Check Your Understanding
1. List 4 attributes of science.
- A way of learning about the world
- A body of agreed-upon knowledge about how our world works
- The practice of making observations and testing ideas with evidence
- A process of challenging, improving and revising our understanding of how our world works
- A system of checks and balances to ensure accuracy
- An iterative process or work in progress that builds upon prior investigations and refines ideas
- A democratic process that moves forward by building consensus
2. True or false: Science is about proving truth.
False. Science is not about immutable laws but provisional explanations that get revised when a better one comes along.
3. True or False: Science is a perfect process.
False. Scientists can and do make mistakes—sometimes inadvertently and sometimes purposefully. Just as in any field, there are scientists with integrity and scientists without integrity.
4. What is the "gold standard" for scientists to disseminate their research findings?
The gold standard for scientists is “peer-reviewed journals.” The peer-review process works to minimize the effects of human bias and error in the scientific process. Unfortunately, peer review is not a good way to catch scientists who deliberately fabricate or manipulate data. Detecting fraudulent data can only be done by other researchers carefully replicating the work of others. This is why the reporting of research methods and raw data are an important part of the scientific process. Checking a scientist’s background and credentials also is critical in determining expertise.
5. Explain why scientific uncertainty does not mean the science is flawed.
Scientists do not operate with 100 percent certainty. Findings are based on probabilities. New evidence can invalidate predictions and even modify well-accepted understandings. In many respects, uncertainty is critical for science because it spurs scientists to engage in further investigation and research.
6. According to the plot, what is the relationship between the number of chickens in the U.S. and Major League Baseball players' salaries?
- The increase in players’ salaries is linked to the increase in the number of chickens
- The increase in players’ salaries caused the increase in the number of chickens
- There is no relationship between players’ salaries and the number of chickens
- The increase in the number of chickens and increase in players’ salaries reflect changes in the U.S. economy
C. There is no relationship between players’ salaries and the number of chickens.