Applying the Scientific Method to Learn from Mistakes and Approach Truth  book cover
1st Edition

Applying the Scientific Method to Learn from Mistakes and Approach Truth

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after January 25, 2022
ISBN 9781032183305
January 25, 2022 Forthcoming by CRC Press
152 Pages

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Book Description

In its simplest form, the scientific method can be thought of as learning from our mistakes and trying to correct them. True scientists try to think rationally, never adopt dogmatic opinions and are always willing to listen to opposing views. They never claim to know the absolute truth but are relentless in their search for it.

In this timely book, the author describes the fundamentals of critical scientific thinking. The book further examines the correct use of the scientific method and how to apply it to current events and scientific topics to obtain honest assessments. Current controversies discussed include climate change and COVID-related lockdowns.

Additional Features include:

  • Demonstrates the use of the scientific method to assist with objective analysis of issues.
  • Addresses that induction plays a role but the true method for advancing knowledge is hypothesis-deduction.
  • Explores current hot topics within the framework of the scientific method.
  • Outlines common misunderstandings of the scientific method.

Applying the Scientific Method to Learn from Mistakes and Approach Truth is approachable enough for the general public and recommended for university and advanced high school science educators and their students.

Table of Contents


About the author

Chapter 1. The importance of building resilience

Early memories

Pre-University days

Vacation work

Reflections of my early days

What mistakes have been made?


Chapter 2. Scientific thinking and how it can be applied

Early research experience

The role of dimensions

Learning an important lesson

The scientific method

The generality of applying the scientific method

Post-doctoral experience and employment in CSIRO

Reflections of research in CSIRO

How has scientific research changed in recent decades?


Chapter 3. Our failing education system

The case of Cardinal George Pell

Anthropogenic global warming

How have educational standards been performing?

The importance of critical thinking


Role of wonder and awe in education

Health and nutrition


The role of physical activity in learning

The importance of personal hygiene


Chapter 4. How political debate should work in a democracy

Indicators of moves towards extremism

How scientific thinking might contribute to political debate

Applying the scientific method to issues that involve science

Anthropogenic global warming

The hypothetico-deductive scientific method

The merit of a hypothesis

How a belief can be imposed on an uninformed public

How can we determine if anthropogenic global warming is significant?

A hiatus in global warming

The medieval warm period

Global warming-carbon dioxide correlation


Chapter 5. Fairness and equality

Fairness and equality

How should we deal with inequality?

How do we understand fairness?

Gullibility is widespread

We have to accept that there will be unfairness


Chapter 6. Education, schooling and the curriculum

Ideas of John Gatto

Ideas of John Medina

Ideas of Martin Seligman

Teaching of history

Critical thinking

Understanding the scientific method


Chapter 7. Where have we been going wrong in our society?

Anthropogenic global warming

The lockdowns in response to the Corona virus


Education in the school system,

Tertiary education


The media

Questions to ponder


Chapter 8. How do we fix what has been going wrong?


Anthropogenic global warming

Lockdowns in response to the COVID-19 pandemic

School education

Tertiary education


The media



Concluding comments



Chapter 9. Summary and hopes for the future

Chapter 10. What are some of the mistakes and can they be corrected?

Scientific community

The teaching and education community

The psychological and psychiatric community


The bureaucracy

The judiciary

The media

The public

Political systems





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Finlay MacRitchie was a professor in the Department of Grain Science and Industry, Kansas State University from 1997 to 2009. He is presently Professor Emeritus in that department. Prior to this, he was a research scientist in the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) of Australia. He has spent short periods of time as Visiting Professor at the University of Chile and the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and as Senior Research Fellow at the Agricultural University, Wageningen, The Netherlands, the University of Paris V, the University of Lund, Sweden and the University of Tuscia, Italy.

MacRitchie has published more than 150 papers in refereed journals and four textbooks –Chemistry at Interfaces (Academic Press, 1990), Concepts in Cereal Chemistry (Taylor and Francis, 2010), Scientific Research as a Career (Taylor and Francis, 2011) and The Need for Critical Thinking and the Scientific Method (Taylor and Francis, 2018). He is listed as an Institute for Scientific Information (ISI) highly cited researcher and is included in a list of the top 2% of researchers in the world by a recent Stanford University survey.

He has been a member of the editorial boards of Advances in Colloid and Interface Science, Cereal Chemistry and Journal of Cereal Science and editor-in-chief of Journal of Cereal Science.

MacRitchie’s awards include the F.B. Guthrie Medal of the Cereal Division of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute (RACI) and the Thomas Burr Osborne Medal and George W. Scott Blair Memorial Award of the American Association of Cereal Chemists (now Cereals and Grains Association).