It’s easy to present a very stilted, formulaic, outline of the scientific method. And both supporters and opponents of science do this.
However, in reality things are usually a lot more complicated and confused. Science is done by real, imperfect, people in a real, imperfect, world.
So, I really like this description of the scientific process given by Neil deGrasse Tyson during a recent panel discussion at the Origins Symposium held by the Arizona State University. (see Science and Society Panel Discussion with Hugh Downs, Claudia Dreifus, Ann Druyan, Lucy Hawking and Neil deGrasse Tyson in conversation with Roger Bingham).
Here is what Tyson said about the scientific approach:
“Do whatever it takes to not fool yourself when trying to understand the world around you.”