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GE CLST M1A lecture - 10/1-Science is a particular way of...

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10/1 -Science is a particular way of thinking about the world. -Scientific method: open to disproof always, hypotheses, inductive reasoning: observations to generalizations -Other ways to think about the world: moral, aesthetic, etc. -Scientific method outline: observations of nature to inferences to hypothesis (testable) to design test to data collection to reject hypothesis? If yes, go back up to making inferences again (some serendipity or creative intuition may be used). If no, design more tests. -hypotheses are repeatedly tested by different scientists -establish a consensus that is widely accepted -hypothesis: If…, then…: an educated guess. -dependent variable = score -independent variable = thing you change -well-designed experiment is one in which variables are controlled Enter away message text here. -hypothesis can be disproved but never proven, usually fairly narrow in scope -theory = model that offers a broad, fundamental explanation of many observations -usually based on a collection of tested hypotheses -deals with how and or why something happens -not just “conjecture”, rather a great achievement -model = collection of many inferences to explain observations -almost always computer based -law = simple empirical statement that summarizes things as they are and allows you to predict -do not explain why things happen (ex. gravity laws) -fact = inference of theory that has stood up to tremendous amounts of testing -truth = cannot prove scientific ideas by deductive reasoning -Thomas Kuhn – The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. “Paradigm shifts” are hot science progresses -theories and inferences large and small progress in fits and starts -suddenly everyone accepts new theories as the truth -Nicolas Copernicus – made celestial observations -published ideas in 1530 – earth rotated on axis once daily, earth traveled around sun once yearly -conflicted with Ptolomy’s observations and Bible -Galileo invented telescope, looked closely at planets confirming theories -Pope initially supported Galileo, inquisition forces Galileo to renounce his book – he didn’t -Scientific consensus reached by 1700, eventually Catholic church accepted it -Science is a process – continuous refinement of understanding rather than definitive proof, we never assume we know all there is to know.
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-There will always be a level of uncertainty, nature contains real variability (ex. different DNA in population) -generally people discount uncertainty -uncertainty is sometimes used to discount scientific conclusions (ex. Global warming, “scientists don’t know.”) -Environmental science -broad discipline that tries to explain: -how life on earth is sustained, what leads to environmental problems, how those problems can be solved -combines many other disciplines -young science, originated in the late 1960s -challenges: -nature is complicated -range of scales often enormous (time, space) -difficult or impossible to conduct controlled experiments -population problem -human population size causes problems, as does rate of resource consumption
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