150Lec1-2 - Lecture#1 Science and the Scientific Method...

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Lecture #1: Science and the Scientific Method Know the meanings of the bolded terms in these notes! What is Science ? Throughout this semester, we will discuss the science of earthquakes and volcanoes. In order to really appreciate scientific studies of earthquakes and volcanoes, we need to discuss the nature and limitations of science. Geology, chemistry, physics, astronomy, and biology are sciences. Science is the study of nature - its properties, how it works, how it might work in the future, and what's happened to the Earth and the rest of the Universe in the past. Science deals with deciphering unwitnessed events in the past, recording present events and forecasting future events, such as volcanic eruptions, tomorrow's weather, and potential damage from severe earthquakes. Science states that the physical characteristics of nature may be studied, understood, and even predicted. Science Deals with Events in the Past, Present, and Future: Examples: The use of forensic science and geology to decipher past unwitnessed events. A forensic scientist at the scene of a murder: Dating an ancient volcanic eruption: 1
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According to science, the physical world may be readily explained by understanding natural physical, biological and chemical processes. For example, throughout this semester, we will explain volcanic eruptions and earthquakes with plate tectonics, stress and strain on rocks, massive melting of rocks, etc. That is, science relies on natural explanations rather than miracles to explain nature. At the same time, science simply CANNOT determine if miracles or other supernatural events exist or not. Science also cannot prove or disprove the existence of God. Science is also very limited on many other topics. Science cannot tell us what is right or wrong, beautiful or ugly, or good or evil. Religion, philosophy, and the arts deal with these crucial questions. Science is a way of learning about nature, the physical Universe. It is more than books of facts. It's a method of exploration that is based on human curiosity. Unlike some other areas of learning and knowledge, science frequently changes as new information comes forward. While religious commandments often stay constant for thousands of years, scientists' views of the world change over time. In some cases, monumental scientific discoveries, especially those from the space program or deep-sea exploration, may cause scientific ideas to change literally over night. While Shakespeare is still appreciated after 400 years, scientific literature may become grossly outdated in only a few years. Art, literature, and music are usually subjective , which means that they are determined or appreciated by each individual's feelings and tastes. Subjective views are based on opinions. For example, one person may like a painting, statue, novel, or a song, while another individual may dislike them. Because art and music are subjective, it is very difficult to define or "measure" what are good or bad art, literature, and music. Artists,
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150Lec1-2 - Lecture#1 Science and the Scientific Method...

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