What is... vs. What we think The difference between Observation and Inference The Nature of Science • Systematic gathering of information - direct observations - indirect observations • Testing of this information - experimentation - observation • Knowledge gained - naturalistic concepts - laws and theories related to those concepts Scientific Knowledge • Simultaneously reliable and tentative • Prior understandings may be abandoned or modified in light of new evidence • Prior knowledge may be reconceptualized due to new evidence The Scientific Method Creativity •Science demands creativity. Scientists need to be able to think outside the box and solve both real and conceptual problems. •Personal Passion •Vital Characteristic Limitations • Naturalistic methods and explanations • Cannot rely on supernatural elements Facts aka Observations • Observable phenomenon in a particular situation • Which of the following examples is a scientific fact? - “Dinosaurs were cold blooded” - “The caterpillar is 2.6 cm in length” Hypotheses • A statement based on previous observation or research, that can be tested scientifically. • It isn’t an hypothesis if it cannot be tested!! Goal - Theories & Laws 1. Laws = generalizations or universal relationships related to the way that some aspect of the natural world behaves under specific conditions. 2.Theories = inferred explanations of some aspect of the natural world. • Theories explain laws. They do not become laws even with additional evidence. • Not all scientific laws have accompanying explanatory theories. 3. Well-established laws and theories must ... Well-established laws and theories must ... ✴be internally consistent and compatible with the best available evidence ✴be successfully tested against a wide range of applicable phenomena and evidence ✴possess appropriately broad and demonstrable effectiveness in further research. Who does science? • EVERYONE! “...on the shoulders of giants...” • Controls on ... • scientific questions asked • the observations made • the conclusions • Include ... • the existing state of scientific knowledge • the social and cultural context of the researcher • the observer's experiences and expectations (this is where the creativity comes in!) History of Science •With new evidence and interpretation, old ideas are replaced or supplemented by newer ones. - Evolutionary Changes - Revolutionary Changes Science & Technology •Science and technology impact each other •Basic scientific research is not directly concerned with practical outcomes •The goal of science is to gain an understanding of the natural world not to create ways to change or control it.