Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Scientific Method and how it’s use has influenced “western culture” by Mark Combe

Warner Pacific College
July 28, 2014
            This essay discusses the scientific method and how it’s use has influenced western culture. I have referenced multiple sources in order to learn more on this subject.
            I remember learning about the scientific method in grade school. I thought it was completely boring and useless, and because of my very conservative Christian upbringing, I saw science as more of an enemy rather than a community of people who simply wanted to figure out more about the world we live in.
            Our assigned book (Withgott & Laposata, 2014) says “Science is all about asking and answering questions.... The effective scientist thinks critically and does not accept conventional wisdom from others. The scientist becomes excited by novel ideas but is skeptical and judges ideas by the strength of evidence that supports them.”  I found this to be worded wonderfully. I think this way of thinking is the foundation of the scientific method. In order for what we know about the world to be accurate, there needs to be accountability, and that is where the scientific method comes into play.
            The scientific method has multiple steps; Observations, Questions, Hypothesis, Predictions, Test, and Results. Going about everyday tasks and implementing this method would be a great idea I presume, because being accurate and honest in everything really saves so much headache and ultimately provides a better way of life. In science, one inaccuracy could lead to so much more work down the road and in order to be efficient and effective, using the method is crucial.
            A 6th grade teacher posted an article on metafilter.com. She brought up these following points on why practical knowledge and the use of the scientific method has benefited western culture:
-the simple act of washing your hands can prevent you from getting sick, which people didn't know before the theory of germs
“- sickness is preventable/treatable in general, rather than e.g. being caused by the devil
- when choosing to smoke or not to smoke, you can take into account the scientific evidence that smoking increases your chances of getting lung cancer
-  any superstitious/cultural belief that actually has a negative effect on your life if you believe in it, such as missed opportunities due to the belief that men are superior to women “
She makes valid points and causes me to reflect on the fact that knowledge is not something to be feared, because we can make so many beneficial decisions in life but first we must be informed.
            Growing up around a farm acquainted me with the use of herbicides and pesticides and they’re affect on our environment. I remember feeling very ill after being sprayed by pesticides as a mean trick from a neighbor. I was young but I remember thinking that if that “stuff” made me feel sick, why do we spray it on our food? According to http://www.cabnr.unr.edu, “There exist several sources of environmental contaminations which can impact wildlife species. Agrochemicals are routinely used to control weeds and insects on crops and gardens throughout the U.S. and Nevada. During the application process and subsequent to it, non-target organisms can come into contact with these agrochemicals either through direct spraying, or ingestion of the chemicals through food and or water. Another important source of environmental contamination is from anthropogenic origins such as mining.”
            Like I wrote earlier, I used to see science as a threat more than a benefit, but I know that the scientific method is necessary to ensure a healthy and sustainable environment. I am very excited to learn more about this method’s many applications and environmental science in general, so that I can be a part of the solution.
            Withgott, J., & Laposata, M. (2013). Environment: the science behind the stories (5th Ed.). New York, NY. Pearson Benjamin Cummings. ISBN-13: 978-0-321-89742-8

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