Astrology. 2/18/1996. …lots and lots and lots of math. Goals. What is science? How does science work? Is astrology a science? Why should we care? Is science just another belief?. A. B. C. D. E. F. G. H. I. J. K. L. Science as a tool.
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Astrology 2/18/1996 …lots and lots and lots of math.
Goals • What is science? • How does science work? • Is astrology a science? • Why should we care? • Is science just another belief?
A B C D E F G H I J K L
Science as a tool • Science is a tool for answering why and how. • “I have high cholesterol, what should I do?” • Take cholesterol lowering medication. • Consult my astrologer. • Pray to the god Baal and sacrifice a goat. • How do you choose what to do? • What is your criteria for the “best” solution?
Tests and Theories • Science is a tool for telling you what works! • How do you know if your theory (idea, model, hypothesis) is right? • You can test it! • I make a claim, you can test that too. • A scientific theory must do two things: • Explain what is seen. • Predict what will happen in the future.
model test The Scientific Method • Observe an event. • Develop a model (or hypothesis) which makes a prediction. • Test the prediction. • Observe the result. • Revise the hypothesis. • Repeat as needed. • A successful hypothesis becomes a ScientificTheory.
A Theory’s Power • A successful theory means: • Applies to the future (the prediction) • You don’t have to keep doing the test. • Example: • Lipitor: No more trials • Recipe: No more trial and error
Reproducibility • Anyone must be able to reproduce the claims of your result. • Cookbooks • (In)Famous examples: • Cold Fusion • CERN faster than light neutrinos • The conservative nature of Science.
Theories • So: a theory is a highly successful hypothesis. • All hypotheses make predictions. • All theories make predictions. • All theories can be tested. • Result: Any scientific theory is subject to change as our ability to make tests, or make observations of a test’s results, improves with time.
Recap: Theories, Guesses, Laws • What does the word “Theory” mean to you? “A conjecture; guess” (Webster’s Dictionary) • Does it mean the same to a scientist? “A model which has been born out by repeated tests and observation.” • Is a Theory less than a Law? “Evolution is just a theory, it is not a fact.” • Do Theories “grow up” to be Laws? “Einstein’s Theory of Relativity”
Concept Question • Which of these statements is true. • A theory becomes a Law after it has been proven correct. • A theory becomes a Law if it is supported by the results of enough experiments. • A Law that is refuted by experimental results becomes just a theory. • The movement of the Earth around the Sun and the formation of the Universe in the Big Bang are theories. • We should withhold judgments on theories until they become Laws.
Limitations of Science • Key to the scientific method is The Test. • Q: What can and cannot be tested? • Q: What is and is not reproducible? • A: Magic, the Divine, matters of faith cannot be tested and are not reproducible. • Result: • Science is the search for natural or material explanations to the Universe. • Science is limited to those questions of which natural or material explanations can be applied.
Concept Question Which of the following is NOT a hallmark of science? • A scientific theory is built on logic and common sense to explain observed phenomena. • Science seeks explanations for observable phenomena using natural causes. • Science makes progress by testing models that explain observations as simply as possible. • A scientific model makes testable predictions about natural phenomena and is revised or abandoned if the predictions do not agree with observations.
Non-scientific Theories • Make no predictions • Un-testable • Can’t be falsified
Non-scientific Theories • Cholesterol too high? Aliens are clogging your arteries with invisible probes. • Spaghetti is bland? You were meant to eat bland food. • Cholesterol too high? Gods must be angry. • Spaghetti is bland? At the instant of tasting, tongue is transported to alternate dimension where all flavors are rendered nullified. Happens instantaneously.
Viking Orbiter (1976) Mars Global Surveyor (1998) Non-scientific Theories
Falsification • A real Scientific Theory tells you what observations are necessary to falsify it. • Not so proponents of: • Face on Mars • Moon Hoax • Astrologers
Concept Question What are some of the common characteristics of pseudoscience? • It explains things people care about that may not have easy explanations. • It is based on postdictionnot prediction. It explains after the fact. • If it fails, there is always an excuse–the theory is not discarded. • Uses scientific-sounding jargon incorrectly (e.g., energy flows….). • all of the above.
Astrology • The date, time, (and place) of birth affect: • Your personality • Your actions • Events that will affect your life • Horoscopes appear in most papers. • Millions of people read them daily. http://www.azcentral.com/ent/horoscopes/astrology101.html http://astrology.about.com/od/basicsofastrology/
Astrology • Like other “-ologies”, is it a science? • Explain what is seen? • Make predictions? • Does it work? • What test would falsify astrology?
Does Astrology Work? • Does it pass the test? • Does it work better than chance? • Does it matter? “One of the other prime uses of astrology is in connection with the basic psychology of children and recognizing in children, at an early age, a basis for later psychological difficulties. The horoscope is perhaps the best method to reveal these tendencies while the child is still in infancy. When parents know from the beginning where the seeds of difficulties lie in the child's life, early care and training might mitigate much later unhappiness.” - The Cosmic Palette: Astrology 101 by Haizen Paige
Science vs. Astrology • Scientists are skeptical of astrology because: • It takes power out of the hands of scientists. • It can’t be tested. • It has failed when tested. • It proposes forces that are non-physical. • It threatens our belief in a knowable universe. • But no one believes astrology so who cares?
(TIME, May 16, 1988) -- “The First Lady dabbled in astrology as far back as 1967. In 1981 [Joan] Quigley made Nancy [Reagan] a believer …. And from then on, no presidential public appearance was slated without the Friend's say-so. To this day, Nancy's Friend continues to influence the President's schedule. For the Reagan-Gorbachev Washington summit, she cast the charts of both men and determined that 2 p.m. on Dec. 8, 1987, was the most propitious moment for them to sign the intermediate-range nuclear forces treaty. At Nancy's behest, the entire summit was built around that hour. For the upcoming Moscow summit, Gorbachev's chart (he is a Pisces) has been recast alongside Reagan's (Aquarius).” Astrology and the President “[Former White House Chief of Staff, Donald] Regan and others make a compelling case that in 1986 and 1987 astrological influence dramatically reduced the presidency's effectiveness, at least partly, by keeping Ronald Reagan under wraps for much of the time. Nancy's intrusions in the scheduling process, Regan said in an interview with TIME last week, ‘began to interfere with the normal conduct of the presidency.’” (TIME, May 16, 1988)
Homework #3 • Wednesday we will talk about observing projects. • Due Friday 20-Jan: • Read B4 • Do Chapter 4 Quick Quiz on Pearson website.