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The Scientific Method. 2/18/1996. …lots and lots and lots of math. Goal. What is the scientific method? What does the scientific method assume? Does the scientific method work? What is not a scientific argument. Does astrology follow the scientific method?. model. test.

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the scientific method

The Scientific Method


…lots and lots and lots of math.

  • What is the scientific method?
  • What does the scientific method assume?
  • Does the scientific method work?
  • What is not a scientific argument.
  • Does astrology follow the scientific method?
the scientific method1



The Scientific Method
  • Problem: The problem is stated as a question, and is based on your observations.
  • Develop a hypothesis (an educated guess) which makes a prediction.
    • A hypothesis must include both the independent and the dependant variable.
  • Test the prediction.
    • Experimental design
      • Control group: change nothing… let everything act as it normally would.
      • Experimental group: The variable that you can change or manipulate. The variable which may affect the outcome.
    • Procedures
      • Detailed step-by-step that makes no assumptions about the reader knowing procedures Diagrams of lab set-up can be very helpful.
  • Observe the Data.
    • Your data table should be:
      • Organized so that it is easily understood.
      • Correctly labeled with titles and units.
      • Include multiple trials.
    • Graphing checklist:
      • Line graph – shows a change over time.
      • Bar graph – compares groups to each other.
      • Dependant variable is on the vertical axis.
      • Independent variable is on the horizontal axis.
      • Axis are labeled with units.
      • Title clearly explains the graph (IV vs. DV)
  • Analysis: The analysis section should be in paragraph form and should include the following:
    • Detailed interpretation of your results
    • Why you think you got these results. Apply scientific concepts.
    • How you would do your experiment differently if you were to do it again.
    • What further experiments would build upon this one.
  • Conclusion: The conclusion states whether or not your hypothesis was correct or incorrect and give a supporting statement.
food science
Food Science
  • Throwing something together  Hypothesis
  • Your grandmother’s time-tested recipe  Scientific Theory.
  • A successful theory is repeatable.
    • By you.
    • By anyone.
  • Examples:
    • Cold Fusion (1989)
    • Ecstasy (Science, 2003)
  • Objective reality
    • We all see the same world.
  • Constant Laws of Nature
    • What happens here, happens there.
    • What happened yesterday will happen tomorrow.
  • The Cosmos is knowable.
does it work
Does it work?
  • Scientific Method is a tool.
  • Does this tool work?
    • Life expectancy
    • Mortality rates
  • Are there better tools?
  • 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.
non scientific theories
Non-scientific Theories
  • Make no predictions
  • Un-testable
  • Can’t be falsified
non scientific theories1
Non-scientific Theories
  • Car won’t work?  Aliens drained the battery.
  • Spaghetti is bland?  You were meant to eat bland food.
  • Car won’t work?  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.
non scientific theories2

Viking Orbiter (1976)

Mars Global Surveyor (1998)

Non-scientific Theories
  • The chain of events needed for life to arise is too complicated to have happened by chance, a divine intelligence must therefore have caused life to arise (Intelligent Design).
  • Face on Mars.
  • A real Scientific Theory tells you what observations are necessary to falsify it.
astrology tests
Astrology Tests
  • What test would falsify astrology?