Thursday, November 10, 2005

Very Little Brain

He had just come to the bridge; and not looking where he was going, he tripped over something, and the fir-cone jerked out of his paw into the river.

"Bother," said Pooh, as it floated slowly under the bridge, and he went back to get another fir-cone which had a rhyme to it. But then he thought that he would just look at the river instead, because it was a peaceful sort of day, so he lay down and looked at it, and it slipped slowly away beneath him... and suddenly, there was his fir-cone slipping away too.

"That's funny," said Pooh. "I dropped it on the other side," said Pooh, "and it came out on this side! I wonder if it would do it again?" And he went back for some more fir-cones.

It did. It kept on doing it. Then he dropped two in at once, and leant over the bridge to see which of them would come out first; and one of them did; but as they were both the same size, he didn't know if it was the one which he wanted to win, or the other one. So the next time he dropped one big one and one little one, and the big one came out first, which is what he had said it would do, and the little one came out last, which is what he had said it would do, so he had won twice... and when he went home for tea, he had won thirty-six and lost twenty-eight.

A A Milne: The House at Pooh Corner

Just to reiterate the steps that went on here:

  1. Observe some part or aspect of the universe.

  2. Develop a theory that is fully consistent with what you have observed.

  3. Use this theory to make predictions.

  4. Test those predictions by controlled experiments or additional observations.

  5. Update the theory in the light of your results, and make new predictions.

So if a Bear of Very Little Brain can understand and implement the scientific method, why is it so hard for the alternatistas?

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