virus: Fwd: The *Real* Scientific Method

Wade T.Smith (
Wed, 22 Oct 97 17:10:27 -0400

OK. Yet Another Forward from the Skeptic Listserv-
Humor is never pointless....


Subject: The *Real* Scientific Method

Donald Simanek inspires me to present this slightly more
realistic version of Ye Olde Scientifick Methode.

1. Think up some project that has a good chance of attracting grant

2. Devise a radical hypothesis to explain the (yet unobserved) data,
and highlight how it is extremely important to support your work since
it has such important implications.

3. Show how your hypothesis alters our perception of Life, The
Universe, and Everything. Even better, show how it can lead to
immediate corporate applications.

4. Using the grant money, buy expensive equipment, and hire some grad
students and postdocs to continually tell you how brilliant you are.

5. Get some results which look promising, but are inconclusive enough
to justify turning this project into a long-term research program.

6. Go back to step 3 and continue refining until you have a solid
proposal to extend your grant for another year.

7. Publish often during this process. Preferably, every small and
incremental "advance" deserves a paper of its own. Be repetitious --
the number of publications is what counts most.

8. If others repeat the same sort of experiment, and get vaguely the
same sort of results, band together to form an interest group.
Organize conferences where you invite and praise each other. Cite
each others' work in your papers. Call your general results "___'s
Law", where "___" is the most influential member of your group. Lobby
for more money, making sure to point out that your field is "hot,"
emphasizing that scientific revolutions or corporate products are just
around the bend.

9. If new observations or experiments come along which don't fit the
law or theory, attack them as obviously wrong. Don't invite
researchers who disagree with your interest group to your conferences.
Give dissenting papers bad peer reviews in the anonymous review
process. Praise their grant proposals as "good" when advising
granting agencies, knowing full well that only "excellent" projects
stand a chance of getting funded.

10. If political winds shift and you find yourself defending an
unpopular theory, make a virtue of it. Read Charles Tart, and sell
your project as such a revolutionary idea that we must redesign
stagnating orthodox science to accommodate it. Find a senator who
will try and create a new government agency dedicated to your interest
group's work.

11. While doing all this, go back to step 1 whenever you feel

Taner Edis

Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad.
-- Aldous Huxley

Wade T. Smith | "There ain't nothin' you | shouldn't do to a god." |
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