The Scientific Method

Experiment + Theory

The important point that Becher introduced is that the explanation of a natural phenomenon (i.e., model, theory) must be "testable" by experimentation.

In other words once a model is proposed as an explanation of a phenomenon, it can only be considered a scientific model if it can be objectively tested by experimentation.

Becher's proposed explanation of fire served this purpose because the mass of the substance before and after combustion could be measured. 

Astrology, or the explanation of future events by the alignment of astrological objects is an example of a non-scientific model since an objective experiment to test it cannot be devised.

Experiment + Theory Work Together

A good model will not only explain the results of an experiment but it will also suggest additional experiments.

If the additional experiments are still explained by the model then the model gains stature and becomes a "theory". If still a large class of experiments are explained by the theory then it graduates to become a "law".

If the model fails to explain additional experiments then the additional experiments are used to revise the model. Is this fashion experiments and scientific models work hand in hand to improve one another.

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C101 Class Notes
Prof. N. De Leon