Hennie wrote:The point being that sometimes a lot of inquiring and scientific reasoning is needed to establish a fact?
Hennie, I would agree that it takes much inquiry and thought to establish (discover?) a fact. Once established, the fact is easily replicated, observed by other, and enters into common knowledge. There are any number of optical illusions available to demonstrate that an observed fact can be viewed differently once the alternative is identified by another observer. Typically well established facts in a field only initiate further inquiry and reasoning to illuminate further facts.
We may observe and establish as a fact that a tree is reasonably large stable and upright object. We may further observe that the tree has roots spread through the ground and come to the conclusion (established hypothesis?) that the roots help hold the tree erect (under most conditions). We may then observe a fact that fluids move between the roots and the tree's crown; and establish a new fact that the roots participate both in the life if the tree, and its mechanical stability. And so it goes until we get to the individual single cells in the root that are left to decide in which direction next to push out and so propagate the next root hair, and eventually the next root. Its tough decision for a couple of little root sells, and one that may impact the future life of the entire organism. Yet we can observe the fact that roots do grow in some specific direction.
It may take a lot of "scientific" inquiry and reasoning to learn how, to establish a fact related to root hair propagation. Once a tree has expended some amount of energy trying to extend a root hair into a rock, will it decide to grow in a different direction? Will it learn that its easier simply to grow around the rock in the first place, and skip all the energy wasted going through it? Does a tree simply "know" to follow the trail through the soil already blazed and occupied by some specific other soil dwelling organism? If so, does the tree talk to (communicate with) the other trail blazing organism? How does the other organism know to grow around the rock and away from the oil spill?
Facts such as like "trees stand upright"l, "trees grow root"s, "tree roots grow through soil", "tree roots help hold the tree upright" can be observed; and so become well established and accepted as facts. Establishing new facts whether counting hippos or following the exact direction of tree root growth can require a lot of inquiry and reasoning.
How exactly does one count hippos in the wild? Send 'em an email promising a large bail of sweet hay if they'll just poke their heads out of their mud hole when the census taker flys over thumbing his blackberry? It takes a bit of scientific reasoning and inquiry to accurately establish any fact, even counting hippos. Just flying over the mud holes will count only those hippos that like to watch the airplanes fly over. Other's may just prefer to sleep beneath the muddy water out of the hot sun ignoring both plane and census taker.
The hippo count is really quite a practical question. In the US we are required to "enumerate" the population every 10 years, to determine exactly how many people live here, and where they live. Even after 200+ years at it, there is still a substantial office of statisticians, etc just trying to figure out how to make the next census more accurate than the last. After 200+ years, we still cant even be sure we can count votes correctly. Any one remember all the effort inquiry and seasoning it took to count "Florida's chads" back in 2000 (it was/is a US thing!); or all the scientific inquiry and reasoning that goes into developing an effective electronic vote counting? The fact that X won the election over Y is easy once you've incurred all the scientific inquiry and reasoning needed to establish the fact that a,b,c,d,e,f,g voted for X; and m,n,o voted for Y.
Just my thoughts, Will