Questions for Thought and Discussion

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The following questions are related to the reading “Science as Storytelling.” You need to accurately answer each one of the following questions by using details/evidence from the reading. Adding outside sources is also expected. Please make sure that you properly cite your work.

1. Just because an observation isn’t reproducible, it does not follow that it is false. However, do you think Rule #1 is still a good idea for the practice of science, or is it too limiting? Please explain your answer.

2. What if a scientific observation turns out later to be incorrect? Does that necessarily mean the scientists who made the observation did something wrong? Or could it simply mean that they were unlucky, didn’t know exactly what to look for, misinterpreted what they were seeing, etc.? Please explain your answer.

3. Even if there is no exact “Scientific Method” that is a sure road to the truth, do you think the way scientists go about their work is reasonable, given our human limitations? Why, or why not?

4. Naturalism assumes that the world works in a regular, predictable manner, with no supernatural interference. Do you think this is always, mostly, sometimes, or never true? Based on your answer, do you think it is wise, in a practical sense, for scientists to assume that the world always works in a regular, predictable manner? Discuss the story of Hippocrates in relation to this question.

5. Do you think it is reasonable for scientists to assume Uniformitarianism when reconstructing the past? Why, or why not?

6. Do you believe nature is simple enough for humans to truly understand? Why, or why not? If not, do you think it is still reasonable for scientists to make this assumption in their work?

7. Scientists generally do not think that they will ever reach the point where they have successfully explained everything. However, do you think there is merit in trying, anyway? Please explain your answer.

8. If a scientific explanation turns out to be wrong, did the scientists who came up with it necessarily do something wrong in their work? Please explain your answer.

9. What role do you think science should play in your decision-making and belief systems? Please explain your answer.

10. After reading the article “Science as Storytelling,” how would you answer the accusation, made by some religious groups, that historical theories such as Stanley Miller’s theory on the origin of life on Earth are inherently weak because no one actually observed the events or changes in question? Please explain your answer.

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