Monday, November 8, 2010

Scientific Method and Western Culture by Evelyn Hull

Scientific Method
Evelyn Hull
PHS 100 Environmental Studies:
Weekend Format
Professor D. Terrell
Warner Pacific College
November 5, 2010

Response Paper #1:
The Scientific Method
The scientific method is a technique scientists use to test ideas with observations to learn how the world works. It is a series of six steps: the first step is observations; scientists need to observe in order to know how they are going to go about their research. The second step is asking questions, scientists are always asking questions about how the world works, the third step is to develop a hypothesis, scientists attempt to find a possible solution or explanation to the problem they are trying to solve, but they also need to be able to test these possible solutions. The fourth step is making predictions; predictions allow scientists to get more specific. Predictions are ways to prove that a hypothesis is true. The fifth step is testing those predictions, predictions need to be tested one at a time, and it is a way to gather evidence that could disprove the hypothesis. The last but not least of the steps is analyzing and interpreting the results of the testing. Scientists especially like quantitative data, this refers to data that has been recorded and can be measured by numbers, making it easier to compare (Withgott & Brennan, 2008).
The scientific method is used by scientists in their specific fields of study. The scientific meth takes into consideration the following assumptions: “The universe functions in accordance with fixed natural laws that do not change from time to time or from place to place. All events arise from some cause or causes and, in turn, cause other events. We can use our senses and reasoning abilities to detect and describe natural laws that underlie the cause-and-effect relationship we observe in nature” (Withgott & Brennan, 2008, p. 12).
I believe the scientific method is related to our understanding of “western culture.” Western culture people are always looking for ways of advancement. Scientist in this culture are always asking questions, trying to figure out how the world works and in order to figure this out they rely on using the scientific method. This is the best method scientists use because this method is the best way to prove or disprove a hypothesis. In the western culture we find facts with experimentation, we gather and use data to come up with a conclusion, we like to figure out what something is and how does something work. I believe that in western culture, if people were not curious about their surroundings, we would still be stuck in time, and we would not have the luxuries that we take for grated now a days. For example, we would not have electricity, modes of transportation; it would take us months to go from the west coast to the east coast. The scientific method is used to make progress in a culture; people would still be dying just from a simple cut, infection, or from normal child birth if it were not for the advances in medicine.
In conclusion, I believe that the scientific method is a method not only used by scientists, but by anyone from children in elementary school to adults in their daily lives. As a mother of three young children, I am always trying to figure ways to help them as they grow. For example, before I had children, I observed people I knew that were raising children and decided the things I would do and what I would disregard when I had my own children. I know that my beliefs system affects the way I am raising my own children, I know that as a parent I am instilling my beliefs to them. I model the behavior, I want to see them have and teach them about what is important in our family. These important things are God, family, and education. My hope or theory is that as they get older they will stay in the path that I have shown them and that they will become assets to church and community as well. I know that I will not be able to test this theory until they are older but I pray that this theory will yield good results. Another way I use the scientific method is at work, I teach young children, every September I have to figure out what will work with the new group of children. I use observations, I ask questions, I make hypothesis and predictions, I put those hypotheses to the test and if the results are not what I like, I analyze and start over with the hypothesis, to figure a new way to teach. I have to do this because not all children learn the same way and not all off them come from a nurturing environment.

Withgott, J., & Brennan, S. (2008). Environment the Science behind the Stories. San Francisco, CA: Pearson Benjamin Cummings.

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