BSC 107 Human Biology Chapter 1
Epistemological Cycle(epist = gr. Knowledge or to understand) Hypothesis Make Prediction question Experiment Conclusion Observation (Gather Data) (Make a decision) Accept or Reject Hypothesis Results
Hypothesis • A suggested explanation (of something you observed) that can be tested • It must be observable, testable, and repeatable
Experiment • Design an experiment to test your hypothesis • Different variables are manipulated • Change 1 variable at a time • As you change variables, you record the observations (i.e., any changes that occur) • These are your data - Data (plural); datum (singular)
Data • Must be objective i.e., something that can be quantified or verified • Cannot be subjective i.e., Moral judgements, religious concepts, judgement calls
Conclusion • Make a decision to accept or reject your hypothesis • NEVERprove • Eg., earth
This is what scientists do! They test and test until they falsify something. This attempts to reduce scientists’ bias. • Scientists also publish their findings in scientific journals • Why?
There are 2 types of reasoning that can be used to devise hypotheses: • Deductive reasoning: Reasoning from the general to the specific Eg. If humans require food to live, then you will die if you don’t eat If frogs require water to live, then my pet frog will die without water • Inductive reasoning: Reasoning from the specific to the general Eg. I like hamburgers from Checkers, McDonald’s and Burger King; therefore I will like hamburgers from Wendy’s.
Scientists use deductive & inductive reasoning to formulate hypotheses. They may also use these areas which cannot be explained by scientific means: • Intuition • Religious/philosophical ideas • Comparisons/analogies with known processes • Serendipity • Esthetic preferences
A method of investigation based on the testing of falsifiable hypotheses that are generalizations that can be falsified but never absolutely verified Makes science tentative Increase exposure of hypotheses to possible falsifications & increase in confidence in hypotheses when not falsified No amount of testing guarantees absolute truth Science -
Theory - A cluster of related hypotheses that share a common language and a common subject matter
Experimental science – Set up and control experiments Eg. Drug testing Naturalistic science - Observe experiments or study natural occurrences Eg. Behavior studies, paleontologists studying fossils
Normal science – test hypotheses one at a time (gradual accumulation of scientific knowledge)
Paradigm – a strong belief in the truth of one or more theories and shared opinions that scientists use to organize scientific research
Scientific revolution – occur once in a great while; this is when an entire paradigm is discarded and a new one replaces it. • Usually occur due to young scientists making new discoveries. • Usually old paradigm supporters do not favor the new paradigm. • Scientific revolutions usually open a new field of investigation/research or rejuvenate an old one. Eg. Darwinian paradigm – Natural selection and evolution Molecular Genetics – DNA
Science asks “Can we?” Law asks “May we?” Morality asks “Should we?”
Morals – rules that guide our conduct and are products of society • They are not consistent in all cultures. • They differ from one society to the next. • They change over time within one society. Moral decisions are made when a person decides whether or not they will follow a moral rule.
Ethics – the study of moral rules or moral codes Ethics is concerned with the basis for moral judgment or ways in which moral judgments are made and justified. Simplest form of ethics – I should go to class because signing up for class is like an apptmnt. Appointments should be kept because they are contracts. An ethic of keeping contracts is part of a larger ethic of keeping promises. Some ethics or rules of conduct are designed to make society work better.
Moral conflicts Resolving conflicts is a major goal of ethics. In most cases, resolution of conflicts is made by determining that one rule is more important than another.
2 major types of ethical systems (or sets of rules for resolving ethical questions): 1.Deontological – system of ethics in which the rightness or wrongness of an act depends on the act itself and not the consequences (i.e., it is rule oriented). Eg. Murder is wrong (not because you will go to jail or face execution). Eg. You keep promises because that is the right thing to do. Most deontologists base their moral codes on religious traditions and beliefs. Their source may be the Bible, Koran or any other sacred book.
Utilitarian – system of ethics where actions are judged right or wrong according to the consequences. Eg. Murder is wrong because death is undesirable. And murder causes all to live in fear. Right acts have consequences that are beneficial to you. Wrong acts have consequences that are harmful to you. The challenge to utilitarians is measuring good vs. bad. Criticisms of utilitarian is that: • Its cost-benefit approach reduces the status and dignity of human beings and in some cases violates their rights. • The killing of one person would be justified if it resulted in saving the lives of other people.
Most societies today in the USA are pluralistic. That is, population includes people from different cultures and religious backgrounds. How are issues with moral dimensions (eg. scientific policies) determined in a pluralistic society? 1. public forums 2. public debate 3. voting