after losing  in that lottery.
    So funding committees? does that sound like a good way of financing and directing science?   It certainly could be used to control the direction that research goes in. I am pretty sure the control is political.

    Can you see your reaction? I did not produce a single perpetual motion machine, did I? So your comment about not directing them to worthwhile stuff is a bit suspect. Directing does not mean researching everything. Just the stuff that fell through the cracks. And are scientists so badly trained that they cannot tell the difference? (don't mention cold fusion) For years, until Mat in Cornwall made his pulser pump model, I was accused of a hoax. And Mat's model is not going to stop people. Ambjörn Naeve did his work from 1976 onwards. You and I do not know anything about its parameters, do we? Nor does anybody else in the wider community. And in the scientific community? Nobody has a clue! Why not? Because good or bad, nobody BOTHERED to find out. And without verification, he just gets knocked off as some crackpot with poor english from sweden. And if you bothered to check, where the focal point of a parabolic dish is, is hugely important and it is problematical for tracking. Check out scheffler solar kitchens for the reason. (if you wish) Where is your curiosity? Can you not with your scientific training tell the difference between perpetual motion and for real stuff? If you only get your science education from peer reviewed journals, you sure miss a lot because they are pretty narrowly focused. I am not saying throw out the peer review system, I am saying modify it. It SHOULD take into account the internet. And with regard to what I have done, results and demos have been posted. Just nobody has bothered check them out. Do they have merit? You tell me. And if you tell me they do not, perhaps you can give reasons? Do you see the corner you have blocked yourself into? It is absurd to think that I can match what a focused group of students could do in a couple of hours comparing 4 or 5 different new solar cooker designs. It is absurd to think that I can check out all the different parameters of a pulser pump. And it is absurd to think that if I did, anybody would believe me.

    OK, you don't like the association with perpetual motion, creationism, etc. Fair enough. I wasn't accusing you of those things, just pointing out that someone perusing the web for new discoveries (if scientists were to do such a thing) has to wade though so much garbage that it's nearly impossible to find good stuff. It's just not a good way to discover good ideas. But I think you'll like this even less: imagine if Edison had said "twenty years ago, I suggested that someone should try putting a filament of some material in a vacuum and running electricity through it. I left pamphlets in the laundromat where I wash my clothes and the supermarket where I buy food, suggesting that a bunch of students could experiment with different materials. But in twenty years, no one has done any research. What's the matter with the scientific community, that they haven't followed up on this?" This will be my last post on the subject. You may have the last word.