005 Role of the Model

The disadvantages inherent in the use of models can be avoided to a large extent by a judicious balancing of the two processes, model-making and data collection The relationship between these two aspects of Scientific Method deserves careful consideration, it provides one of the main keys to scientific success, and it also involves several notions which can be carried over into our thinking about everyday problems. 

FIG 10 02

The evolution of a successful model generally follows the above pattern The first shots are often very wide of the mark, but by gradual stages the scientist zeros in on his target. There is really no end to the sequence. Even after a model has years of successful usage (i. e., Newtonian models in physics), a situation may come along which will not be adequately predicted by the model. A new model must then be developed. Some readers may find this viewpoint rather unpleasant because they would like this sequence to stop somewhere (i. e., at the truth). Nowhere in the scientific world has this stopping place been attained, although now and then the models have survived for man years. The attitude that the truth had been attained was often a barrier to progress.