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Science 110 Introduction to Scientific Thought Spring 2012.
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My heart leaps up when I beholdA Rainbow in the sky:So was it when my life began;So is it now I am a man;So be it when I shall grow old,Or let me die!The Child is father of the man;And I could wish my days to beBound each to each by natural pietyby William Wordsworth
Flower in the crannied wall,I pluck you out the crannies,I hold you here, root and all, in my hand,Little flower – but ‘if’ I could understandWhat you are, root and all, and all in all,I should know what God and man is.Alfred, Lord Tennyson
COURSE OBJECTIVES:1. Acquiring critical thinking skills.Critical thinking is deciding rationally what to or what not to believe2. Comprehending how scientists discover basic laws of nature.3. Obtaining knowledge of the history and philosophy of science.The Philosophy of Science is concerned with science - specifically, how science operates, what the goals of science should be, what relationship science should have with the rest of society, the differences between science and other activities, etc. Everything that happens in science has some relationship with the Philosophy of Science.4. Gaining ability to distinguish real science from pseudo-sciences.Pseudoscience begins with a hypothesis then looks only for items which appear to support it. Generally speaking, the aim of pseudoscience is to rationalize strongly held beliefs, rather than to investigate or to test alternative possibilities. Pseudoscience specializes in jumping to "congenial conclusions," grinding ideological axes, appealing to preconceived ideas and to widespread misunderstandings.5. Adding skepticism to your intellectual kit.6. Increasing social/ethical awareness about issues raised by science.
Science employs the scientific method. No, there's no such method: Doing science is not like baking a cake. Science can be proved on the basis of observable data. No, general theories about the natural world can't be proved at all. Our theories make claims that go beyond the finite amount of data that we've collected. There's no way such extrapolations from the evidence can be proved to be correct. Science can be disproved, or falsified, on the basis of observable data. No, for it's always possible to protect a theory from an apparently confuting observation. Theories are never tested in isolation but only in conjunction with many other extra-theoretical assumptions (about the equipment being used, about ambient conditions, about experimenter error, etc.). It's always possible to lay the blame for the confutation at the door of one of these assumptions, thereby leaving one's theory in the clear. And so forth.
The nature of Evidence. What is the relationship between observation and hypothesis? History of Science
What is science? Is there such a thing as science?
The Art of Observation – Optical Illusions, Modern Art and Gestalt Formation Philosophical foundations of science Good Science, Bad Science and Pseudo-Science Great Ideas in Science Alternative medicine, medical quackery, and hoaxes Scientific literacy The Precautionary Principle Religion and Science Ethics and science- Tolerance and intolerance Observation – art and illusions Technology - applied scienceLimitation of Science
Test YourScientific Literacy1. Scientists usually expect an experiment to turn out a certain way.2. Science only produces tentative conclusions that can change.3. Science has one uniform way of conducting research called “the scientific method.”4. Scientific theories are explanations and not facts.5. When being scientific one must have faith only in what is justified by empirical evidence.6. Science is just about the facts, not human interpretations of them.7. To be scientific one must conduct experiments.8. Scientific theories only change when new information becomes available.9. Scientists manipulate their experiments to produce particular results.10. Science proves facts true in a way that is definitive and final.11. An experiment can prove a theory true.12. Science is partly based on beliefs, assumptions, and the non-observable.13. Imagination and creativity are used in all stages of scientific investigations.14. Scientific theories are just ideas about how something works.15. A scientific law is a theory that has been extensively and thoroughly confirmed.16. Scientists’ education, background, opinions, disciplinary focus, and basic guiding assumptions and philosophies influence their perception and interpretation of the available data.17. A scientific law will not change because it has been proven true.18. A scientific law describes relationships among observable phenomena but does not explain them.19. Scientists invent explanations, models or theoretical entities.20. Scientists construct theories to guide further research.21. Scientists accept the existence of theoretical entities that have never been directly observed.22. Scientific laws are absolute or certain.
A new study suggests a parasite found in cats may affect human behavior and, ultimately, the psychological makeup of human socieies. A common cat parasite that infects humans may be linked to male dominance and the makeup of cultures, a researcher's study suggests.
Shroud of Turin an Illustrates of the Conflict Between Belief and SkepticismThe Shroud of Turin is a centuries old linen cloth that bears the image of a crucified man. A man that millions believe to be Jesus of Nazareth. Is it really the cloth that wrapped his crucified body, or is it simply a medieval forgery, a hoax perpetrated by some clever artist? Modern science has completed hundreds of thousands of hours of detailed study and intense research on the Shroud. It is, in fact, the single most studied artifact in human history, and we know more about it today than we ever have before. And yet, the controversy still rages.
"A medieval technique helped us to make a Shroud," Science & Vie (Science and Life) said in its July issue. The Shroud is claimed by its defenders to be the cloth in which the body of
Tests in 1988 concluded the cloth was a medieval "hoax”
The Shroud of Turin is much older than suggested by radiocarbon dating carried out in the 1980s, according to a new study in a peer-reviewed journal. A research paper published in Thermochimica Acta suggests the shroud is between 1,300 and 3,000 years old.The author dismisses 1988 carbon-14 dating tests which concluded that the linen sheet was a medieval fake.