ASTR100_NOTES_WEEK1

ASTR100_NOTES_WEEK1 - ASTR-100Lxg |Lec.1| Why Study...

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ASTR-100Lxg |Lec.1| Why Study Astronomy? 2/3/09 1:42 PM Nicholas Warner Email: [email protected] Office Hours: Thad – Mondays @ 6p.m. in Lab Broad philosophy and motivation behind study of Astronomy Philosophical Values: Why study Astronomy? Tired Old Reasons: 1. Navigational purposes (19 th century) 2. Calendar and timekeeping (0 th – 18 th centuries) People: · Roger Bacon: (12 th century Franciscan Mark) Sent a great proposal (Opus Majus ) to Pope Clement IV o Plea to improve training for missionaries and to provide new skills to be employed in the defense of the Christian world against the enmity [state of hostility] of non-Christians and of the Antichrist. Question: Why study a “basic science”? 1. Basic = curiosity driven Answer: 1. Curiosity is a good thing · Application sciences are useful, but useful valuable. 2. Cultural Reasons: · You personally · Cultures in general (Warner says that, like fire, astronomy is an essential culturally-driven discipline). 3. Astronomy is the ultimate history lesson: · Universe to all sentient creatures · Vehicle for teaching things o Astronomy is interesting
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o Learn culture of science and how scientists work and express ideas o Break the mold of formulaic “high school” thinking 4. Serendipity: · e.g. Michael Faraday (1791 – 1867): Founder of modern day electromagnetism. · e.g. Sildenafil citrate (Viagra): Being studied to cure angina (blood flow to heart problem) Scientific Truth and Certainty: · Fundamentally misunderstood · Critical part of interpreting and using scientific advice. · Public policy, health, law Two Modern Examples: 1. September 26 th 2005: Dover PA · Kitzmiller vs. Dover Area School District · Judge: John E. Jones presiding · Issue: Teaching ID in a science class in parallel to evolution. 2. August 2 nd , 2005: · President Bush said, “maybe don’t teach ID, but teach the controversy between ID and Evolution.” 2. August 1999: Kansas Board of Education requires teaching of creationism alongside evolution. · From board member – “Evolution is only a theory” Intelligent Design: · Idea goes back to the Plato watchmaker analysis. o See a watch lying in a field and infer that because it is so complex that it is made by an intelligent designer. o William Paley, 1802 Only makes sense to teach controversy when 2 competing theories are about equal. In science, some theories are vastly greater than others. Examples put forward for ID things: eye, Banana = a lot of scientific work (that evolutionary pathways better explain) Comment: how to recognize a designed thing is never addressed, and any
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theory must be testable and falsifiable. To be a scientist you must define your own terms. SEE POWERPOINT The Scientific Process: · Science cannot prove perfect “truth.” o Problem of Induction David Hume · Answer to David Hume: Karl Popper (1902-1994) o Popper says: David Hume is right, but misses the point.
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