The New Assistant – a 100 word story
Plutonium Trifluoride is not to be trifled with. Those violet crystals are investigated as a source of nuclear energy in some well-known laboratories by respected scientists, but that’s not their real power. Mixed with the right ingredients using the right combinations of words whispered in exactly the right intonations, great things could be achieved, sinister things too. Structures can be changed, tissue morphed into shapes. You see that little yellow monkey over there? That was my last assistant. You better excel in your tasks here. I’ve got many of those violet crystals left, and I know how to use them.
Hi there and thanks for stopping by. I’m Guy, and you’re listening to my surreal sketchbook of reality.
Episode 17, Those Violet Crystals
Science is the tool for finding out the truth about how everything works. It has a method for finding that out, and that method is called the scientific method. This episode Is a semi-philosophical look at the scientific method. I’m not a professional philosopher by any means and my approach can be quite absurd, illogical and not at all that serious, so – you’ve been warned. Do not take this podcast too seriously. If you tend to take things too seriously, this might not be the podcast for you. Seriously. I mean it. Find another podcast to listen to.
You’re still here? Good. Let’s talk about the scientific method. Curiosity is one of the base pillars human existence stands upon. It makes life interesting and meaningful. Curiosity compels us to find out how the world around us works. In ancient times, that has often led to false assumptions and misconceptions about how things actually work. People invented gods and mythologies to explain the workings of everything from the changing of seasons to the movement of the ocean waves. That is because observation is masked by our senses and our beliefs, and those tend to distort things quite a bit. This is why the scientific method was invented, to discover the truth in a relatively unbiased way.
We begin our journey to the truth with the question of “how does this work?” That, in essence, is the whole purpose of science. It is there to give the answer to that singular question. Science attempts to bypass our senses and biases by using skepticism, by repeating experiments again and again and by using control groups. The heart of the scientific method is doubt. It looks at the evidence, examins it again and again until it finds out beyond reasonable doubt if things are true or false and even then if evidence comes that disprove something that was thought to be true, science changes it’s mind and marks it as false. I have new evidence that suggests that this is where I take a break. I’ll be right back.
Monkey See – a 100 word story
I named my monkey Gandhi because of his habit of turning the other cheek. Other monkeys would charge at him, attack him but he would just stand there smiling his little monkey smile, holding his hand out to them. Eventually, they just tore him to pieces. I still miss the little fellow. Sometimes, when things go crazy at work, I think to myself, “What would my little Gandhi do?”, then I remember how he ended up and I just obliterate my fellow hairless white monkeys. I use presentations and flow charts, but it amounts to the same. No one survives.
Welcome back. The scientific method starts with observation. You want to know how something works, you observe it, you come up with a theory of how it works. Your theory is not the truth. It’s just you saying “I think it works that way.” The next stage is experimenting to see if things actually work the way you think they do. In fact, trying to disprove it is as important as trying to prove it. You always have to keep in mind that things might work in a completely different way from the way you think they do. That is why one experiment is not enough. You have to repeat the experiment, again and again, enough times until you are absolutely sure things work the way you think they do, and even that is not enough. Your data might be biased. That is why you have to let other people check you up, repeat the experiment on their own terms and see if it works the same for them.
After different people do an experiment enough times to come up to the conclusion something works in a certain way, someone might come and say “I don’t think it actually works that way. I think it works in a different way. Here is how I think it works.” In short, someone might come up with a completely different theory of how something works, then you have to experiment to see if their theory is the correct one. Science has to be open-minded. It has to be open to changing its mind. If a shred of new evidence comes up that contradicts the previous one, science has to check it out and if it proves to be true, it has to accept the new evidence until a new one comes along.
Using the scientific method to find out how our world works mean our understanding of the world around us is always changing, evolving. One hypothesis after another is discarded for a better one. This means we might never truly understand the world around us, but we are never going to stop trying. This is because we are curious creatures, and curiosity is at the base of our existence. This concludes episode 17 of this podcast. Close the door on your way out and don’t forget – I’m just a figment of your imagination.