Science Meets Real Life, Essay Example
In the present paper, the interconnection between science and real life is discussed. The main emphasis is placed on everyday practice of science implementation in people’s lives. In this context, application of scientific method in regular cognitive process is explained on the examples of two regular situations and problem resolution techniques applied to them. The second part of the paper is devoted to the practical impact science has in everyday life. The negative consequences of science application are also outlined. Answer to the question of whether people would be able to live without science was also answered. General summery of the course’s contribution to my perception of science was made.
Key words: science, everyday life, scientific methodology, hypothesis, experiment.
Science Meets Real Life
Characteristic feature of a human being is in the ability to separate various aspects of its existence into different categories. At a certain point of thinking, it is useful for a better comprehension of various aspects. On the other hand, this categorization of human life knowledge resulted in degradation of systematic vision of life performance and self-perception in the world. One of the brightest examples is the attitude of ordinary people to science as a discipline, its methodology and results. Most of the people, who are not directly involved in scientific research and are not much interested in it, believe that science has little to do to their lives, and that it is a concern only of smart geniuses and half-insane inventors. In fact, in everyday life science has as much influence on our lives as natural environment. Scientific methodology is in our way of thinking and world perception techniques. Subsequently, in the present paper the topic of meaning of science in everyday life is discussed. In this context, application of scientific method in regular cognitive process is explained on the examples of two regular situations and problem resolution techniques applied to them. The second part of the paper is devoted to the practical impact science has in our everyday life.
In order to show that science is not only about formulas and that we apply it even subconsciously, application of the scientific method in practice of everyday situation would be the most vivid. Before getting straight to the analysis of method’s empirical application, it is worth to explain what components or steps this method includes. First of all, the scientific method is mainly about studying an object or answering a question through a theory/hypothesis, its empirical testing (experiment), observations and making a conclusion of gained knowledge (Gauch, 2003). Subsequently, the main stages of the scientific method include observation and asking the question based on it, measurement of the situation (doing background research or estimation of the problem), constructing/ formulating hypothesis (possible answer to the question), experiment (empirical testing of hypothesis), analyzing results and making conclusions (modification of hypothesis) (Gauch, 2003).
In the suggested situation, when returning home late at night, I turn on the light switch inside the front door and the light does not come on, the first logical thing after observation of the situation would be to ask a question. In the current case, the main question crossing my mind would be “what is wrong?”. Having put the question which I am interested in, I would proceed with further knowledge gathering or measurement of a scale of the current problem. Most likely, I would look into the window of my house and surrounding houses, to see if there was light somewhere (Auyang, 2000). Since it was night, most likely I would not see any. Thus, this observation gives me no essential information in the target field. At this point, I would have already created a couple of suppositions (hypothesis) of what might be wrong. Hypothesis number one would be that there was no light because the bulb had fused. Hypothesis number two would be that there was no light because there was no electricity in the house.
In order to find what is the matter and verify which hypothesis is true or false, I would go the nearest room and try to switch on the light there. This step is the most crucial for the scientific method, since it is empirical part of it – experiment. By switching on the light in another room, I am verifying my hypotheses. On the basis of my experiment, I can make analysis of the data collected and a conclusion about situation. The moment I switched on the light in the living room one of my hypotheses became false. Since there was light in the room, there was electricity in the house. Thus, my second hypothesis was false. Subsequently, my first hypothesis might be truthful. On the other hand, the problem might be also with wires. In order to prove one of those statements, another circle of scientific, rational thinking would take place (Auyang, 2000).
Another common situation of everyday life is when you are on your own at home and hear some noise or sound which you cannot identify right away. The first step would be to observe the situation or, in this case, to listen attentively to the sound, and think what kind of sound it was – voice or noise. The second step would be to identify its specifics whether it was heart well, like from a nearby room, the front floor or outside the house. Hypothesis or supposition would be made on the basis of initial analytical thoughts. On the basis of additional or background knowledge that your mother was about to be back home at this time, you would assume that it was her calling for you to come downstairs. In order to verify/test this hypothesis, you would have to conduct a simple experiment – go downstairs and see for yourself that it was your mother calling for you. Thus, this would be an empirical verification of your hypothesis. When you came downstairs and looked for the source of the voice and saw it was your sister coming earlier from school, your initial hypothesis that it must have been your mother became false. Subsequently, the conclusion of the scientific experiment would be that it was your sister and not your mother who called for you.
From those two situations, it becomes clear that we use the scientific method in our casual rational thinking pattern. We use it sub-consciously and do not refer to it as the scientific method, but rather as a logical and rational thinking. All those interpretations come to one end that people cannot be separated from the science; science is part of who we are (Pilato, 2010). On the other hand, science is also where and how we are. In other words, our current surrounding environment is hugely conditioned by the development of science and its practical application. Thus, we proceed to the second part of the essay devoted to the impact of science on everyday life. It is explained on the description of my everyday routine.
The moment I wake up in the morning, the first thing I hear is the alarm clock greeting me to the new day. Without this small device of scientific creativity, I would not be able to organize my time efficiently and control my biological cycles. Going to the bathroom to take a shower, I see scientific touch in every piece of my regular hygiene – chemical substances, tooth brush, and electric devices like hair-drier (Aikenhead, 2006). What is even more important is that water is no longer a luxury to go many miles for, it runes in few steps from me. Thus, I can take a shower or bath without going anywhere; and it is warm thanks to the central heating. Getting dressed, I realize that my clothes are produced cheaply due to the science. There is no need to go the open markets and barter clothes for other goods. Science simplified all those things (Pilato, 2010). Preparing my breakfast and making coffee, I see science in every stage of preparation. Thanks to science, refrigerator keeps products preserved and fresh, oven and microwave prepare food immediately, and I do not have to look for the wood to make fire in order to cook my breakfast. The most essential scientific achievements for me are coffee machine and toaster. They make morning routine fast and efficient. My way to school does not take hours, instead in forty minutes I might be at the university. Car is a bright example of how science improves human life. The actual distance became irrelevant (Aikenhead, 2006).
At the university, my studying process is improved through the availability of the last scientific technologies contributing to a higher level of comprehension. Through sensor-visual effects of computers, projectors and cyber technologies, I have an opportunity to absorb information in a complex manner of visual-sensual images (Pilato, 2010). Thanks to the internet and on-line libraries, there is no need to stay in the old library and smell old dust. It saves time and efforts in the study process. In my leisure time, after studying, I can go with my friends to the movie and see how people like us become alive in a three-dimensional perspective of the theater. Back home I could watch the evening news in order to keep up on the recent events of national and international scales. The most crucial contribution of science to the modern life is that information from various parts of the world became easier to access and comprehend. The world itself became more interdependent and closer from the perspective of range (Auyang, 2000).
In order to keep up on my friends and relatives, I no longer have to live close to them. I can use the phone to call my grandmother, contract my close friends by mobile phone, and I can talk on skype with my remote friends or find them in facebook (Pilato, 2010). Thus, thanks to technologies and science which is behind it, people became closer to each other, irrespective of the geographical distance. After contacting my relatives, I usually do my homework. At this point, science becomes my best friend, since I can get most of the needed material in the internet or electronic data-bases. I do not have to write my assignment by hand; I type it on my laptop and print it right way with my portative printer. Efficiency and reduction of time consumption are the most crucial benefits of science implementation in the everyday life.
Overall, it can be summarized that science had indeed improved the quality of my life. It became more comfortable than hundred years ago. There is less stress about how to get essentials like water, food and shelter – everything is provided. It gave me an opportunity to become more focused on my personal targets rather than existential routine of everyday life. Thanks to rationalization and computerization of the study process, I have more time for my leisure; thus I can balance both aspects in my life style. In a certain way, life became more predictable, meaning unless some natural catastrophe happens, the life order remain the same. Thus, life became more comfortable and enjoyable due to innovations developed by science.
Since nothing in life can be judged outside bias of positive and negative, science is not an exception. Mixture of science and human evil genius and arrogance brought humanity to the nuclear war threat, development of new contagious diseases, genetically modified food, chemical and wastes pollution of the environment, the Green House effect, disappearance of species and many other negative consequences (Auyang, 2000). In other words, science in bad hands creates more harm than the one in the hands of good people. The overall impact of science development on human existence can be summarized as extremely negative for the Earth and relatively neutral, more positive for human beings (Gauch, 2003). In other words, the comfort of life of some people in the world overcomes the negative impact science causes to humanity, but, in a long-term perspective, the situation might change.
The question concerning surviving without science is of particular interest. I think, for a regular city dweller, surviving in the environment without science would be extremely difficult if not impossible. The main problem in this context is that people, who are used to their high level of the comfort zone, are completely unprepared physically and emotionally for the challenges of the wild life. According to one research, people whose ancestors lived in cities for a few generations are entirely separated from the natural environment of living. Without hot water, food supply, transport and the weapon, they are not able to live (Gauch, 2003). Thus, in the extreme environment, lacking everything of that kind, they would be lost and easy prey for predators. On the other hand, compulsory adaptation to the environment without technology and science is possible but for the strong individuals (Auyang, 2000).
This course had an immense impact on my perception of science. In fact, it changed entirely. I no longer take benefits of science development for granted. Science is a founding element of nowadays development of human civilization. It is present in every aspect of human activity, at the current stage of evolution. Science, like any other phenomenon, has its positive and negative impacts. Depending on the object of that impact, its positive-negative balance may shift. While most of the human beings seem to benefit from science, nature and ecological environment gains most of the negative implications of human scientific activity. In other words, this course contributed to my perception of science as a crucial means of change and improvement, but in order to become universally positive and efficient it should be in the right hands.
Aikenhead, G.S. (2006). Science education for everyday life: evidence-based practice. New York, NY: University of Saskatchewan Publishing.
Auyang, S.Y. (2000). Mind in everyday life and cognitive science. London, LD: McMillan.
Gauch, H.G. (2003). Scientific method in practice. Cambridge, CB: Cambridge University Press.
Pilato, R. (2010). Living Deeply: the Art & Science of Transformation in Everyday Life, Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 42 (1): 115-125
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