Friday, June 3, 2011

Connection between Scientific Method and Western Culture by Mellisa Conlon

Melissa Conlon
Environmental Science
Dr. T
Warner Pacific College
June 3, 2011

The scientific method is the technique in which we try to draw a theory based off of our observations and test its consistency. Within the scientific method we try to ascertain that, within reason, something we discover will have an exact or similar result.
The breakdown of the scientific method is as follows:
Firstly, our Observation of something within our environment prompts us to want to explain it. We the ask a question about our observation; when we apply this to an environmental scientist’s methodology, they would break down the questions, taking into account such things as what happens when a variable, “X” has some sort of action or change, do we always get “Y”? Or, as the example in the book presents, the curious nature of us as human beings leads us to want to answer the question, “WHY”.
We then make a hypothesis when we have established our variables. With hypotheses, there’s multiple different ways to test it. Manipulation of the environment can provide the strongest type of evidence. It can demonstrate causal relationships with changes in the variables. There are limitations to this version of testing, however as we cannot use it on a massive scale. For things on a larger scale, often researchers use natural experiments which will compare the dependent variables in natural occurrences and in these they try to find a correlation. The evidence can be weaker than causal link that is established with the manipulatation of the environment. As it states in the text book Environment, by Withgott and Brennan (2011); “Good correlative studies can make for strong science, and they preserve the real-world complexity that manipulative experiments often sacrifice” (p. 13). The hypotheses will be the statement we try to explain the observation we established as the question.
We will then make a prediction that can be un-equivocally tested. Do we truly always get “Y” when “X” increases? Testing our predictions is how we can develop a correlation with the initial questions and hypothesis we establish as the foundation of our research. If the outcome holds to what we hope to be our theory, or if it doesn’t, we are then evaluating our results. The obtained information from the research and testing will be recorded as our results.
A theory is developed upon testing the hypothesis repeatedly and when it is proven to predict the expectation consistently. Once the theory is established to hold up, we may then apply the results to our experiment. Theories, once applied, may also change over the course of time. Our accepted understanding of something may shift, in other words, the scientific paradigm view is abandoned for another.
Western Society, as a United States Citizen means to me the land and the carbon foot print we have left behind in our wake as a society. Our nation, the biggest in comparison to the rest of the world looks like it has the biggest carbon foot print when in actuality France is by far, much small and third on the scale of leading foot prints. So, I ask this question, what makes a country that is so much smaller than the United States of America, relatively larger on the scale of carbon foot prints then us with much more land? And, why do we have such a large foot print? Is this because of population, land size, growth of companies, landfills, or a combination of them all. What makes a country like Haiti, with the smallest carbon foot print so much less? Is it clean living, education, recycling? What makes this carbon foot print and how as a nation do we stop it?

Reference Page:
Withgott, J., & Brennan, S. (2011). ENVIRONMENT the science behind the stories (fourth Ed.). San Francisco, CA: Pearson Benjamin Cummings.

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