Scientist or not a scientist

Science is a method of how to investigate the world.

The scientists work according to scientific rules. Those who work according to those rules are those that can be called scientists, whether they have an academic degree or not. What is not so often realized is that you can have degree and anyway not work scientifically. And you can lack a degree and anyway work scientifically.

You get an idea how things can be connected and explain some phenomenon. You form a test to try to confirm it. If it’s already a “good” idea, or after the first confirming test you can call it a hypothesis. You go on with other tests to confirm or reject the hypothesis. The hypothesis can then be so well grounded that you can call it a theory.


What is a scientific theory?

(Information retrieved from the Chemical Resource Center (KRC) in Sweden)

A scientific theory is a well-functioning model, which explains a natural phenomenon. A scientific theory is not rejected because it does not “envision it”, it is rejected only on experimental grounds. We say that the natural sciences are empirical, ie. They must work in experimental situations.

What characterizes a scientific theory? How do we know it’s a scientific theory? The most important criteria are that it is

  • Falsible. Ie It must be possible to find experiments that contradict the theory if it is incorrect.
  • Predictive, ie Results can be predicted, which is called prediction. It should be possible to make predictions about the future based on it.

Sometimes it can be difficult to distinguish a scientific theory from a pseudoscientific theory. Then there are some things that are worth checking out. Pseudoscience is characterized by

  1. Belief in authorities
  2. Lack of repeatability
  3. Hand-picked examples
  4. Dismissal of contradictory facts
  5. Non-falsible theories
  6. Inadequate explanation value
  7. Ad hoc hypotheses – customize the hypothesis to explain a particular phenomenon

The scientific method only works with what can be observed in the natural world. It though doesn’t say other objects can’t exist.

Many scientists today embrace the philosophy of naturalism, which is not science. According to naturalism cosmos consists only of objects studied by the natural sciences, and does not include any immaterial or intentional realities.

The scientific method does not take any stand if there are any additional ways than the scientific method to obtain knowledge.

The philosophy naturalism says that the reality can not involve any immaterial or intentional realities, for example a creator outside the world.

Scientism is another philosophy that goes one step further and says there are no other ways to obtain knowledge than through the scientific method.

What is often forgotten is that according to the scientific method, the answers that you get are dependent on knowledge of today, what you have perceived about the world so far and how your tests are designed with these facts as a base. So the answers we get today are not 100 % truth, they are the most probable truth depending on what we know today. When knowledge increase, the most probable truth may change to something else.

Resistant bees in Wales

In north Wales, there is a group of beekeepers that do not treat honey bee colonies against the Varroa mite. They havn’t done it in years. Winter losses are lower among their bees than with those who treat. Here is a video made about them:

Dave was probably the one who was the first to stop treating. Then Pete stopped. He is a bee inspector. He had a lot of losses initially. He knew there were feral (wild) bee colonies. He observed that they stopped giving swarms when the Varroa came, but all feral colonies didn’t die. Some lived on, and after 3-4 years, they began to give swarms again.

Clive stopped to treat because Apistan stopped working in 2004.

Pete now focused on capturing swarms from feral bees. Then his bees survived better. Others split the colonies that survived Varroa best and had small Varroa populations. They provided new beekeepers with such new colonies. And the number of treatment free beekeepers grew.

Many of them don’t feed sugar but let them live entirely on honey. They keep the number of colonies in apiaries low. Pete has maximum 5 in each apiary. With his 60 colonies he harvests his 2 tons of honey to serve hos customers.

In 2010, they began to wonder how big the differences in losses were between those who treated and the treatment free beekeepers, so they asked around. The first line of numbers in the table is from the winter of 2010-2011. The last line is a summary of five winters.

Conclusions from the video:

  • The treatment free beekeepers group dominant their area with their bees
  • They cooperate with the feral bee population in the area
  • If you make splits, make it from the best colonies and let the bees make new queens.
  • Take swarms.
  • The colonies that are not fit enough die (or are requeened, if not by the beekeeper, by the colony itself).
  • No mating station with sister groups producing drones is used. All survivors are producing drones for mating with virgin queens.