Lecture 2 - Notes Lecture 2 Geosciences040 Arthur/Marone...

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Notes: Lecture 2, Geosciences040 Arthur/Marone, Fall, 2005 (Sept. 1, 2005) Copyright Pennsylvania State University HOW DO WE DEVELOP MODELS AS TO HOW THE EARTH WORKS? For example, how do we go from maps of features on the seafloor to detailed understanding of the processes that created the features? Because we will be discussing scientific principles, we need to appreciate how we arrive at the conclusions we do, and how "cast in stone" these conclusions are. The "scientific method" takes us down that road Belief-based vs. empirical approaches to knowledge. Distinguish between "faith" or "belief" and "observable nature" ¥In faith-based systems: "Truth" is based on authority (of texts, self- proclaimed or selected leaders, legends, etc.) and is generally inviolable (can it be questioned?). ¥In science: "Truth" is based on application of a standardized method and repeated tests to confirm a result, and is subject to change as new methods are developed and new results discovered (can it be questioned?). Although Darwin's "The Origin of Species" is based on an authoritative text, it does represent careful logic, reasoning and the application of the scientific method. THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD First, some definitions: Fact: observation repeatedly confirmed Hypothesis: testable statement about natural world (a working model) Law: generalization of how some aspect of the natural world behaves under stated circumstances (e.g., closed system) Theory: well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world that can incorporate
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This note was uploaded on 03/30/2008 for the course GEOSC 040 taught by Professor Arthur during the Fall '08 term at Penn State.

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Lecture 2 - Notes Lecture 2 Geosciences040 Arthur/Marone...

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