Scientific Method? Schmientific Method

I hate the scientific method and it hates me.  If I had a bumper sticker, it would say “Screw Validity.”  I don’t know why I never really understood it.  It’s sort of like when I did really poorly on the “what syllable gets the emphasis” test in whatever grade we had to do that — pretty soon, as I was mispronouncing the words in my head, I forgot which one was real and the little mark we were supposed to make threw me off. (This is not like the time I pretended to be dyslexic in kindergarten so my friend wouldn’t feel bad.  That was altruism.)  That was always how I felt when I encountered this:

I always felt stupid when it came to science mostly because I didn’t have an interest in it and, therefore, did not apply myself in the best manner, perhaps.  I distinctly remember the moment that I stopped wanting to be an astronaut came shortly after realizing how many science courses they had to take. (In addition to the intelligence absence… and the hatred of flying…. other than that, ASTRONAUT FOREVER!)  Soon, everywhere I turned, it seemed that scientists were destroying all of the interesting and fun things I imagined by forcing someone to “prove” it through “valid and reliable” use of the “scientific method.”

So I launched my petitioning campaign to hate and fight with 3-year-old temper tantrum power anything having to do with the scientific method.

Then I hit middle school and the science fairs came up.  Well, screw me, friends, I had to not only use the scientific method, I had to artistically display my findings on a sheet of mothereffin posterboard.  Are you kidding me?

Things got tense in the Kirby household after that.  My parents had no idea how to encourage me, a school-loving book nerd, to do something scholarly that I hated.  But it was a competition and therefore, I had to win.  Or at least compete.  Or at least not look like a total ass.

I would not grow mold on a piece of bread because, like, hi.  That’s what the lazy kids did.  No, instead, I decided I would tackle the water cycle by evaporating water with food coloring out of a jar so that the coloring stained the jar since (get this) only the water evaporates!  (I’m fairly certain this was taken directly out of the book “Science Experiments For Idiotic Children” and was settled on with much fanfare.)

My mistakes began immediately.  First of all, I picked a huge jar and filled it to the top.  Like, we’re talking a cookie jar which may have been fine if we had six years for the water to evaporate but, with my stalling and pouting, we had less than six weeks.  Then I put in the blue food coloring.  Lots of it.  It was dark.  Then I bought a disposable camera and proceeded to think that the best way to take pictures was to sort of run by the object I was photographing and not hold the camera still.  That’s how the professionals did it.  

So, every day I took my pictures to document (through analysis of an experiment to prove my hypothesis) that the food coloring would stay as the water level shrunk.  

About four weeks in, this began to worry me as the water level had gone down approximately 1 millimeter and I had pictures that looked like abstract portraits taken by a Parkinsonian 11-year-old.  This just would not do for my posterboard (which had black-and-white drawings of the water cycle with stick figures playing in the rain and abstract pictures strewn about).  It would do me no good to have an indiscernible amount of water evaporate before Science Fair Day.

So I did what any good scientist would do.

I dumped out about 3/4 of the motherfracken jar of water.

Therefore, my photographs of “daily log of water evaporation” had days 1-40 documenting small changes and on day 41, the wrath of God had occurred and He had dried out the air of my little town in Iowa to chart-breaking levels causing probably 3 gallons of water to fly out of the jar.  (Again, any good scientist would use God as reasoning to their analysis.)

One by one at the Science Fair I was lectured by judges about the invalidity of the experiment.  One by one I was passed over for ribbons and medals and brand new mountain bikes or WTFever.  

When I came home dejected, my mother, bless her heart, said, “Good try, Kelly.  Maybe science just isn’t your thing.  I mean, who needs it, right?”

Who needs it indeed.  

1 thought on “Scientific Method? Schmientific Method”

  1. I like it when you blog because it reminds me I have a blog and can do that, too.

    Also, I advanced to State or Regionals or something with a project that was basically “Marigolds Need Sun to Grow,” so I don’t think we were exactly a gifted group of young scientists as a whole.

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