Eric Ash: the scientific method

I mean the scientific method is essentially gathering evidence and believing it. I mean, it is what distinguishes from all the evils of the world, where this is not done. Well, you know my favourite target, religion, you know. But the scientific method, I think, is having total respect for evidence.

The scientific method is always sort of help up as one of the tenets that make science different. But I suppose I, I guess I’ve always been curious as to how much practising scientists actually think about it in their day to day work. Is it something that’s explicitly there, at the back of your mind, or just something implicit in what you’re doing, I suppose?

No, I think it’s fairly explicit. And, you know, you can do experiments which appear to show what you were hoping it would show, but where it’s not absolutely clear, and there’s a temptation to assume that this must be okay. So, I think, to be ruthless, erm, in self-examination, I think – I think is very important. And not everything yields to the scientific method. I’m not really so of the view that scientists are wise people who can give answers to everything. I don’t – I don’t think so. I think one can give negative answers to some things. I think, for example, we can give a negative answer to those people who are currently saying that there is no climate change risk. But we can’t give positive answers to all sorts of abstruse questions.

  • Interviewee Eric Ash
  • Duration 00:01:49
  • Copyright British Library Board
  • Interviewer Thomas Lean
  • Date of interview 4/25/2013
  • Shelfmark C1379/92
  • Keywords

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