Radiometric dating method definition


03-Mar-2016 16:09

This has happened in the past, and it happens today. Haldane, and Sewall Wright between 19 laid the foundation for the field of population genetics.

Some of the most glaring examples of this failure of the scientific method today have to do with the issue of origins. This work in turn, over a period of about a decade (1936-1947), led to the formulation of what is referred to as the neo-Darwinian synthesis or the modern evolutionary synthesis.

If it can give us satellites showing the world's weather in real time, is it possible for this method, under certain circumstances, to fail?

The Method Defined Frank Wolfs, Professor of Physics at the University of Rochester, provides his undergraduate physics students with a good working definition of the scientific method: "the process by which scientists, collectively and over time, endeavor to construct an accurate (that is, reliable, consistent and non-arbitrary) representation of the world." Professor Wolfs, as a research scientist himself, points out some of its limitations: "Recognizing that personal and cultural beliefs influence both our perceptions and our interpretations of natural phenomena, we aim through the use of standard procedures and criteria to minimize those influences when developing a theory.

As a famous scientist once said, ' Smart people (like smart lawyers) can come up with very good explanations for mistaken points of view.' In summary, the scientific method attempts to minimize the influence of bias or prejudice in the experimenter when testing a hypothesis or a theory." Four Essentials of the Scientific Method Just what are these "standard procedures and criteria" that scientists apply in their attempt to arrive at an accurate and reliable representation of the world in which we live?

Most scientists, including Wolfs, boil them down to the four following essentials: If the experiments bear out the hypothesis, it may come to be regarded as a theory or law of nature.

In this day of i Pods, cell phones, the Internet, and other fruits of modern science and technology, most people have at least a passing awareness of the concept of the scientific method.

As Wolfs explains, "No matter how elegant a theory is, its predictions must agree with experimental results if we are to believe that it is a valid description of nature.

There are two fairly obvious reasons for this: 1) many of the crucial processes occurred in the past and are difficult to test in the present; and 2) personal biases are especially strong on topics related to origins because of the wider implications. This so-called modern synthesis integrated the concept of natural selection with Mendelian genetics to produce the unified theory of evolution that has been accepted by most professional biologists.

In physics, as in every experimental science, 'experiment is supreme' and experimental verification of hypothetical predictions is absolutely necessary." Wolfs further notes that this necessity of experiment in the method is tantamount to requiring that a scientific hypothesis be testable.

"Theories which cannot be tested, because, for instance, they have no observable ramifications (such as, a particle whose characteristics make it unobservable), do not qualify as scientific theories." It is fairly obvious that if a hypothesis cannot be tested, it should more properly be called a conjecture or speculation, in which case the scientific method can say little about it. Are there circumstances in which the scientific method ought to work, but for which the method does provide "an accurate representation of the world"--that is, a correct description of the way things really are? As Professor Wolfs mentions above, "personal and cultural beliefs influence both our perceptions and our interpretations of natural phenomena." If the hypothesis-testing process fails to eliminate most of the personal and cultural biases of the community of investigators, false hypotheses can survive the testing process and then be accepted as correct descriptions of the way the world works.

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