Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Carrie Adams' view on Western Culture and Scientific Method

Western Culture and Scientific Method
Carrie Adams
PHS100 – Environmental Studies
David Terrell
Warner Pacific College
August 27, 2010

Western Culture and Scientific Method
The scientific method is “the observation-based hypothesis-testing approach that scientists use to learn how the world works” (Withgott & Bennan, 2008, p.12). This technique involves making observations of different phenomenon, and asking questions about this phenomenon. Once these observation and questions are developed the scientific method is continued by developing a hypothesis. A hypothesis is “a statement that attempts to explain a phenomenon or answer a scientific question” (p.12). Next the outcome of the hypothesis is predicted and tested. The hypothesis is usually tested by doing an experiment. Once the experiment is complete the analysis and interpretation of the results begins. By analyzing the data that has been collected scientists can determine whether their findings are reliable or flawed. This process is used for almost everything; whether we are aware of it or not. Scientists use the scientific method to test all their theories and inventions. Even everyday people use the scientific method to test ideas and find answers to questions and problems.
Before the scientific method was created people used to guess about everything; they could not prove or disprove any of their theories. For example:
In the late16th century, it was generally believed that an object would fall at a speed proportional to its weight. In other words, the bigger they come, the faster they fall. The Italian scientist Galileo thought differently about this idea. Galileo believed that the forces acting on a falling object were independent of the object's weight. In 1590, Galileo planned out an experiment. He climbed to the top of the Leaning Tower of Pisa and dropped several different sized weights off the top of the Tower. A colleague watched the weights as they fell and recorded his observations… Galileo found that two objects with different weights fall at exactly the same speed. This experiment disproved the previously held belief that objects with different weights fall at different rates. (Carpi, 1998)
Galileo not only used the scientific method to test his hypothesis, that states “forces acting on a falling object were independent of the object's weight” (Carpi, 1998), but he also used it to prove that the previous theory was completely wrong.
When the scientific method was introduced, the western culture flourished. Western culture is the modern culture; the culture that is more technologically advanced than the rest of the world. Thanks to the scientific method western culture has been able to test millions of theories and expand upon many different ideas and inventions. Computers, cell phones, bottled water, x-rays, electricity, and indoor plumbing – are just some of the modern amenities that were developed, tested, and perfected using the scientific method. Without the scientific method the western culture may not even exist as it does today.
The scientific method is an essential part of western culture’s history and present. Without the scientific method most modern amenities may not exists because there would be no way to test any hypothesis about these products.

Carpi, A. (1998). The Scientific Method. Courses Pages. Retrieved August 31, 2010, from http://web.jjay.cuny.edu/~acarpi/NSC/1-scimethod.htm
Withgott, J., & Bennan, S. (2008). Environment: The Science Behind the Stories (3rd
ed.). New York. Pearson Benjamin Cummings.

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