Scientists work hard to test hypothesis:
One of the things that I love about science is the hard work that scientists go through to test their hypothesis. It is something that I find lacking from many pseudoscientific or a quasi-scientific or anti-scientific, etc. movements. For example, the essential oils community is convinced that they are quite effective in being able to alleviate symptoms or attack viruses or boost immune systems. However, outside of maybe a petri dish study, there seem to be a severe lack of publications of their efficacy in real human beings. Go do the study- it will show effects beyond statistical blips and placebo if it does what is claimed! I’ve seen Christians put up remarkable graphs and find that they are based on no actual publication at all but a back of the envelope calculation. When I asked them why don’t you publish this it would be really quite remarkable they replied it would be too hard to do it (my addition: with the rigor demanded by the scientific process).
An example: testing hypothesis on the origins of multicellularity
One example that caught my eye recently was this one where the origins of multicellularity is an outstanding question of science- we don’t have much evidence from the fossil record or genomes (though some really cool clues perhaps for another post). One hypothesis centered around that there was selection pressure from some sort of single celled predator. But without more evidence you would have to be rather tentative with your hypotheses. So how could you test that hypothesis? Well put some predatory cells with some unicellular cells and wait hundreds and hundreds of generations! What might one find?
Is this what ultimately happened on earth hundreds of millions of years ago? We may never know but it is a direct test of a hypothesis where the abstract summarizes:
These results support the hypothesis that selection imposed by predators may have played a role in some origins of multicellularity.
One more thing that I love is how scientists tend to not conclude more than what their experiments actually can demonstrate. Sure some when talking to the public may be more grandiose but there is a humility to the process that non-scientists can be unaware of.
Thoughts, examples? Did I speak erroneously at some point? Let me know!