Presentation on theme: "Biology, Biologists, and Society What is science? Science is a way of knowing based on experimental or observational evidence and its interpretation. Science."— Presentation transcript:
Biology, Biologists, and Society What is science? Science is a way of knowing based on experimental or observational evidence and its interpretation. Science is a discipline largely defined by its primary method – the scientific method.
Discovery or observational science. Hypothesis-driven or experimental science. Two Primary Approaches to Science
How (Most) Science Works – The Scientific Method and Hypothesis-Driven Science Its not all mechanics - intuition, hunches, and a feel for the system under study drive scientific investigations. Should be falsifiable.
A Classic Application of the Scientific Method Note that its fine to have more than one testable hypothesis.
Note that two independent experiments reject the hypothesis of spontaneous generation and support the alternative hypothesis that life comes only from existing life. A Classic Application of the Scientific Method
Rejection of a hypothesis proves it wrong; support of a hypothesis doesnt prove it right. Scientific Proof?
Some Scientific Questions Cant Be Answered By Experimentation Discovery or observational science is still science; falsifiable hypotheses based on natural phenomenon are proposed to best account for observations.
Provisional Assent – Scientific Ideas Can Only Be Proven Wrong A theory stands because observations or experimentation never proves its tenets wrong. This doesnt prove the theory is correct – only that its never been proved wrong. In this sense, scientific knowledge is provisional. But whats a theory?
Fact, Hypothesis and Theory These terms, especially theory, are commonly misunderstood. A hypothesis is a testable prediction. A fact is an undisputed piece of information derived from observation. A good hypothesis should be falsifiable. A theory is a general set of principles that explain some natural phenomenon. Examples of scientific theories are the theory of gravitation, the atomic theory, the cell theory, and the theory of evolution.
What Kind of People Are Scientists? Reality: Scientists can be egocentric, emotional nutcakes at least as well as anyone. The Textbook Case Scientists are dispassionate and always reasoned in their approaches to their discipline and the world around them.
Science and scientists of all kinds are poorly understood by the public and scientists tend to poorly understand the public How Does Society Understand Biology and Biologists?
The Scope and Limitations of Science (REVIEW) Science acquires knowledge through examination of falsifiable hypotheses based on natural phenomena. This sets a limit on science; science cannot speak directly to such issues as morality or religion. The domain and limit of science are often misunderstood.
What Does Biology Offer Society? Lots in terms of medicine, agriculture, maintaining a healthy environment, and basic understanding of ourselves and our world.