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Older comments[edit]

This could do with some mention of observation in science and in other disciplines... Martin

I just merged an article discussing observation in philosophy. I didn't touch the content, and it could use some more work. Akerkhof

The form of observation in this article is naturalistic, which is a valid stage in the development of knowledge. Great biologists are typically naturalists as youths. Stephen Jay Gould. Konrad Lorenz. Charles Darwin, even.

A phenomenological view is still acceptable when developing a science. Where to draw the line. The most advanced physics can be found in the history of the universe, which we are getting from observatories.

Even the odd stellar objects which are being cataloged, basically as curiosities, at this stage, can be viewed as examples of stellar evolution. Hence even astronomy benefits from a naturalistic viewpoint.

Or is the issue 'undisciplined observation'.

law of observation?[edit]

I've been looking for the law/axiom/statement of scientific observation that says (in some form or another) that the Observer has an affect on the things he observes. I cannot find such a statement. Does this statement exist, or did I just dream it?

Maybe you're looking for quantum measurement? Karol 21:16, 4 November 2005 (UTC)
Thanks for noticing the omission. I added a paragraph on this concept. --ChetvornoTALK 16:47, 25 May 2009 (UTC)

article neglects the uncertainty principle[edit]

This article needs to at least provide some form of reference to the fact that the uncertainty principle changes the nature of observation entirely and requires its redefinition. -- Natalinasmpf 07:37, 14 November 2005 (UTC)

I need something!!![edit]

u suck.

Unhappy chappie[edit]

The definition strikes me as overly your mom boyBold -- (talk) 00:53, 1 December 2011 (UTC)Italic texttext. What do we know about the lion's "framework of previous knowledge and ideas" as it observes an antelope? I would prefer something like "Observation is the sensory assimilation of information by a living organism."

I'm uncomfortable with the statement "However, personal observations gathered without the aid of instruments are often unreliable­ and not always reproducible."

Many observations of the living world are made without the use of intstruments. If you notice a bee of some particular species taking nectar from a flower of another species, is that observation unreliable or irreproducible just because you didn't use an instrument?

The paragraph continues: "Therefore they are not of much use in exact sciences like physics." I think that this is incorrect and irrelevant to the topic of observation; and in any case, how did we get onto the subject of science, far less the so-called "exact" science of physics? What about observation in the arts?

I also disagree with the remark "Observation invariably requires logical thinking," since to collect observations does not necessarily require logical thinking. Analysing the observations does - but we do not always observe in order to analyse.

Search perception.


Someone apparently went and dablinked all physics-related references to observer into observation. I would much appreciate it if the parties responsible would treat the notion of an observer here, particularly as it applies to reference frames. It's kinda hard to talk about physics without an article treating observers properly. Silly rabbit 13:48, 25 May 2007 (UTC)

Hubble's Observations[edit]

Hubble did not observe galaxies moving apart. I don't know all of his observations, but he for example observed that the light that is theoretically from that galaxy was a certain color. The idea that galaxies were moving apart was an hypothesis or theory. AThousandYoung 13:07, 30 September 2007 (UTC)

Observation Techniques[edit]

I'm interested in techniques for observing. For example, how do soldiers and police observe the environment in order to detect threats? AThousandYoung 13:09, 30 September 2007 (UTC)

May 9th '08 changes by Mikkalai[edit]

Although I agree with most of the changes you made - high five on cutting out that Big Bang crap - in the first sentence you removed the clause "or within some scientific usages..." which I added when I created the section The "observer" concept within special relativity.

I realize that the previous wording of that sentence was extremely clumsy, I simply bolted on the S.R. clause because I couldn't think of an elegant way of putting it, but the thing is that your change removed all mention of the special relativity meaning of the term from the intro. This S.R. usage of the term is radically different in some respects from even other scientific meanings of it so I feel it's important that it be noted prominently right in the intro.

So I'm hoping that we can come to some compromise on this. How about adding another sentence immediately after what you have:

Observation is either an activity of a sapient or sentient living being (e.g. humans), which senses and assimilates the knowledge of a phenomenon or an instrumental recording of data. The term may also refer to the data collected during this activity. Also N.B. that within the scientific field of special relativity "observer" and "observation" have a meaning that connotes data or phenomena recorded or evaluated from a specific viewpoint as opposed to an omniscient or objective viewpoint.

I'm not particular about the wording at all, feel free to propose your own. The tricky thing is the either-or formation of the first sentence... in S.R. an "observation" might be made by either a human or by an instrument, but the thing is that it's implying a subjective observation limited to a particular inertial reference frame. ...Maybe even a bulleted list, the way a disambiguation page looks? That would be unusual for an introduction but it seems almost appropriate here. --❨Ṩtruthious ℬandersnatch❩ 16:56, 10 May 2008 (UTC)

Missing Text[edit]

The first paragraph in the section "Observation as recording of scientific data" ends with the sentence fragment "In statistics, an observation, whether of a sample". —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:15, 21 August 2008 (UTC)

Delete 'self defining instruments'?[edit]

Observations aroused by self-defining instruments are often unreliable­. ...exact sciences...require instruments which do not define themselves. What are 'self-defining instruments'? If the intent here is to say that scientific instruments make measurements against objective standards and are comparable, while the observations made by human senses are not comparable, it needs to be put better. Unless there is some reason to keep this incomprehensible text I'm going to delete it. --ChetvornoTALK 23:03, 14 October 2008 (UTC)

Completely rewrote article, deleting text in question. --ChetvornoTALK 16:50, 25 May 2009 (UTC)


Observation of a unit, in either material or immaterial space time, creates a ‘truth’ which is the duality of the ‘symbol’ and its ‘meaning’. The symbol is static while meaning is dynamic and it is the synthesis of all the truths about the symbolized unit. A truth is observed in the mind. It is ‘perfect’ when the observed unit and its meaning are identical. Perfection of observation depends on the plurality of observed details, each detail a different truth consisting of a plurality of new truths. Description is controlled by the observer but not the plurality of details in the observed unit. The observer cannot define the truth accurately until he relates it to the plurality of other, independent truths. The sum of the truths belongs only to the observer. There is no communication between minds of various observers. If the observed material unit changes its location in space or in time, its previous state ceases to exist for the observer. This does not apply to the truths in the immaterial world because the previous observations remain in the form of the memory. In the immaterial medium the observer can position himself in any point of the plurality of observations within the memory. The memory is limited by the plurality of observations but the unit ‘now’, in which the memory is located, has unlimited capacity because it is unlimited plurality of ‘units’ of Nothingness, capable of being organized into any memory. Memory is independent from the material space time. Truths in the memory can be observed by the ‘self’ even when symbols are only in the immaterial world. Because motivation from the perfect centre is one directional, from the immaterial to the material space time, the spatial units in the immaterial world can create their copies in the material space time. Transfer of information between the two space times is possible because velocity of rotation of gravitons on the border between the two worlds is the same. It is the observer who creates difference between the two media because, in both media, he uses the unit of measurement of velocity of the flow of time applicable in his centre of observation. KK ( (talk) 11:20, 4 May 2010 (UTC))

Merge with Naturalistic Observation?[edit]

Would a merge with naturalistic observation be possible? Or is the scientific and philosophical viewpoints too different? Kindergarten ped (talk) 17:05, 31 August 2010 (UTC)

Never mind. The difference suddenly became glaringly obvious. :) Kindergarten ped (talk) 12:57, 1 September 2010 (UTC)

Good wiki wrticle[edit]

One of the few good articles on wikipedia. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Meel11223 (talkcontribs) 06:01, 4 November 2015 (UTC)

“Why does it always rain on me?”[edit]

What is the name of the observational bias caused by intrusiveness of events? Is it true that people may perceive the weather to be rainier than it is because being rained on is a more intrusive stimulus? If so then what is the name of this phenomenon? —James Haigh (talk) 2017-04-26T02:26:02Z

Do you mean like people perceiving air travel as more dangerous than auto travel when it is actually much safer, because airplane crashes are highly publicized? --ChetvornoTALK 04:47, 26 April 2017 (UTC)
Yeah, that sort of thing, but I'm more thinking from the perspective of why people form superstitions. I'm not talking about confirmation bias reïnforcing an existing expectation, because the effect that I'm thinking of applies regardless of, or in addition to, existing expectations and confirmation bias. I think it is known as ‘the <something> effect’, rather than ‘<something> bias’, but I can't remember and I've looked through over 20 articles and not found it, before asking here. —James Haigh (talk) 2017-04-26T21:38:33Z

Observational paradoxes (extended)[edit]

Observation is neutral...It is independent of the 'fundamental interactions, space, time and Being'...It maybe akin to Intuition..Arnlodg (talk) 22:16, 17 June 2017 (UTC)Arnlodg|talk]]) 01:12, 16 June 2017 (UTC)..

This article should be linked to a new main article--Practices and Ways[edit]

The Intuitive experience of Monks, Fakirs, Yogis, others--toward Involution; A non-philosophical experience..Arnlodg (talk) 21:02, 19 June 2017 (UTC)

Observation in science: Indirect Observation[edit]

This section needs a paragraph describing indirect observation and its importance to science, to counter the naive interpretation of observation as only meaning direct observation. See for example [Science Provides Evidence for the Unobservable via Inference].

JDunning (talk) 19:15, 28 February 2018 (UTC)

Read the first section Observation in science. It describes the use of measurement and scientific instruments to magnify human powers of "direct observation". ----ChetvornoTALK 01:32, 1 March 2018 (UTC)