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Letter: Testing is crucial part of science




Mr Robert Sheppard misrepresents science in his letter (News Views, October 29) when he describes science “as a game of guess-and-test”.

He describes the scientific method as “First you make a guess then you calculate the consequences of your guess.Then you compare the consequences of your guess with the evidence of your observations”.

The word guess is derogatory.

Science And Society: The Meaning And Importance Of Scientific Method, published by the University of London Press in 1968, has a different description.

“The scientific method of solving a problem is to collect the facts, suggest a solution to the problem (this is usually called a hypothesis), test this solution against the facts, and if it proves wrong try another possible solution, and continue doing this until a solution arises that is successful”.

Further to that the book says: “Test this hypothesis against the known facts. If it is not in accord with all of them, reject it and seek another hypothesis. If it is supported by the known facts, seek further facts against which it may be tested.

“Whenever the hypothesis is contradicted, modify or reject it. Even when the hypothesis has stood the test of a wide range of facts, be prepared to test it against fresh ones and to modify or reject it if necessary.”

It is not only laboratory scientists who use this method, but all who seek to know the truth, such as historians, lawyers, and detectives.

The book was written by a science teacher with a science-based PhD.It is still advertised on the Amazon website.Yes, I wrote it! ­— M. BASSEY, Ordoyno Grove, Coddington.



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