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TOK Chapter 8: Natural Sciences

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Blaise Garfall

on 22 October 2013

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Transcript of TOK Chapter 8: Natural Sciences

Natural Sciences Chapter 8 Examples of
Pseudo-Science: The Scientific Method Science and Pseudo-Science What distinguishes science from non-science is a distinctive method.

Science is a way of thinking about the world. Problems with Observation Relevance: The color of your friend's shirt is not relevant to their intelligence.

Expectations: If you're looking for black
swans, you are likely to ignore the white swans.

Expert Seeing: We experience complications with new technology, which may alter observations.

Observer Effect: Measuring the temperature of the tea gives the temperature of the tea plus the thermometer. Testing Hypotheses Confirmation Bias The Problem of Induction Practical Problems Falsification Conjectures and Refutations Science & Society Paradigm= overarching theory shared by a community of scientists, which is used to make sense of some aspect of reality Acupuncture
Feng Shui
Phrenology What is Pseudo-Science? A fake science that claims the status of science while lacking its substance. Differences between Science and Pseudo-Science Vagueness

Ad hoc exceptions
-All swans are white, except that one. That's a mutation. Inductivism Science consists of five key steps:
1. Observation
2. Hypothesis
3. Experiment
4. Law
5. Theory Controllability- varying only one factor at a time so one can determine its effect

Measurability- measuring the relevant variables adds precision and objectivity to one's experiment

Repeatability- one's experiments must be able to be replicated to confirm results Things that make up a good experiment: Background Assumptions Many Different Hypotheses are Consistent with a Given Set of Data People tend to look for evidence that confirms their beliefs and overlook evidence that goes against them We make various background assumptions, which may be false Many hypotheses work with the same data The Principle of Simplicity Given two competing theories which make exactly the same predictions the simpler theory is preferred Theoretical Problems How many observations we should make before we are entitled to make a generalization Science is supposed to be an empirical discipline which makes no claims beyond what has been observed It is basically an imaginative hypothesis and Popper emphasized the fact that there is no mechanical way of coming up with good hypotheses on the basis of observational data POPPER Falsification is conclusive in theory but not in practice.

Auxiliary hypotheses can rescue a falsified theory.

The rationalist strand in scientific thinking. Normal Science When the vast majority of scientists are busy solving problems within a paradigm while taking the paradigm itself for granted Scientific Revolutions A scientific revolution takes place when scientists become dissatisfied with the prevailing paradigm, and put forward a completely new way of looking at things. Assessment of Kuhn's Position 1. During periods of normal science, most scientists do not question the paradigm in which they are operating, and focus instead on solving problems.

2. The history of science suggests that, rather than progressing smoothly, science goes through a series of revolutionary jumps.

3. During periods of scientific crisis, there is no purely rational way of deciding between rival paradigms. Science and Truth A theory of everything??? Some people believe that we will know everything about everything, but we will probably not because we are finite creatures. Science and scientism Science is the only way that we can make sense of reality and discover the truth. Blaise Garfall
Rachel Donohue
Andy Dong
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