A phenomenon is "serious" when it accepts an interrogative word and can render a logical answer to the designed question.
A serious phenomenon like a kitchen sponge absorbs reasonable questions and, by pressing it, sheds rational answers.
Science and scientific methods are those pressures that a serious phenomenon requires.
Additional information from the same volume and page:
If we can put a question word —like "what, which, when, where, why, and how"— on a phenomenon and design a reasonable question, we have taken the first step to seriousizing the subject. The next step is to answer the question in the same framework that we designed it.
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