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Scientific observations so far have given us similarities and patterns almost in every field, Be it physics or chemistry, The second step of scientific method is to propose a hypothesis based on all collective observations and the third step is to verify/falsify the hypothesis with more observations, But In a World where there were no similarities or patterns so far, Wouldn't the scientific method fail on the second step itself?

I have two questions taking above as context:

  1. Does that mean all we will be doing is to observe physical happenings in world without any similarities in them and noting it down for human usage only?

  2. Are similarities an inherent property of nature or just a way of humans to conceptualize different happenings on a common ground?

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  • Maybe we have two issues here: from one side we use laws to describe facts and phenomena of the world, and laws "impose" patterns (regularities) on facts. Maybe a scientific law can be refuted by deeper investigations and experiments, but the next move is to define a new - sometimes more complicated, sometimes more general - law, and thus a "pattern" again. So, humans (and not only?) are "patterns seekers". Jan 31 at 11:21
  • The second issue is: is it possible that our (humans) "pattern seeking" attitude is compatible with a world without patterns? But if we (humans) are "hardwired" with that attitude, this is a clue that some sort of "programmer" exists, at least in terms of an evolution strategy that produced us, and this is some sort of pattern. Jan 31 at 11:24
  • But according to anthropology, also Myths are patterns. Jan 31 at 11:25
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    Ramsey's principle applies here: the universe is too big to not have at least some patterns. This question invites speculative bikeshedding, but it might be fixable if it were to focus on certain correlations or other philosophically-interesting instances of patterns which may or may not exist.
    – Corbin
    Jan 31 at 19:45
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    The complete and permanent absence of patterns would be itself a pattern.
    – wra
    Jan 31 at 21:43

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Your question is rather meaningless, since in a world with no patterns whatsoever, humans would not exist. However, putting that petty criticism to one side, if there were truly no patterns, then you could form the reasonable hypothesis that you lived in a random world, and you could attempt to disprove the hypothesis by looking for patterns, so the scientific method would still be applicable, albeit in a rather tiresome and unhelpful way.

As for your more general point, some 'patterns' are inherent in nature. For example, there is a clear pattern in nature that there are two categories of fundamental particles that attract each other (we call them positively and negatively charged). That is not a human invention- oppositely charged particles were attracting each other long before humans were around to observe them.

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  • "so the scientific method would still be applicable, albeit in a rather tiresome and unhelpful way",will it be just like a booklog keeping all observations to help us in future?If yes,Even then,We would not be sure that these observation are even helpful,Because they would not repeat in future?? Jan 31 at 19:18
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If there were no patterns in nature, there would be no humans around to observe it.

Think about it, your very ability to exist in a persistent way requires certain regularities. If nature truly had NO patterns whatsoever, then your brain would more than likely dematerialize a moment after it came into existence. You wouldn't be able to exist long enough to ask questions about why there aren't patterns in nature.

Our very existence relies on the sorts of constraints that physics studies -- constraints about what possible futures may unfold from past states. If there are no constraints, and there are no patterns, then there's no you, no humans, no science.

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  • I don't get it,How our existence neccessarily implies there must be atleast a pattern? Jan 31 at 19:19
  • @DheerajGujrathi I can try to formalize what I am reading above. (1) If any human has at least one pattern describing something about them, then the existence of at least one human implies the existence of at least one pattern. (2) Any human has at least one pattern describing something about them. Given (1) and (2), the existence of at least one human implies the existence of at least one pattern.
    – Galen
    Feb 1 at 1:37
  • @DheerajGujrathi your body relies on the patterns of physics and chemistry to remain in existence. No object would have a stable persistent existence without patterns.
    – TKoL
    Feb 1 at 12:23
  • Exactly. The existence of no patterns existing in the universe while being observed by us seems to be like a rational impossibility, much like a "square circle". Feb 1 at 14:12
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    @DheerajGujrathi: You wouldn't even perceive multiple "humans" if there weren't some common pattern for what's "human".
    – Nat
    Feb 1 at 15:07
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In order to clarify how such an environment could look like, imagine that we humans would live in clouds of water vapor. Then the environment would be permanently changing, without any stable structure which we would recognize.

You can even radicalize this though experiment by imagining beings who live in a world controlled by a random generator. But one can question whether in this world life were possible at all.

My answers to your two questions:

  • Ad 1: The beings who live in the clouds of water vapor can protocoll what they experience. But they cannot explain what they experience by general laws.
  • Ad 2: The most easiest hypothesis seems to me: Assume the existence of similarities in nature and invoke the human capability to abstract to patterns.
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  • By Ad 2 Do You mean to imply that Mathematics will still hold in such reality? Jan 31 at 19:21
  • @DheerajGujrathi Mathematics will still hold because mathematics is not physics and it therefore does not need application. Mathematics is more like a game with abstract rules.
    – Jo Wehler
    Jan 31 at 19:43
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The second step of scientific method is to propose a hypothesis based on all collective observations and the third step is to verify/falsify the hypothesis with more observations, But In a World where there were no similarities or patterns so far, Wouldn't the scientific method fail on the second step itself?

Let's leave aside the question of whether we could exist in such a world. Perhaps we could observe it from the outside by some means, and try to use the scientific method to analyze it.

There is then an important distinction to be made: is it merely that no patterns have been recognized so far or that there are no patterns to be found?

In neither case is there necessarily a problem with hypothesis formation, but if there are no patterns to be found then it must be the case that every hypothesis that supports meaningful predictions will, probabilistically, be falsified. If there are as-yet undiscovered patterns, however, then it is plausible that some of these will be hypothesized. These will not be falsified by valid experiments, because they characterize bona fide patterns.

I have two questions taking above as context:

  1. Does that mean all we will be doing is to observe physical happenings in world without any similarities in them and noting it down for human usage only?

No. We might form an unbounded number of hypotheses, and test them all. See above for more discussion of how that might play out.

  1. Are similarities an inherent property of nature or just a way of humans to conceptualize different happenings on a common ground?

We seem to be fairly good at making predictions based on past observations. The scale of such predictive ability seems to be increasing. That is consistent with the hypothesis that the Universe really does behave according to a set of physical laws. It does not prove that hypothesis, but that is beyond the power of the scientific method.

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  • For you reply to my first question,I think we inherently cannot propose a meaningful hypothesis,Because,If hypothesis might be true,It should be true all the times,Which again creates a pattern,Which should not exist according to question Jan 31 at 19:24
  • I don't follow you, @DheerajGujrathi. In the scientific method, the accuracy / correctness / truth of a hypothesis is something to be tested. Indeed, that's the essential core of the whole framework. Proposing an hypothesis does not require it to be true in any way. Jan 31 at 20:12
  • For example, @DheerajGujrathi, if there is an observable property of the world, P, then I can hypothesize that for all times t, if I measure P at time t and then measure it again at time t + 1 sec, then I will find that P(t) = P(t + 1 sec). That's a perfectly good hypothesis, even if it turns out to be false. Jan 31 at 20:17

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