Questions On Making Scientific Discoveries

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Honors 232, Biology in Society, Lecture #2 Questions 1. Making scientific discoveries is a winding and complicated process. At the core of all science is testing hypotheses and theories. Hypotheses are proposed explanations for a broad set of phenomena; theories are broad and natural explanations for a diverse spectrum of phenomena, often incorporating many hypotheses. Regardless of these differences, hypotheses and theories result from scientific ideas that have been strongly scrutinized and widely proven. Initially, a researcher wants to test a scientific idea. The researcher can make predictions about what will happen if this scientific idea is put in action. Through experiments and careful observation, a researcher can collect evidence like data or qualitative observations. Upon analysis and interpretation of these results, the researcher can see if his or her initial predictions match up with the results to form a scientific argument. If there is conflict between the results and predictions, the scientific argument has less support; if the results and predictions match, the scientific argument has more support. When something is known to be true through direct observation, it is fact. However, the tentative nature of scientific ideas makes facts hard to find. Thus, the survival of constantly changing hypotheses and theories in the world of science is dependent on whether or not they explain phenomena and answer questions. 2. When systems cannot be manipulated by experiments, scientists must rely on “natural experiments” already set-up by the universe and make observations about the results. Often these observation methods have to be more creative. For long distance observations, like radiation from stars, scientists can t... ... middle of paper ... ...f sloppiness and fraud. It is true that the content of these peer-reviewed articles may not be completely accurate or conclusive, but other scientists have no choice but to deal with them, either by accepting the results or working to disprove the results. Regardless, other scientists can have faith that these peer-reviewed articles meet a high standard. 4. Does alcoholism have a genetic component?; search terms= alcoholism genetics Paper #1: Shared additive genetic influences on DSM-IV criteria for alcohol dependence in subjects of European ancestry.; Paper #2: Effect of Functionally Significant Deiodinase Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms on Drinking Behavior in Alcohol Dependence: An Exploratory Investigation.; Paper #3: Regulator of G protein signaling 6 is a critical mediator of both reward-related behavioral and pathological responses to alcohol. (to be printed)
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