Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Laura Knechtges' view of "Scientific Method and Western Culture"

Environmental Studies PHS/100
Professor Terrell, Ph.D.
Warner Pacific College
November 20, 2010

Scientific Method
The only sound that could be heard was the alien chatter between the birds, which was muffled by the wind, filtering through the limbs and branches of the canopied forest. The light from the sun weaved through the squared and triangulated shapes, the trees made with its majestic limbs. This must be what the first Westerners soon discovered as they began to unravel the mystery of the new Western World. Many including David Thoreau wrote of the beauty of the environment the forest creates.
"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived" (Lenat, 2009).
Thoreau believed from his core that living simply would be the very thing that would keep the lasting beauty of the chattering birds and the weaving of sunlight between the trees.
Westerners adapted many beliefs and values for the environment. We have had those with radical behavior and chain themselves to a tree, because the core of their being believes it will end the cutting of trees.
Or you may find yourself reading about a heavily polluted lake sitting near an improvised neighborhood because the ore, coal or oil needed to sustain a lifestyle of the people.
The continuum of thought keeps the pendulum swinging; from the far right to the far left as we begin to develop ideas of what is ethical about the earth. This is the democratic way of western civilization; the foundation of our society.
If we were to ask what is the foundation of western culture with its relationship to the environment we might take a scientific approach. What would be the method for coming to a conclusion regarding our belief about our responsibility to the earth, other living creatures?
The beauty of science often looks at the detail, facts and evidence that come forward, when facts are revealed.
Several steps and techniques are involved in the scientific method. Jay Withgott and Scott Brennan write “The scientific method relies on universal functions with fixed natural laws that do not change, all events arise from cause of events, we use our natural senses to detect cause and effect relationships we observe in nature” (Scott, Withgott 2008). There is a formalized procedure used in the scientific method which includes; observations, asking questions, developing a hypothesis, make predications, test the predictions, analyze and interpret results.
The scientific method is fist set into motion with an observation which is followed by a question. It is the curiosity that may drive science. Once the inquiry occurs then it may be followed by a statement of explanation. It is not until the statement has been tested by an experiment which involves variables that are dependant or independent called a controlled experiment.
Once the experiment is concluded it is analyzed and interpreted with quantitative and qualitative data.
It is important to remember that the hypotheses are tested in different ways; manipulative experiments and natural experiments. The manipulative experiment provides the strongest evidence.
Once all testing and research has been completed the scientific process ends with a peer review; a written journal examined by other scientist then often the process ends with presentation to others and the hope is to have the research funded by grantees.
Science has found this to be the most democratic way to get out the information founded by scientists’. The democratic way of science seems of course is a Western philosophy and science may work in an entirely different manner around the world.

Lenat, R. (2009). Thereau Reader. Retrieved Nov. 20, 2010, from Thoreau Reader, EServer web publishing project, at Iowa State University, in Ames, Iowa.. Web site: http://thoreau.eserver.org/citesite.html.
Withgott, J., & Brennan, S. (2008). Environment, the science behind the stories. San Francisco, CA: Pearson Education Inc,.

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