Astronomy the process of science
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Astronomy & the Process of Science. What makes something scientific? What makes Astronomy a science? Why is Astrology not science?. Final Exam Essay Question!. How does the process of science work? What are its typical steps? 

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Astronomy & the Process of Science

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Astronomy the process of science

Astronomy & the Process of Science

What makes something scientific?

What makes Astronomy a science?

Why is Astrology not science?


Final exam essay question

Final Exam Essay Question!

  • How does the process of science work?

  • What are its typical steps? 

  • Illustrate your answer with multiple astronomical examples of good science from the class.


Science

Science?

  • Finding out about Nature…

  • NOT always right, sure, certainty!

  • More often? Confused! Wrong!

    Richard Feynman


Hallmarks of science

Hallmarks of Science

  • Seek explanations from natural causes

    • Not “super-natural”

    • example:You hear a sound at night in the house…


Hallmarks of science1

Hallmarks of Science

  • Seek explanations from natural causes

    • Not “super-natural”

    • example:You hear a sound at night in the house…

      • supernatural causes: ghosts!


Hallmarks of science2

Hallmarks of Science


Hallmarks of science3

Hallmarks of Science

  • Seek explanations from natural causes

    • Not “super-natural”

    • example:You hear a sound at night in the house…

      • natural causes: earthquake, mice, pets, children, house settling, sonic boom, thunder


Hallmarks of science4

Hallmarks of Science

  • Seek explanations from natural causes

    • “Nature is full of infinite causes that have never occurred in experience.”

      - Leonardo da Vinci


Hallmarks of science5

Hallmarks of Science

  • Progresses through creation & testing of models of nature that explain observations as simply as possible.

    • If it was a storm, do you see lightning?

    • If it was an earthquake, can you check news for seismic activity?


Hallmarks of science6

Hallmarks of Science

  • Makes testable predictions

    and…

  • Revises or abandons models if predictions don’t agree with observations. (cf. nature of science)


The process of science

The process of science…

  • Observe “things” in nature

  • Ask Questions

  • Create Explanations

  • Develop Testable Hypotheses

  • Do the Experiment

  • Analyze results, anticipate errors

  • Draw Conclusions

  • Share with others for independent confirmation

    • Patterns (seasons repeat every year)

    • Motions (planets move across the sky)

    • Events (eclipses!)

    • What isn’t there! (feeling like we are moving)


The process of science1

The process of science…

  • Observe“things” in nature

    • Patterns (seasons repeat every year)

    • Motions (planets move across the sky)

    • Events (eclipses!)

    • What isn’t there! (feeling like we are moving)


The process of science2

The process of science…

Ask Questionsabout what you observed

  • What? When? Where? How? … and WHY?

  • Research prior explanations & models

  • Requires imagination to tell what is important


The process of science3

The process of science…

  • Create Explanations(theories) that account for what you have observed

    • These should be consistent with what is already known

    • Use these to predict additional observations, patterns, events, trends


The process of science4

The process of science…

Develop TESTABLE hypotheses

  • An “Educated Guess”

  • With a specific, narrow focus

  • Do the experiment

    • Feynman: Science ishow not to be fooled….


  • The process of science5

    The process of science…

    • AnalyzeExperimental Results

      • Most likely result: you can’t tell for certain if your hypothesis was right!

      • Next most likely: hypothesis is wrong!

      • And if you are right…?

        .


    The process of science6

    The process of science…

    • Why aren’t you certain??

      • Always uncertainty in every measurement, and in every result.

      • Experiment itself might not be able to tell.


    The process of science7

    The process of science…

    • Develop Conclusionsbased on data

      • Anticipate sources of error

      • Refine or Discard Hypothesis

      • Develop further tests & Repeat!

      • Compare results w/ existing theories


    The process of science8

    The process of science…

    • Share preliminary results

      • Submit a paper to peer-reviewed journal

      • Ask colleagues for input

      • Present at conferences

      • Discuss, Debate, Defend results

      • ARGUE


    The process of science9

    The process of science…

    • Seek independent confirmationthen…

    • Revise Theories

    • Do new experiments

    • Develop new techniques, equipment,

    • Publish again


    The process of science10

    The process of science…

    • Astrology:Personalities and actions of people can be studied, and similarities between people can be identified.

      The Sun, Moon, Planets & stars and their alignments and aspects are responsible.


    Astrology

    Astrology

    Consider your sunsign…


    Ok so why isn t astrology a science

    OK, so why isn’t Astrology a “science”???

    • Doesn’t astrology follow that process of science?

      • Observe behavior trends

      • Categorize into “signs”

      • Create a theory – the planets and stars are responsible

      • Test – read your horoscope! “That’s ME!!”

      • Publish


    Ok so why isn t astrology a science1

    OK, so why isn’t Astrology a “science”???

    • Consider the following:

      “I’m an Aries. My astrological sign fits me perfectly. My horoscope today said that I would have a great day today and meet a stranger, and I did! It was 100% right.”

      From this one instance, could you predict that on the next day it will also be right?


    Ok so why isn t astrology a science2

    OK, so why isn’t Astrology a “science”???

    • No…. You cannot make a valid conclusion from one instance where a theorydoes coincide with a prediction.

    • Science demands continual testing…

    • And science requires that if the prediction DOESN’T match the result even once, the theory must be modified!


    Ok so why isn t astrology a science3

    OK, so why isn’t Astrology a “science”???

    • But what about this person? Astrology worked, didn’t it?

    • Doesn’t that count for something?

    “I’m an Aries. My astrological sign fits me perfectly. My horoscope today said that I would have a great day today and meet a stranger, and I did! It was 100% right.”


    Ok so why isn t astrology a science4

    OK, so why isn’t Astrology a “science”???

    “I’m an Aries. My astrological sig fits me perfectly. My horoscope today said that I would have a great day today and meet a stranger, and I did! It was 100% right.”

    • In science, you must look for OTHER possible causes before you decide one particular theory is responsible!

    • Coincidence *does not mean* causality


    Ok so why isn t astrology a science5

    OK, so why isn’t Astrology a “science”???

    “I’m an Aries. My astrological sig fits me perfectly. My horoscope today said that I would have a great day today and meet a stranger, and I did! It was 100% right.”

    • Other possibilities?

      • Did every horoscope match “perfectly”?

      • Did everything go “great” or just what you chose to remember?

      • Do you ever meet strangers on days when your horoscope doesn’t say you would?


    Ok so why isn t astrology a science6

    OK, so why isn’t Astrology a “science”???

    “I’m an Aries. My astrological sig fits me perfectly. My horoscope today said that I would have a great day today and meet a stranger, and I did! It was 100% right.”

    • Other possibilities?

      • Did everyone born on the same day have the same results?

      • Could your belief *bias* you to see what you expect to see?


    Examining astrology scientifically

    Examining Astrology Scientifically

    • Astrology maintains:a) Personalities and actions of people can be studied, and similarities between people can be identified.

      b) The planets and stars are responsible.


    Examining astrology scientifically1

    Examining Astrology Scientifically

    • Astrology:Personalities and actions of people can be studied, and similarities between people can be identified.

      The planets and stars are responsible.

    • The first part can be true! Psychology!

    • The second part is not.


    The process of science11

    The process of science…

    • Consider the following…“The planet is getting warmer and warmer.Nature (volcanoes, the sun, cosmic rays) is responsible, not people.”

    • The first part can be true.

    • The second part mightnot be entirely true!


    Summary process of science

    Summary: Process of Science…

    • observationof data, developing questions about trends, differences, & unique occurrences seen

    • researchinto previous work on similar questions

    • building models &creating testable hypotheses

    • designing, & gathering new data through,experiments

    • testing & refining the models based on theanalysisof new data collected


    Summary process of science1

    Summary: Process of Science…

    • modifying or discardingincorrect hypotheses

    • developing interconnected hypotheses intotheories

    • sharingresults with peers forindependentevaluation and testing

    • publishingfindings in peer-reviewed journals so that the community of science can advance.


    Science or non science

    Science or Non-Science?

    • Could these be evaluated scientifically?

      • The Yankees are the best baseball team of all time.

      • Several kilometers below its surface, Jupiter’s moon Europa has an ocean of liquid water

      • My house is haunted by ghosts who make creaking noises I hear every night.

      • Dogs are smarter than cats.


    Science or non science1

    Science or Non-Science?

    • Could these be evaluated scientifically?

      • There is no liquid water on the surface of Mars today.

      • Children born when Jupiter is in front of Taurus are more likely to be musicians than other children.

      • Aliens can manipulate time so that they can abduct people and perform experiments on them without people every realizing they were taken.


    Science or non science2

    Science or Non-Science?

    • Could these be evaluated scientifically?

      • Newton’s law of gravity works as well for explaining orbits of planets around other stars as it does for planets in our own solar system.

      • God created the laws of motion that were discovered by Newton.

      • A huge fleet of alien spacecraft will land on Earth on January 1, 2020.


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