Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Modern World and the Scientific Method by Josh Guisinger

In the development of anything that will remain sustainable over time there must be some research and thought that goes into its creation. If you were to design an airplane you would take extreme caution in every aspect of its development and put it through rigorous tests to insure that it works and is safe. Much is true about the development of a society or changes we make to our environment. Scientists have developed a method called the scientific method that helps gauge the outcomes of changes we make to the world in which we live. This method is meant to be an objective approach to the varying situations and outcomes that may arise or may have already arisen from a change in our environment. In this paper we will look in more detail at what the scientific method is and its impact on western culture.
In order for us as a society to make decisions that will have positive impact on our futures we must have some sort of tool for measuring the outcomes of those choices. If for example I decided that in order to always have my comforts from home with me I would buy a motor home load it up with as many home comforts as possible and drive it wherever I had to go whether that was school work or vacation. This is a decision that only took into account only my personal outcomes for the current time being. Using the idea of the scientific method to decide on the overall benefit of buying a motor home for my commuter vehicle I would put way more thought into both what the current outcome would be and the future outcome.
According to Withgott and Brennan “the scientific method relies on 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 event 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 processes that underlie the cause-and-effect relationships we observe in nature.” (p.11, 2011). With these premises in place we can evaluate much about how we develop a sustainable future. But the questions arises was this method or a similar one taken into consideration when the United States was developed or any other wealthy industrious nation? For now we will leave that question be.
            When looking at the development of western culture you can see how the scientific method has played a huge role in shaping the West as we know it. What is Western Culture? It seems to be impossible to define it in a simple way. It could be the countries that are more modern and have a more formal way of living or it could be or it could be a “body of knowledge derived from reason”. (Western Culture Global). For the sake of this paper I will stick with defining it in terms of the modernized nations of the West. The West has placed huge emphasis on its knowledge and ability to create and implore new ideas. From its motivation to create green energy to the research that is done on global warming we as a Western culture are constantly being asked to test our finding against the scientific method. Not only do we place importance on research we do but also the beliefs we live out. Our personal beliefs need to be ready to stand against the same method of scrutiny.  
            Western Culture may have been come about using a lot of the practices outlined in the scientific method, but personally I do not see it happening so much anymore. It seems we have taken away the idea that we must evaluate our decisions and weigh the outcomes and instead we do what suites me for now.  Our environment is on slippery slopes when it comes to the future. Will we be like Rome or Easter Island and over extend our recourses (pp6-7, 2011)? Or will we start making the kind of decisions that will live a better environment for our kids and grand kids to come? I sure hope for the sake of our kids’ future we will make the right decisions and observe the outcomes of the choices we make.
What is Western culture? What is non Western culture? The history and definition of Western
culture. Western culture and race, racism, multiculturalism, westernization .
(n.d.). Western culture and its ideals, values, beliefs, ideas, characteristics and thinkers :
Western Civilization. Retrieved August 22,2011, from
Withgott, J., & Brennan, S. R. (2011). Environment: the science behind the stories (4th ed.). San
Francisco, CA: Pearson Benjamin Cummings.

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