Review notes: Bio 100 Fall 2002/Dennis
What is Science?
Process for answering questions about nature. We want the most reasonable or accurate answer, which is not necessarily the most popular or the one “backed” by some authority. Rather the most reasonable answer, is the answer supported by the weight of evidence.
The Scientific Method
Observation. This will lead is one or more hypotheses
Hypothesis: A single proposition regarding a single phenomena or a possible cause or explanation for a single effect.
Predication: An expected result if a particular hypothesis accurately explains the phenomenon examined.
Experiment or test: A manipulation of nature producing results that allow an experimenter to support or reject alternate hypotheses.
Results: The actual measured outcome of the experiment or test.
Conclusions: Which hypothesis the results support together with a more elaborate explanation of the phenomena.
What is a theory?
Generally a theory is a collection of general propositions (or hypotheses) that taken together explain a general phenomena. A scientific theory is generated from repeated cycling through the scientific and is thus supported by a large body of experimental evidence. This differs significantly from the layman’s conception of theory! A theory gives us the power to predict outcomes under novel situations. We can never really know how close our theory is to reality, but the more evidence gathered, the closer we come.
What is Biology?
The study of all living things. It is a branch of science.
What is Life?
Life can only be described with a collection of defining statements. No single statement can define life. Refer to the discussion in class.