There are different methods of obtaining knowledge and each method has its peculiar way of obtaining knowledge. These methods are Tenacity, Authority, Intuition or Prior method and the Scientific method. Research has agreed that the method of science is the strongest of the four because it is empirical, replicable, provides results and it can be repeated over again.
Method of Tenacity: This is a method in which states that something is considered the truth or is the truth because in a point in time it was the truth. Under tenacity we can take about belief and habits. For example: There is a belief in a particular Ghanaian culture that says that People aren’t supposed to go fishing on certain days and that if they do, it would anger the gods and die and people believe in this and it became a habit over a period of time because on those specific days the people of that particular culture do go fishing.
Method of Authority: This method states that whatever an Authority says is true and that’s the truth and you can’t question what they say. An authority could be the President of the country, Parents, Religious leaders, Chiefs. For example, the period/crisis we are in, we are told to stay at home because you can easily contract the virus(COVID-19) if you go to crowded places. So the president has issued the stay at home exercise to decrease the spread of the virus and we have to obey what he says because the virus is real. The president knows what’s best for his citizens so in any way he can he would protect them (citizens).
Method of Intuition or Priori method: This is a method derived from reasoning so it has more do with more experience. So an individual assumes because its self-evident and has reasoning and which is the truth. Intuition is the knowledge that comes before the fact. For example, An individual in a case like this follows what an Authority says but if they find out that the Authority was wrong in any way, the individual tends to question the Authority.
Method of Science: Science is the intellectual and practical activity that covers the systematic study of a structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through the method of observation and experimentation. The scientific method is the way of acquiring knowledge arriving at conclusions by observing a variety of phenomena, formatting hypothesis, further observation and experimentation, refining and retesting (can be repeated). Scientific method is used because it satisfies our doubt because it is not determined by humans but by external factors. Therefore, science has its hypothesis stated in a related manner and there are real things which are independent as our opinions. In this case the more experience one has about something brings about more reasoning which leads to one conclusion. In the scientific method, one has to test whether the hypothesis is right or wrong and can do all this by observing facts and controlling factors that may affect the experiment.
Out of the four methods Scientific method shows the difference between right and wrong but the first three methods of settling opinions present no advantage over the scientific method.
The scientific method is a trustworthy tool but then again it has its limitation and these limitations are based on the facts that hypothesis must be testable and falsifiable and the experiments must be able to be repeated. Here are some limitations:
Ethical and legal responsibilities: In this case Ethical in the sense that the issue may be right or wrong. And legal in a sense that there would me the use of animals (small animals) are used in the experiment, the origin of life, whether evolution took place.
Data interpretation: Research findings are limited due to human ability to interpret the result and that wrong interpretation can lead to a wrong conclusion
The scientific method fails to yield an accurate representation of the world not because of the method being used but by those who attempt to apply and this fails when scientists are being collective and allow their own biases and personal preference to short-circuit the hypothesis testing part of the process.
Constrained by extent of existing knowledge: Establishing a hypothesis and designing an experiment based on current human knowledge so in this case what we already know about the situation.
Science is incapable of making value judgement: For example, In Science, we just don’t say smoking is bad but it studies the cause and effect relationship of smoking with another variable and then report on those result.
In conclusion these are some of the limitation or disadvantages of using the scientific method. The scientific method is much more reliable and has less chances of error occurring. It uses the approach pf series of step, this method is systematic, objective, verified and can repeated to confirm and refute. Scientific methods accounts for solvable problems that have empirical solutions which is based on observation.
- Baumgardiner, John. March 01,2008, Exploring the limitations of scientific method. https://www.icr.org/article/3749/.
- Harris, W. “How the scientific method works” https://science.howstuffworks.com/innovation/scientific-experiment/scientific-method10.html