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Solar System Astronomy ASTR 111 – Summer 2010 PowerPoint Presentation
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Solar System Astronomy ASTR 111 – Summer 2010

Solar System Astronomy ASTR 111 – Summer 2010

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Solar System Astronomy ASTR 111 – Summer 2010

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  1. Solar System AstronomyASTR 111 – Summer 2010

  2. Welcome to Astronomy • Professor Jack Brockway • Reed 121 • 250-6941 • brockway@radford.edu • www.radford.edu/brockway • Office Hours: • MWF 10-12

  3. Welcome to Astronomy • ASTR 111 – Solar System Astronomy • Lecture • McGuffey 203 • 2:00 – 2:50 MWF • Laboratory • Curie 145 • 7:00 – 9:00 Monday • 9:00 – 11:00 Monday • 8:00 – 10:00 Wednesday

  4. Welcome to Astronomy ALWAYS ASK QUESTIONS!

  5. Welcome to Astronomy There are problems to whose solution I would attach an infinitely greater importance than to those of mathematics, for example touching ethics, or our relation to God, or concerning our destiny and our future; but their solution lies wholly beyond us and completely outside the province of science. — Carl Friedrich Gauss (1777-1855)

  6. Why Science? • I have a theory… • Water causes cancer • Only water causes cancer • Not cigarettes… • Not UV radiation… • Not nothing else… • Who/how it affects cannot be predicted • Now or ever

  7. Why Science? • I have a theory… • Water causes cancer • Only water causes cancer • Who/how it affects cannot be predicted • Evidence: • Every single cancer victim has been exposed to water • Rebutting evidence to the contrary: • Not every lung cancer victim smokes • Not every smoker gets lung cancer

  8. Why Science?

  9. Why Science?

  10. What is Science? • Science is a system of knowledge that is based on empirical evidence and testable explanations • Empirical – we can observe and measure • Testable – we can support or disprove • A theory must be falsifiable • A theory – of any sort – that cannot conceivably fail any test is not science

  11. What is Science? • In science we do not teach… • What might be true • What we believe to be true • Perhaps not even things that are true • We search for, find, and teach the best explanations for nature we can find

  12. What is Science? Science is NOT any conjecture chosen to justify belief – not even popular or widely-held belief

  13. What is Science? • Science is an exploration • Guided by natural law • Explanatory by reference to natural law • Testable against the empirical world • Conclusions are tentative • It is falsifiable

  14. Science vs Authority • Authority often works by suppressing inquiry • favors (or even depends upon) the status quo • Science is subversive • Old ideas can be falsified and rejected • New ideas must be supported by evidence • Scientific authority can be overthrown by new or better evidence • Nature is the arbiter of science. It decides what ideas are good or bad

  15. Science vs Authority • Science provides tools • For separating truth from fiction • Science can only suffer under ideological requirements • Galileo vs Church • Scopes trial • AIDS research • Global Warming • USSR/China – Lysenko

  16. Accepting Science • Many reject science • Astrology • crystal healing • Hostility to Modern Medicine • Vaccines cause autism… or kill • Smoking • Rejection of climate change findings

  17. Accepting Science • Science is not “natural” • The brain is an ever-turning “belief engine” • Full moons are dangerous • 13 is unlucky • Health insurance providers are our friends

  18. Accepting Science • Science is not “natural” • Science requires doubt and skepticism • Society holds unshakeable faith to be a virtue • People seek security and certainty • Faith delivers • Science doesn’t • Science enables us to recognize (and turn away from) incorrect beliefs • To be fair, let’s not assume that scientists are without bias, nor are they always right…

  19. Scientific World View • Which of the following would be a scientific way of viewing nature? • All ideas are equally valuable and should be equally respected • Well established ideas should never be checked or tested • Nature informs us about the usefulness of our ideas

  20. Scientific Method • Knowedge from Science • We think we understand empirical phenomena when a satisfactory theory • explains how the phenomena work, what regular patterns they follow, or why they appear to us as they do • Scientific explanations are in terms of natural phenomena rather than supernatural phenomena • science itself requires neither the acceptance nor the rejection of the supernatural

  21. Scientific Method • Scientific “facts” and theories • many scientific theories, initially, are often little more than guesses based on limited information • mature and well-developed scientific theories systematically organize knowledge and allow us to explain and predict wide ranges of empirical events

  22. Scientific Method • Science • Conclusions are a posteriori • Theory follows observation • Theories are conclusions • a position, opinion, or judgment reached after consideration • Measurable predictions • Key to falsifiability • Falsifiable • We can distinguish between accurate and inaccurate predictions (Precambrian rabbits) • Reproducible

  23. Scientific Pretenders • Pseudoscience • Set of ideas based on theories put forth as scientific when they are not scientific • They are missing one or more of the characteristics of scientific disciplines/theories

  24. Scientific Pretenders • Pseudoscience • Conclusions are a priori • Observations made (often chosen) to confirm theory • Theories are assumptions • Reached without consideration • Conclusions are not conclusions! • Not Falsifiable • Not reproducible • No measurable predictions • Predictions allow competing theories to be compared

  25. Scientific Method • Science makes conclusions • Based on weight of evidence • All the data must be considered • Pseudoscience makes assertions • Not supported by most of the data • Though it might be supported by some of it • I’m being tendentious – look it up 

  26. Our Criteria • A priori or a posteriori? • Did you conclude or did you assume? • Falsifiability • Is it possible to collect contradicting evidence? • Is contradicting evidence considered when available? • Reproducibility • Observable predictions • Science is a tool, not a rationalization

  27. Benefits of Science • What benefit has science provided? • Vaccines • Computers • Anesthetics • Spacecraft • Hydrogen bombs • Women surviving childbirth • Greatly Increased life expectancy • Social/economic prosperity…

  28. Benefits of Science • What benefit has science provided? • Cell Phones • Toilets • Books

  29. Benefits of Rejecting Science • Ignorance • Gullibility

  30. Benefits of Rejecting Science • Astrology • “You’re not going to marry him because she’s a Taurus??” • “You’re quitting your job because Mercury is in Cancer??” • Intelligent Design • ID is an attack against science • Gardisil Debate

  31. Gardisil Debate • Gardisil is a vaccine against HPV virus • HPV is believed to be a necessary factor in the development of nearly all cervical cancer cases • Fifth most deadly cancer in women • Nearly 4000 will die from it this year in the US

  32. Gardisil Debate • Critics say it’s unnecessary or dangerous: • They say the body’s immune system is sufficient 90% of the time, • that it only protects against 4 of over 100 strains of HPV, • that there are serious side effects, • that Gardisil has killed people, • that HPV hasn’t been proven to cause cervical cancer

  33. Gardisil Debate • Facts suggest otherwise: • the body’s immune system is sufficient 90% of the time • ..and fails 10% of the time • It protects against 4 (of over 100 strains) of HPV • there are side effects • People have died that were taking Gardisil • HPV hasn’t been proven to cause cervical cancer

  34. Gardisil Debate • Facts suggest otherwise: • the body’s immune system is sufficient 90% of the time • It only protects against 4 (of over 100 strains) of HPV • But 2 of those 4 are responsible for over 70% of cases • 38% effective against 10 other strains (>2/3 remaining cases) • there are side effects • People have died that were taking Gardisil • HPV hasn’t been proven to cause cervical cancer

  35. Gardisil Debate • Facts suggest otherwise: • the body’s immune system is sufficient 90% of the time • it protects against 4 (of over 100 strains) of HPV • there are side effects • About half of the adverse effects that most drugs have • People have died that were taking Gardisil • HPV hasn’t been proven to cause cervical cancer

  36. Gardisil Debate • Facts suggest otherwise: • the body’s immune system is sufficient 90% of the time • it protects against 4 (of over 100 strains) of HPV • there are side effects • People have died that were taking Gardisil • People have also died that were taking Tylenol, were sleeping, or were sitting in chairs • No evidence has shown a link between the drug and the deaths (at least not yet) • About 40 people out of 40 million recipients have died • HPV hasn’t been proven to cause cervical cancer

  37. Gardisil Debate • Facts suggest otherwise: • the body’s immune system is sufficient 90% of the time • it protects against 4 (of over 100 strains) of HPV • there are side effects • People have died that were taking Gardisil • HPV hasn’t been proven to cause cervical cancer • But the link is far stronger than for smoking and lung cancer… • Each year in the US • Nearly 4000 die from cervical cancer • Gardisil can prevent over 3000 of those deaths

  38. Benefits of Rejecting Science • Astrology • Intelligent Design • Gardisil Debate • Population control

  39. Fact vs theory This textbook contains material on evolution. Evolution is a theory, not a fact, regarding the origin of living things. This material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully, and critically considered. – sticker in Cobb County GA

  40. Fact vs Theory • No real difference… • Theories are typically considered to be less developed/established In science, “fact” can only mean “confirmed to such a degree that it would be perverse to withhold provisional assent.” – Stephen Gould

  41. Scientific “fact” This textbook contains material on evolution. Evolution is a theory, not a fact, regarding the origin of living things. This material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully, and critically considered. – sticker in Cobb County GA

  42. Scientific “fact” This textbook contains material that states smoking can lead to cancer. That is a theory, not a fact, regarding the dangers of smoking. This material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully, and critically considered. – my sticker for Cobb County

  43. Evolution & Natural Selection • Scientific “facts” and theories • mature and well-developed scientific theories systematically organize knowledge and allow us to explain and predict wide ranges of empirical events

  44. Science vs Ideology • Trofim Lysenko • Director of Soviet biology under Stalin • Rejected Mendelian genetics • Inheritability of acquired characteristics • Plucking a plant’s leaves can reduce leaves on offspring… • Genetics stigmatized • ‘bourgeois science’ or ‘fascist science’ • Stalin disliked fascist Germany’s embrace of genetics • Gregor Mendel himself was a priest • Religion considered backward and evil

  45. Science vs Ideology • Trofim Lysenko • Stalin insisted on applying Lysenkoismto human genetics • Geneticists were fired, sent to labor camps, or executed • ‘Scientific’ arguments were made based on conformity to Marxist ideology • Serious, long-term harm to Soviet biology • Massive crop failures, famine, millions of deaths • Economic disintegration • Crippled advances in biology and biochemistry

  46. Science vs Ideology • Soviet Sciences • While USSR invested heavily in science • Strictly persecuted deviations from communist ideology • Introduced party control over sciences • In general, ideologically-offensive disciplines and scientists were suppressed • Notable exception was nuclear physics • “Stalin was crazy, but he wasn’t stupid”

  47. Science vs Ideology • Where is science subordinated to ideology? • Nazi Germany • USSR • China • American schools

  48. What’s my point? • Science is profoundly important in our society • Only effective tool for understanding nature • Biology • Medicine • Physics • Fossil Fuel alternatives • Chemistry • Geology • Engineering • Informed decisions are impossible without some understanding of science

  49. What’s my point? • Science is a way of evaluating propositions • It provides mechanisms for distinguishing between true and false

  50. Science and Mathematics