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CES210: Chapter Two Notes

by: Emma Eiden

CES210: Chapter Two Notes CES 210

Emma Eiden
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Principles of Science and Systems
Introduction to Conservation and Environmental Science
Mai Phillips
Class Notes
Principles, Principles, Of, Of, sciences, sciences, and, and, Science, Science, CES210, conversation, andEnvironmental
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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Emma Eiden on Tuesday October 4, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to CES 210 at University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee taught by Mai Phillips in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 24 views. For similar materials see Introduction to Conservation and Environmental Science in GN Natural Science at University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee.

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Date Created: 10/04/16
CES210: Conservation and Environmental Sciences Chapter Two: Principles of Science and Systems WHAT IS SCIENCE? Science- a process for producing knowledge methodically and logically - Science rests on the assumptions that the world is knowable and that we can learn about the world by careful observation - Basic Principles of Science: Empiricism, Uniformitarianism, Parsimony, Uncertainty, Repeatability, Proof is elusive, Testable questions Science depends on skepticism and accuracy - Scientists demand reproducibility because they are cautious about accepting conclusions - Here, the one decimal place would be a significant number, or a level of detail you actually knew Deductive and inductive reasoning are both useful - This logical reasoning from general to specific is known as deductive reasoning - We can develop a general rule that birds migrate seasonally. Reasoning from many observations to produce a general rule is inductive reasoning Testable hypotheses and theories are essential tools - Science also depends on orderly testing of hypotheses, a process known as the scientific method 1. Observe 2. Propose a HYPOTHESIS 3. Develop a test 4. Gather data 5. Interpret your results - When an explanation has been supported by a large number of tests, and when a majority of experts have reached a general consensus that it is a reliable description or explanation, we call it a scientific theory - Note that scientists’ use of this term is very different from the way the public uses it. To many people, a theory is speculative and unsupported by facts. To a scientist, it means just the opposite: While all explanations are tentative and open to revision and correction, an explanation that counts as a scientific theory is supported by an overwhelming body of body of data and experiences, and it is generally accepted by the scientific community, at least for the present Understanding probability helps reduce uncertainty - One strategy to improve confidence in the face of uncertainty is to focus on probability. Probability is a measure of how likely something is to occur. - Sometimes probability is weighted by circumstances: Suppose that about 10% of the students in this class earn an A each semester Statistics can indicate the probability that your results were random - Statistics can help in experimental design as well as in interpreting data. Many statistical tests focus on calculating the probability that observed results could have occurred by chance. - Ecological tests are often considered significant if there is less 5% probability that the results were achieved by random chance Experimental design can reduce bias - The study of colds and sleep deprivation is an example of an observational experiment, one in which you observe natural events and interpret a causal relations between the variables. This kind of study is also called a natural experiment, one that involves observation of events that have already happened - To avoid this bias, blind experiments are often used, in which the researcher doesn’t know which group is treated until after the data have been analyzed. In health studies, such as tests of new drugs, double-blind experiments are used, in which neither the subject (who receives a drug or a placebo) nor the researcher knows who is in the treatment group and who is in the control group - In each of these studies there is one dependent variable and one, or perhaps more, independent variables Models are an important experimental strategy - Another way to gather information about environmental systems is to use models. A model is a simple representations of something  A climatologist can raise that variables for CO2 levels and see how quickly the variables for temperatures respond. These models are often called simulation models, because they simulate a complex system Systems Involve Interactions  A system is a network of interdependent components and processes that together have properties beyond of individual parts  Feedbacks are self-regulating mechanisms in which the results of a process affect the process itself  Homeostasis (the ability to maintain stability) and resilience (the ability to recover from disturbance) are important characteristics of systems - The ideas of systems, including ecosystems, are central in environmental science. A system is a network of interdependent components and processes, with materials and energy flowing from one component of the system to another Systems can be described in terms of their characteristics - Open systems are those that receive inputs from their surroundings and produce outputs that learn the system. Almost all natural systems are open systems. In principle, a closed system exchanges no energy or matter with its surrounding, but these are rare. Often we think of pseudo-closed systems, those that exchange only a littler energy but no matter with their surroundings. - A positive feedback is a self-perpetuating process Systems may exhibit stability - Negative feedbacks tend to maintain stability in a system. We often think of systems exhibiting homeostasis, or tendency to remain more or less stable and unchanging - For example, a tree is more than just a mass of stored carbon. It provides structure to a forest, habitat for other organism, it shades and cools the ground, and it holds soil in place with its roots SCIENTIFIC CONSENSUS AND CONFLICT - Ideas and information are exchanges, debated, tests, and retested to arrive at scientific conses, or general agreement amount informed scholars - Great changes in explanatory frameworks were termed paradigm shifts by Thomas Kuhn, who studied revolutions in scientific thought. According to Kuhn, paradigm shifts occur when a majority of scientists accept that the old explanation no longer explains new observation very well. This shift is often contentious and political, because whole careers and worldviews, based on one sort of research and explanation, can be undermined by a new model. Sometimes a revolution happens rather quickly Detecting pseudoscience relies on independent, critical thinking - A part of the confusion lies in the fact that media often present the debate as if it’s evenly balanced. The fact that an overwhelming majority of working scientists agree on the issue doesn’t make good drama, so some media give equal time to minority viewpoints just to make an interesting fight. - Given this highly sophisticated battle of “experts”, how do you interpret these disputes, and how do you decide whom to trust? The most important strategy is to apply critical thinking as you water or read the news - The astronomer Carl Sagan proposed a “Baloney Detection Kit” to help identify questionable sources and arguments Additional Key Terms to Study (from my quizlet): two-principles-of-science-and-systems-flash-cards/


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