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Bio171-F10-Lec 2 - Biology 171 Friday Lecture 2 Overview of...

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Lecture 2: Overview of Biodiversity & Ecology Biology 171 Friday, September 10, 2010 Lecture 1 (concluded) Characteristics of Life Emergent Properties of Biology Saliency of Ecology and Evolution (why it matters) Overview of Biodiversity Overview of Ecology Today’s Topics: Announcements Next Week in Discussion: What is Life? Text Reading: Lecture 2: 4 th ed: Chapters 1 (5-8), 50 (993-995) 3 rd ed: Chapters 1 (6-10), 29 (594), 50 (1125-1127) Lecture 3 : 4 th ed: Chapters 41 (811-814), 44 (861-877) 3 rd ed: Chapters 41 (921-926), 44 (978-997)
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“Science*” is a formal method of generating new knowledge that aims to build a supportable, evidence-based understanding of our natural world ( i.e. , the universe) - how does nature work? *Derived from the Latin scientia (knowledge) What is Science? Biology is the scientific study of life.
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However, all scientific theories, even the most accepted, are open to revision in light of new discoveries - e.g., Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity has superseded Newton’s Theory of Gravitation at very large and very small scales. Unlike a mathematical proof, a scientific theory is always open to falsification if new evidence is presented. The word “proof” should not be used for scientific theories. Scientists never claim absolute knowledge. Until the Industrial Revolution, science was a topic of intellectual curiosity and had little impact on everyday life. Why should we care about Science?
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Reason # 1 A continuous flood of new scientific knowledge, applied through modern technology, increasingly touches on all aspects of our lives.
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Reason # 2 Science is by nature amoral - scientific knowledge can be applied for morally good or morally bad purposes. Morality is beyond the purview of science. 1954 Jonas Salk invents the polio vaccine 1952 Invention of the Hydrogen bomb
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Limitations of Science Many complex questions cannot be studied using classic scientific methodology: Global Climate Change. Control Planet? Treatment Planet? Requires qualitatively different approaches using empirical data to generate sophisticated simulation models in order to predict likely outcomes
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Limitations of Science Henri Rousseau, Tropical Forest with Monkeys, 1910 Some scientific studies are poorly done and have low explanatory power. This can produce widely conflicting claims that can be difficult to resolve.
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Comparison of the Atkins, Ornish, Weight Watchers, and Zone Diets for Weight Loss and Heart Disease Risk Reduction JAMA. 2005;293:43-53. Objective To assess adherence rates and the effectiveness of 4 popular diets (Atkins, Zone, Weight Watchers, and Ornish) for weight loss and cardiac risk factor reduction. Intervention A total of 160 participants were randomly assigned to either Atkins (carbohydrate restriction, n=40), Zone (macronutrient balance, n=40), Weight Watchers (calorie restriction, n=40), or Ornish (fat restriction, n=40) diet groups. After 2 months of maximum effort, participants selected their own levels of dietary adherence.
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