Thursday, April 16, 2009

Paper by Trudy Chimko

The Use of the Scientific Method and Its Creation of Western Culture
PHS 100 Professor David Terrell
April 16, 2009
The Use of the Scientific Method and Its Creation of Western Culture
The scientific method is a series of steps that scientists use to answeror validate questions concerning the world we live in. The process is based on common sense and the steps serve to respond to or resolve a question. In order to understand how the scientific method has been used in Western Culture, or how it has founded Western Culture, it is important to first clarify what Western Culture is.Western Culture is not the definition of a specific list of countries located in the Western hemisphere. Rather, Western Culture refers to a developed civilization that flourishes as a result of its desire to study and sustain human life. It takes us through the Agricultural Revolution and the Industrial Revolution. This culture promotes science, politics, religion, and technology to expand a nation’s knowledge and provide economic growth. The scientific method has been used to not only define Western Culture but to entice us to continue learning and asking questions about the world around us. The scientific method is a series of steps used to test and validate ideas. Withgott, J. & Brennan S. (2008, p 12) describe six steps used to discover answers to questions raised and pondered by scientists in Western culture. These steps are as follows: making observations, formulating questions, hypothesis statements as possible explanation, stating predictions, testing those predictions though experimentation, and analyzing results of the experiment.Countries with great economic growth and scientific and technological discovery are countries that have embraced knowledge. What is interesting is that knowledge breeds the desire for more knowledge and there is a continued cycle of questions being asked to either improve or sustain life based on what we know so far. Medical technology is a good example of this. Through observation that people were dying from disease, steps were taken to discover vaccinations to prevent some of these diseases. Potential vaccinations were tested and once validated, used to treat disease. This is only a minute example of the ability of the scientific method to change a culture’s thinking and to advance them into another stage of development.
The United States has become a world leader because it has embraced the scientific method as a means to learn about the world around us. We ask questions about how we as human beings exist in our world, and we develop hypotheses and test predictions to create new and improved ways to live our life. As a culture, we care about the existence of human beings, the existence of the ecology that surrounds us, the economy that allows us to continue our way of life, and the opportunities that the world can provide to us for future growth. Because of our concern for living and non-living collaboration on this planet, and because of our desire to sustain our planet’s resources and our own personal existence, we have ultimately become a nation of wealth, respect, and continued growth in all areas of science and technology. We are not afraid to explore the unknown and to use the scientific method to determine the best and most reasonable result for situations that we face.In my reading of the text and researching the attributes of Western culture, I see a direct correlation between the use of the six step process and the success and economic growth of Western culture, particularly in the United States. The more knowledge a society gains, the more questions arise in pursuit of additional knowledge to improve or maintain life as we know it. This appears to be a continual cycle and as long as we pursue the learning experience through this scientific method, our ability to maintain life at an economic and technological high is at our fingertips.
We are the voice and conscience of reason in this fascinating arena and can motivate other countries to follow suit in this remarkable school of learning.

References Western culture. (2009, April 10). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia.Retrieved 01:02, April 13, 2009, from
Western culture knowledge center: what is western culture. (2007).Retrieved April 13, 2009, from
Withgott, J., & Brennan, S. (2008). Environment: The science behind thestories (3rd ed.). New York, Pearson Benjamin Cummings.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Paper by Violeta McKean

Scientific Method and Western Culture
Environmental Studies PHS 100
Dr. David Terrell Warner Pacific College April 14, 2009
Scientific Method and Western Culture
According to Withgott and Brennan, the scientific method is simply aformalized version of the procedures any of us might take, using common sense to solve a problem or answer a question (Withgott & Brennan, 2008, p 11).This process includes the following steps: Make observations, ask questions, develop a hypothesis, make predictions, test the predictions, analyze and interpret the results (Wighgott & Brennan, 2008, p 12).Advances in science usually begins with the observation of some phenomenon that scientists wish to explain. The act of observing, sets the scientific method in motion. Next, questions arise from the situation and scientist attempt to find answers. In their attempt to answer those questions, scientists develop explanations or hypothesis. Those are in turn used to generate predictions, which are specific statements that can be directly tested. The predictions are tested by running experiments or through correlation, statistical relationship among variables. After all these steps have been performed, not in this particular order, then scientists can analyze and interpret the results (Wighgott & Brennan, 2008, p 112,13).The scientific process does not stop with the scientific method, scientific work takes place within the context of a community of peers. To have any impact, a researcher's work must be published and made accessible to the scientific community. The process of peer review, is a valuable step to guard against faulty science contaminating the literature on which scientists rely (Wighgott & Brennan, 2008, p 15).The scientific method has been the foundation of western culture, because science like anything else in life goes through what Withgott and Brennan call “paradigm shifts,” in which one dominant view is abandoned for another. How science works is vital to assessing how scientific ideas and interpretations change through time as new information is collected. The scientific method has been particularly relevant in environmental science, a field that is changing rapidly as we learn vast amounts of new information, as human impacts on the planet multiply, and as we learn from the consequences of our actions (Wighgott & Brennan, 2008, p 16).
As far as characterizing western culture, I have a different point of view than a lot of us. I was born in El Salvador, and growing up in a developing country made me realize how rich the United States is. Not only monetarily, but in every way possible; for example the lush forests, clean rivers, the chance to go to school, go to work, go to church, etc. This is a country that has so much, and yet there is always the need to have more. Everything seems “disposable.” We have disposable dishes, disposable utensils, disposable diapers, disposable cameras, disposable water bottles, etc. We have so many things, cars, shoes, food, tv's, radios, even clothes, because the clothing industry knows that we like to have a lot of everything and the latest of everything. That's why the fashion industry and every other industry out there, is coming up with new and improved something everyday. We like all those things that we can buy and have, but unfortunately our environment is starting to catch up with our “disposable” trend and sooner than later we have to start changing our ways in order to save our planet. We need to educate ourselves and those around us about the need to use, re-use and recycle. Our challenge is to develop solutions to further our quality of life while protecting and restoring the environment that supports us (Wighgott & Brennan, 2008, p 19). With everyone's help we can make a difference. We have to work on teaching the next generation about the importance of sustainability, so that they too can enjoy the lush forest, clean rivers and many other beautiful things that this country has to offer each and everyone of us.
ReferencesWithgott, J., & Bennan, S. (2008). Environment: The Science Behind the Stories (3rd ed.). New York. Pearson Benjamin Cummings. ISBN: 13: 978-0-8053-9573-0

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Intentional Use of Technology

In today's world use of technology is taken for granted! More so younger generations are brought up in a technological environment that makes them to be unaware of how dependent we are on technology.
So now as we move to a new paradigm in our society, in the way we make community and how we communicate, we must be careful and intentional in the way we use technology. In particular we should be concern with Internet technology.
There are constant changes and developments in internet technology, the formation of groups, forums, blogs, and other website base communication tools.
Some now have millions of members using that particular technology, some are emerging as the new kid in the block.
We have in our current organization the possibility of merging and superimposing as well as mixing, so hybrid forms appear and are developed. The inclusion of videos, photographs and other visual aids are taking place at a pace that is difficult to grasp. In some cases the changes occur so fast that when we become aware of them it seems that the new gadget has become obsolete!
How can we keep up dated with this change? When even the symbolism and the nomenclature is not stable at all. How can we feel that we are "cool", and members of a society that seems to us is expecting we should be aware of all "new trends & gadgets"?
Well in a way in the problem we must look for the answer! If using technology is the problem, learning to use it, and control it must be the solution.
Maybe this is why writing on this blog is important.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Insatiable is not Sustainable

Written by Dug Brown "Insatiable Is Not Sustainable" in 2002 is an extraordinary book about today's cultural problems within our society of consumption.
One basic premise is that in order to solve our problems within our society we must understand our human nature and recognize the paradox between the need for change in our society and the inextricable desire for improvement that has lead us into the unsustainable situation that we face in our times.