Unformatted text preview: What is a..... a... SCIENCE and SCIENTIFIC METHOD
Making sense of the natural world FACT Something believed to be true through observation and measurement HYPOTHESIS Educated guess or working assumption about something. Only useful if testable THEORY In "science", conceptual framework science" based on many observations, used to explain observations and predict new ones. Scientific Method
Recognize question Develop "testable" hypothesis (educated guess) testable" Design and perform experiments to gather data, testing the hypothesis Analyze and interpret results. Was hypothesis supported? Both YES and NO answers useful. Share/Use the knowledge (PUBLICATION) Based on results, recognize more questions Sharing results (publication), allows everyone to "check up" on each other (keeps everyone up" honest...usually) honest... Science - NOT collection of facts Major Characteristics of Scientific Method
1) Unbiased (at least it's supposed to be) it' 2) Typically quantitative but can be qualitative 3) Uses proper experimental design to test hypotheses 5) Statistics used to analyze data, 95% usually sufficient to convince, 99% is better 6) Replication, replication, replication 7) Peer review before publication 8) Publication allows testing and critique from others Science is... is... A METHOD for understanding the natural world in an unbiased way 1 Unfortunately, much research is biased Government and Industry manipulate scientific data... ALL THE TIME
See PDF's 1- Bush Administration manipulates reports 2- Government misuses scientific data 3- Dubya manipulates climate reports 4- Report on state of oceans manipulated General comments regarding scientific method and "thinking scientifically" Ockham's (Occam's) Razor:
"Simple explanations are preferred to complex ones" William of Ockham (ca. 1285 -1349): 1349): Franciscan friar and a medieval English Franciscan philosopher. Most influential philosopher philosopher. of the 14th century Albert Einstein: "Theories should be as simple as possible, but no simpler." 2 TELEOLOGY:
Greek telos, "end or purpose" logos, "study of" TELEOLOGY:
Aristotle was prime exponent of teleological thought Explains nature based on design or purpose For example.... Why are flower petals colorful? Answer... Answer...
Teleological (implies purpose):
1) In order to attract pollinating insects 2) For humans to enjoy them 3) So that hummingbirds can find them TELEOLOGY:
Conflicts with scientific method and scientific way of thinking because it offers no helpful insights into how things work or how things got that way Non-teleological (mechanistic): Non1) Because they contain compounds that absorb certain wavelengths of light and reflect others 2) Because natural selection has resulted in plants with those petal colors OK, students.....let's think up some students... ..let' questions about nature... nature... why this or why that.... that...
For each question, let's come up with... let' with... 1) Teleological answer 2) Non-teleological answer Non- Can science "PROVE" anything? PROVE" Is PROOF a good word to use? NO!!! 3 But the "scientific method" is the best method humans have developed to "try" to understand the natural world. For example: Can we prove the following?? a) Do unicorns exist? b) Is the pesticide DDT safe? c) Did humans cause the ozone hole? d) Have human activities increased global warming? e) Are we really here? Some things are easier than others... but in others... science there are only varying degrees of certainty and uncertainty. Who knows, perhaps future data will require a revision of current scientific hypotheses and theories. What does reality mean?
Read this 1-page article Online on Blackboard If a tree falls in the forest.... Phantom pain I think therefore I am 4 ...
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- Spring '08
- Bush administration, Ockham, Dubya