There has already been talk about the scientific method here and it will surely come up more so I wanted to talk about it a little just so everyone knows what we mean. First the process:
1. Make an observation about the natural world.
2. Formulate a hypothesis.
The hypothesis serves as the scientists starting point; maybe it’s right, maybe it’s wrong. The key is to do enough testing to find out.
3. Gather additional data to test this hypothesis.
As your data accumulates, it either supports your hypothesis, or it forces you to revise or abandon it. Remember: The hypothesis scientists come up with must be falsifiable. That is, scientists must be able to imagine some set of results that would cause them to reject the theory, and then they must test those ideas out.
4. Continue testing (if the data from Step 3 supports your hypothesis) or revise and test again.
After an overwhelming amount of information accumulates in support of the hypothesis, you elevate the hypothesis to a theory.
5. If, at anytime in the future, new data arises that causes you to revise or reject your theory then you revise and reject it and start again at Step 1.
Real scientists never ignore facts or observations in order to protect a hypothesis or theory, even one they are particularly fond of.
So there it is. I found these step in Evolution for Dummies by Greg Krukonis, PhD, on the first page, but you can find them in any science book. The point is that this is science. All scientists use this method. If they don’t then they are bad scientist. It’s funny to me that some people will accept some sciences, but reject others, as if they came about using some wacky other ideas. For instance, I have talked with people who think that Einstein was a genius, but have no idea what he was even talking about, but reject Evolution and Darwin immediately as if it hasn’t really been scrutinized for 150 years. Also, people think things like homeopathy and other “Alternative Medicines” should have different standards than actual Medicine. If the treatment doesn’t have evidence then it doesn’t work.