2005_campbl01b - Chapter 1b Exploring Life(section 1.5...

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Chapter 1b: Exploring Life (section 1.5)
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Important Point:
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What is Science? "...science is simply common sense at its best; that is, rigidly accurate in observation and merciless to fallacy in logic." Thomas Henry Huxley, 1880 "Scientists are critical realists.” John Polkinghorne "Science is properly described as ‘organized skepticism,’ a realm in which nothing is to be accepted without question.” Philip W. Anderson …nevertheless, and probably quite accurately, Margaret Wertheim replies with: "Science has always had a huge component of faith." This latter statement reflects the idea that ultimately not everything (nothing?) can be proven to 100% confidence; A good scientist nevertheless allows that even those things she accepts on faith could very well be incorrect
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Science, A Few More Ideas "…scientists are not a select few intelligent enough to think in terms of ‘broad sweeping theoretical laws and principles.’ Instead, scientists are people specifically trained to build models that incorporate theoretical assumptions and empirical evidence. Working with models is essential to the performance of their daily work; it allows them to construct arguments and to collect data." Peter Imhof "Science is [best] understood by observing it than by trying to create a precise definition. The word science is derived from a Latin verb meaning ‘to know.’ Science is a way of knowing. It emerges from our curiosity about ourselves, the world, and the universe. Striving to understand seems to be one of our basic drives. At the heart of science are people asking questions about nature and believing that those questions are answerable." your text (older edition) “At the heart of science is Inquiry , a search for information and explanation, often focusing on specific questions.” Campbell and Reece (2005, p. 19)
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A Scientific Model Models are abstract representations of ideas; they can be visual, mathematical, experimental, etc., but are always simpler than the they system they are purporting to model
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Doing Science Doing science involves: Asking good questions Coming up with good, plausible answers (a.k.a., hypotheses) Testing these hypotheses robustly, unambiguously, and honestly (the latter from the point of view of both yourself and that of others) "Science is a creative human endeavor that involves asking questions, making observations, developing explanatory hypotheses, and testing those hypotheses.“ your lab text It is "important for you to learn, by example and by practice, how the process of science works." your text "Anyone going into biology expecting to find the sorts of exceptionless laws that characterize physics will be sorely disappointed." Ernst Mayr
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Doing Science
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Time-Wasting Avoidance Science is a means of timing-wasting avoidance Doing science poorly (or not doing science at all) results in failing to answer questions efficiently Doing science poorly can result in wasting other’s time (with poorly thought out hypotheses or results)
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