Friday, August 8, 2014

Dana Nault: Scientific Method and Western Culture

 Environmental Studies
Warner Pacific College
August 7, 2014

Scientific Method and Western Culture

When one mentions ‘western culture’ our mind often associates it to mean western civilization.  But the term ‘culture’ really refers to the legacy of social norms, values, customs, and beliefs which set it apart from other societies.  So the term western culture is really meant to indicate the parts of the world populaces that are considered as advanced societies, this is because its ideas and values encourage the improvement and support of developed civilization.  The western culture is essentially a body of knowledge that is derived from reason, and it is not limited to the continent of North America.  In fact it applies to all populations whose histories have been shaped by European immigration or settlement.  

These roots have their basis in ancient Greece; the Roman Empire then built on this, and it was further evolved by a mixture of Germanic, Slavic and Celtic cultures.  These principles spread to the new world through generations of explorers and missionaries.  Today, the mixture of all of these viewpoints has formed what is now known as the modern western culture.

Science is now and has always been a core value of western culture, which has been advancing dramatically in the past decade.  Things our children and grand-children take for granted today were not even in our dreams during our childhood.  Cable TV, Cell phones, computers, internet… these items have changed the way we live our lives.  Each advancements builds on the last, and progress moves faster as time moves on.  Think of the progress of communications from the pony express to the telegraph, party line, individual land line, to today’s cellular technology.  Or in the case of transportation; from the wheeled cart drawn by a horse, to steam and then gasoline powered cart, motorized vehicles and finally to today’s eco vehicles.  The scientific method has played a fundamental role in all of these developments, which have in turn assisted in the advancement of western culture.

The scientific method is the formalized version of the process anyone might use to develop an idea, answer a question or troubleshoot an issue.  We naturally want to find out “what if”, and our natural manner of testing our ideas through observation is the basis of this formal process.  We are fortunate that our society not only encourages this scientific inquisitiveness, it urges us to push the limits.

The accumulation of western cultures advances has been extraordinary to our quality of life, but many have caused numerous dilemmas for our environment.  Because of this we must now look to our accrued knowledge for the solutions.  Now we have the opportunity for further innovations in a new direction, one that preserves our environment rather that depleting it.

With all of this in mind, the question one must really ask is not how western culture has been influenced by the scientific method, but would either exist without the other.  History has shown that it is a mutually beneficial affiliation.


Makarevicius, D. A. (n.d.). Western Culture. Retrieved from Western Culture - Learning Materials for Students.
What is Western Culture? (2009). Retrieved from Western Culture Knowledge Center:
Withgott, J., & Laposata, M. (2014). Environment the Science Behind the Stories (5th edition ed.). Pearson Education, Inc.

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