The Scientific Enterprise

Test One, Let's get it!

Terms in this set (...)

Why Study Science?
1. Rational from Faith: To honor God's Plan
2. Rational from Society: To become more efficient and effective (successful)
3. Case for Scientific Literacy: to be a responsible citizen in our democrtic society
Rational from Faith: To honor God's plan
1. God imbued us with natural curiosity about the natural world (God's Creation)
2. God's gift of "intellect" enables us to act on our natural curiosity.
3. God has invited us to learn of his Creation and to use that knowledge.
4. God has invited us to better know Him through observation of the created world.
Science has also freed us from many pagan beliefs and reinforces our belief in a consistent, reliable Creator.
Rational from Society: To become more efficient (successful)
1. Business and Economics (science and technology are central to our society)
2. Recreational (better equipment and methods)
3. Military (better arms and defenses)
4. More leisure and higher standards of living
5. Longer and healthier lives.
Case for Scientific Literacy: To be a responsible citizen in our democratic society.
Scientific literacy
the knowledge and understanding of scientific concepts (knowledge of the physical world derived through the processes of sciences) and Processes (assumptions , methods and processes by which science progresses- the society enterprise of science)
knowledge of the physical world derived through the processes of science and societal enterprises.
assumptions, methods and processes by which science progresses- the societal enterprise of science
Three lines of arguments advocating scientific literacy for all citizens: Civics
1. Enables citizens of democratic society to responsibly and constructively participate in public discourse on issues confronting society that are informed by science (e.g. energy, climate change and biotechnology.)
2. Enables individuals to make reasonable decisions concerning their health and wealth (e.g. energy, climate change and biotechnology)
3. Scientific Literacy- the minimal matrix of scientific knowledge necessary to function as a responsible citizen in our society.
Three lines of arguments advocating for scientific literacy for all citizens: Aesthetics
Affords opportunity for deeper and more profound understanding and appreciation of Creation (and of the Creator).
Three lines of arguments advocating for scientific literacy for all citizens: Culture
Intellectual Interconnectedness
1. Historical Legacy
2 Interconnectedness of Children of God
Other arguments
Not wanting to be "duped" by claims of scientific authorities
Understand and be ale to explain and reasonably apply knowledge of the nature of science (presuppositions, characteristics, strengths, limits, and terms)
AAAS Science for all American's Cahpter 1 and PPT Slides
Presuppositions of the Scientific Worldview
1. The natural world is Understandable
2. Scientific knowledge is always Subject to Change
3. Scientific knowledge is Durable
4. Science is Restricted to questions about and evidence from the physical world: It cannot provide complete answers to all questions
1. The natural world is Understandable
1. Uniform and Universal (regular and predictable): the rules are the same everywhere and we see consistent patterns across:
1. space
2. time
3. scale
2. Knowledge acquired by studying one part of the natural world is applicable to the rest of the universe.
Scientific Knowledge is always Subject to Change
1. If warranted by new evidence or
2. If a new interpretation of the evidence (theory) provides better or expanded explanatory or predictive power).
3. Scientists must be open to new ideas.
Scientific Knowledge is Durable
1. the idea of absolute "truth" is not typically associated with science and that science acknowledges uncertainty in nature.
2. Nevertheless, most changes are modifications that extend or refine our ability to explain or make predictions. While absolute "truth" may be beyond our reach, we can make ever more accurate approximations of the natural world and how it works.

So, scientific knowledge is simultaneously reliable and subject to change
Science is Restricted to questions about and evidence from the physical world: It cannot provide complete answers to all questions.
1. Science is restricted to questions about and evidence from the physical world, so is unable to address questions about supernatural powers (God), the meaning and purpose of life and other matters of religious Faith
2. Science may contribute important ideas to, but is unable to speak directly to matters of morality, ethics, and aesthetics (abstract, value driven concepts that extend beyond the physical world).
3.However, it should be noted that the scientific enterprise embraces and reflects the moral and ethical values of the society within which it is practiced.
B. Characteristics of Scientific Inquiry
Science observes the natural world, describes what is observes, and then constructs theories that explain the working of the natural world and are used to make predictions about what will happen in future situations (explanatory and predictive power).
Characteristics of the methods and process of scientific inquiry include the following:
1. Evidence based (observations and measurements)
2. Logical Reasoning (induction, deduction, and analogy)
3. Objectivity (genuine effort to identify and avoid bias)
4. Creativity (creative inference)
5. Falsifiability (acceptable theories must be able to be proved false)
6. Not Authoritarian and Not Democratic
Evidence based
1.Axiomatic Beliefs
Senses proved accurate information about the natural world (qualify)
Instruments can extend our senses
Instruments can enable observations and measurements not attainable with our senses
2. Observations (sources of evidence) may be
Passive(observing geographic patterns of earthquakes)
Active (boring into ice sheets to collect ancient atmospheric samples or administering drug trials)
3. Constructive skepticism (always seeking confirmation, better or new evidence)
current knowledge, methods and theories
new methods and theories
Logical Reasoning (induction, deduction and analogy)
Analogy:Analogy is not a reliable form of reasoning.

Deduction: patterns of argument that reveal truth with certainty - secondary in science

Induction: inferences from observations in support of generalizations - primary in science
Objectivity (genuine effort to identify and avoid bias)
As a human enterprise there are influences on scientists:
Creativity (creative inference)
acceptable theories must be able to be proved false
Not Authoritarian and Not Democratic
1. Theories are judged by their results (explanatory and predictive power, ability of encompass a broad scope of physical phenomena, etc.)
2. the process of accepting new evidence can be very human (resistance to new ideas), bt in the end, evidence from nature is the final arbiter of all scientific questions and disputes.
C. Technology vs. Science
differentiate between science and technology and their interdependencies
1. Technology as applied science
2. Science advanced (led) by technological innovation
Enables observations beyond our senses
Enhances measurement
Extends information analysis and management
D. Methods of Scientific Inquiry
Appreciate the methods of scientific inquiry as the dominant methods of discovery and problem-solving embedded in modern society.
List, describe and be able to give examples of typical steps (understanding that there is no single process and the steps may vary significantly)
Be able to produce, analyze and apply scientific models and representations (including value of mathematical models/ representations) to enhance understanding and predictive power relative to the physical world.
Be able to describe how they would apply the scientific method to a given situation
Be able to distinguish between the reliability of scientific method to a given situation.
Be able to distinguish between the reliability of scientific method and other ways people may make decisions or solve problems (e.g., astrology, prayer, etc.)
Scientific Method Example
1. Make observation and develop a question
2. Develop an explanation (Hypothesis) for observation
3. Using hypothesis, make a Prediction regarding outcomes of other observations or experiments
4. Conduct Experiment to Test hypothesis.
5. Evaluate: Results consistent with prediction?
yes- conduct experiment to test hypothesis
no- reject hypothesis
6. Independent Peer review and replication
1. Distinguish methods (strategies) associated with questions amendable to experimentation from those with an historical orientation.
2. Recognize that ways in which controls may e managed, and those in which many observations in a variety of setting are required, as controls are not possible.
3. Methods in science may refer to the loose list of steps above, but may equally represent the shared values and accepted conventions by which we decide what evidence is acceptable and how data is to be statistically treated to derive meaningful interpretations--all the way to how scientific results and findings will be reported and vetted.
Initial description or explanation - to be tested
generalized principle or patterns noted in the physical world, often representing the relationships between related phenomena (e.g., Fga 1/r2 or in aclosed system, energy is conserved)
Explanations of the generalized principles or patterns associated with a law (e.g., gravitational force is due to curvature of the space-time continuum)
1. including tentative nature (as a strength, not a weakness of science)
2. Concept that theories must be testable and revocable
3. note: Theories to not become Laws over time. They are essentially different.
the assumption or belief that the methods of science can, in principle, yield exhaustive and ultimate knowledge about all of reality.
The Scientific Enterpirse
Be able to interpret the enterprise of science as a sociological phenomenon and to present realistic interpretations and inferences about scientific discourse in this context.
1. Kuhnian process for scientific progress
2. Social Conventions of Science and the Sociological Structure of Science
3. Implications
A. Kuhnian process for scientific progress
1. Paradigms (research traditions)
2. Normal Science (ideas are modified, refined, and extended rather than rejected)
3. Scientific Revolutions-On occasion, prevailing theories may be discarded if new evidence warrants a "Kuhnian" revolution. However, even in such instances, the previous scientific interpretation or understanding may become absorbed withing the previous
B. Social Conventions of Science and the Sociological Structure of Science
1. Ethics (e.g., informed concent, do no harm to subjects/environmental, integrity of evidence and reports, give credit where credit is due, acknowledge uncertainties/errors etc.)
2. The social structure of science (see homework assignment)
The social structure of science
1. Primary motivation is professional recognition (use of one's work)
2. Scientists trade credit (citations for using work of others) for support (they build their research on the results produced by others)
3. So, science is a balance of competition and cooperation
4. Fraud is so egregious because it effects the work of many
5. Allocation of resources occurs naturally, based upon opportunity for recognition.
6. openness (open exchange of ideas as been essential for the effectiveness of the enterprise-now threatened by commercial interests and patent law).
C. Implications
1. Timeframes and resistances associated with acceptance of new ideas.
2. Distinction between competing hypothesis stage and acceptance of a theory or new paradigm.
3. Advances in science as resulting from a community endeavor, rather than isolated acts of individual genius.
4. The methods and processes of science are not static, but rather evolve and change over time.
Strengths of Science
1. All scientific knowledge is tentative and open to revision (know why this is considered a strength)
2. Ultimate arbiter or scientific disputes is evidence from the natural world
3. self-correcting nature of science (if an error is made, ultimately the evidence or errors will be revealed in the rigorous process of peer review, replication of results and continuing work to extend and apply the knowledge/theory.
Limitations of Science
1. Questions concerning and evidence from the natural world (science cannot address questions concerning purpose, meaning of life or ultimate cause)
Be able to explain the theory of plate tectonics and to describe the scientific evidence that supports this theory.
Be able to describe (draw and label) the basic types of plate boundaries (including what is happening on the surface and below the surface of the earth)
Understand and be able to explain the mechanism responsible the mechanism responsible for moving tectonic plates.
Structure of the Earth
1. Physical differentiations of layers of the earth (inner core, outer core, mantle, etc.)
2. How we infer this structure (seismic waves +)
3. Tectonic Plates: oceanic and continental lithosphere
Mechanism (energy and force) for plate movement
1. Convection currents in mantel (may also note similar explanation for magnetic field of earth--convection currents in outer core or lower mantle)
2. Slab pull (at convergent boundaries)
preceding hypotheses
Current Plate Tectonic Theory
Divergent Plate Boundaries
As two plates pull away from each other, weakness in the crust results in formation of a rift, which is filled by upwelling magma from the mantle.
Convergent Plate Boundaries (process of subduction
Convergent Continent-Continent -plate boundaries form mountains

Convergent-Oceanic-continental plate collision. The denser oceanic floor (basalt crust) sinks under less dense (granitic crust) continent. As crustal material (and importantly water, as it facilitates the process), the heat and pressure partially melt the material forming magma. The magma being less dense rises through the mantle and crust to form volcanic, mountain building events. An example of this type of plate boundary is the west coast of South America (Andes Mountains, Peru-Chile trench).
Transverse Plate boundaries (San Andres Fault)
Transform-Fault Boundaries are where two plates are sliding horizontally past one another. These are also known as transform boundaries or more commonly as faults.
Patterns of volcanoes and earthquakes
reveal mid oceanic ridges and subduction boundaries (and hot spots--Hawaiian Islands)
Explanatory and predictive power in valuing scientific theory
Be able to explain why each of the statements below is a myth and does not represent a proper appreciation of scientific enterprise
view the study guide
Be able to assess a claim and to critically evaluate whether it presents a true scientific case by identifying which aspects of the claim represent valid scientific arguments and where the claim and supporting case fail to demonstrate proper scientific practice.
view study guide
Good Science
1. Logical and based upon empirical evidence, not just opinion
2. Clear references are given so you can verify data and claims
3. Information has been published (or references information published) in peer reviewed journals.
4. contrary information or other interpretations of the available evidence are reported and uncertainties and limitations of the researches are noted-not merely presentation material supporting the author's interpretation.
What is not known is identified.
Beware of...
1.confirmation Bias and Persistence of Beliefs
2. Over-simplification (failure to recognize and acknowledge that most issues involve multiple dimensions and nuanced interpretations)
3. Stakeholder bias (conscious and unconscious)
4. Arrogance of a closed mind
5. Causal v. coincidental relationships (patterns)
scientific literacy
-can ask, find, or determine answers to questions derived from curiosity about everyday experiences.
-can describe, explain, and predict natural phenomena.
is able to read with understanding articles about science in the popular press
-engage in social conversation about the validity of the conclusions.
can identify scientific issues underlying national and local decisions and express positions that are scientifically and technologically informed.
-should be able to evaluate the quality of scientific information on the basis of its source and the methods used to generate it.
has the capacity to pose and evaluate arguments based on evidence and to apply conclusions from such arguments appropriately.
What is science?
"Science is a careful, disciplined, logical search for knowledge about the natural world - obtained by examination of the best available evidence and always subject to correction and improvement upon discovery of better evidence."

"Science is not a collection of facts,
it is a way of thinking and a process by which we study the natural world.
... It builds not on beliefs, but on observation and creative ideas."
Analogy is not a reliable form of reasoning.
Birds have wings. Because they have wings, birds can fly. The Ostrich has wings. Therefore, the Ostrich can fly.
Obviously the answer is false. Reasoning by analogy alone is subject to erroneous conclusions.
Deduction is what is used in geometry and much of classical logic.
In deduction, the method of combining facts is such a way that compels acceptance of a conclusion. If the premises and facts are correct and if the deductive argument is available and sound, deductive reasoning would yield a sound conclusion.
Deductive argument is often mathematical. The mathematics may not be available - e.g., many scientific proofs have awaited discovery of the mathematics to make the deductive argument (e.g., calculus). Deduction also used in science, especially in physics.
Example of deductive reasoning in science is Einstein's theories of relativity. Galileo also used deductive reasoning when he observed how friction affected motion and extrapolated to what would happen if there were no frictional affects.
All humans that ever lived are either alive or dead. Jeff is a human and is not dead. Therefore, Jeff is alive.
Everything made of copper conducts electricity. (Premise). This wire is made of copper. (Premise). This wire will conduct electricity. (Conclusion)
Induction is the primary logical process used in science.
Observe repeated examples of a phenomena and generalize to the conclusion that...the same cause will always lead to the same effect.
Iron, copper, aluminum, alcohol, oil, and air all expand when heated; therefore...we reason all substances expand when heated
The more instances of the phenomena observed with the same result and no counter results...the greater our confidence in our generalization.
Note: Induction can lead to wrong conclusion: water between 0-4oC shrinks - thankfully.
Can you determine what will happen if I bounce the ball? Drop happy (elastic ball) several times from the same height. While repeating the bounce, ask students to predict what will happen next time, commenting that our confidence in predicting what will happen increases as more instances are observed. Then secretly switch balls. When you drop the sad (inelastic) ball, it will not drop. This makes the point that no matter how many instances of a phenomena you observe, you can never predict with complete confidence what will happen next time (can not prove it). However, it only takes one legitimate (and our demo was not legitimate) counterexample to disprove a hypothesis).
Induction is most abundant in science. It is a powerful way to discover patterns and relationships in the natural world. Yet, it can never prove anything, as one counterexample negates the generalization. This is the primary reason science is considered UNDER-DETERMINED.