Lecture+3 - Where we are A closer look at some basic...

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Where we are What science is: the big picture A closer look at some basic scientific principles The scientific process
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Outline _____________________________ What’s so special about science? Science vs. pseudoscience The nature of evidence and explanations The limits of science Why it all matters
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What’s so special about science? To the extent that objective truth is knowable, science is the best way we have to know it.
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Two kinds of questions Those can be answered objectively (e.g., is the earth flat or round? Is the earth 10,000 years old, or 5 billion years old?) Those can only be answered subjectively (e.g., does red wine taste good? How much sugar should you put in your coffee?)
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Two kinds of questions Those can be answered objectively Some answers will be right and some will be wrong . Science is the best way to decide. But there’s an important catch …
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Here’s the catch … And sometimes some of us may not like the answers … Science cares about the world the way it is ; and not the way we want it to be …
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Divisive issues Certain scientific conclusions can be very divisive … Even and in the 21 st century and in the most technologically advanced nation on the planet …
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Creationism vs. Evolution _____________________________
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Interesting material _____________________________
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War of the fish
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Mocking scientists
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Science or pseudoscience? How do we decide what counts as legitimate science and what counts as pseudoscience? Fortunately, there are objective criteria that we can use to decide …
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Science or pseudoscience? Look into the credentials of the individual(s) making the claim(s) If the individuals are not trained scientists, be very skeptical (unless the claims are trivial, of course) If the individuals are trained scientists, still be skeptical Look into who is funding their work
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Science or pseudoscience? Look at the nature of the evidence presented to support the claims Has the evidence been published? How much is there? If so, has it been published in peer-reviewed journals? Have the phenomena been replicated? The more astonishing the claims, the more evidence you should require
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Science or pseudoscience? What is the opinion of the scientific community on that particular issue? Is there a debate within the scientific community? (e.g. Darwin in the early days) Look into statements issued by national academies, or international consortiums of scientists Do not let your emotions, or wishes get in the way
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Science or pseudoscience? Why trust science, scientists, and the scientific community when it comes to understanding the world?
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Science or pseudoscience? What if scientific opinion happens to be wrong?
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