Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Misconceptions About the Scientific Method

Many believe the scientific method to be the only way that an experiment can be correctly run and also the only way to end up with accurate data. This belief can be true in some cases and shouldn't be pushed aside as completely false, but that statement is not always true and there are many examples to prove otherwise. In order to make new scientific discoveries and further our understanding of the world we live in, we need creative minds finding out just how to test what we know.
Most people are first introduced to the scientific method in elementary school and automatically are taught that it needs to be a very specific and unbendable process in order for it to work correctly. For small kids doing simple experiments this may be true but once they grow the ability to self design labs comes into play. I can’t even remember how many labs I have self designed now that I’m a senior in high school and many ended up being nothing like another students. The differences go to show that there are many ways to run a lab and also end up with correct results.
Some people look at science and think that it is bland and boring, something that is run the same way every time and under strict supervision when in fact that isn't completely true. For instance, in biology there is not just one way to find cures to diseases or viruses. One famous example of when the scientific method was not used was when penicillin was discovered by Alexander Fleming on uncleanly food in a science lab. No one intentionally left it there with the hope that it would help to save lives, but it still ended up producing the helpful bacteria. This was not a planned experiment that used the scientific method, but it led to some massive breakthroughs in medicine later on that would use the scientific method.
Scientists also have to be very creative when trying to discover new information or collect data more efficiently. If science was continually some the same way over and over then tithing new would be learned. Scientists however work off of the data that those before them have collected and turn those older ideas into ones that have more practicality in our modern world. Francis Crick and James Watson were able to come to their huge discovery of DNA’s double helix without the work of fellow scientists like Linus Pauling. The belief that science needs to be run in one specific way just narrows the possibilities down and hurts the scientific community. If people weren't allowed to test new things that may seem pointless at the time but then turn out to be very useful, progress wouldn't be possible.
Overall, the scientific method can be bent and shaped into a more practical idea for scientists when the need arises. If it had to be strictly followed word for word then science would become bogged down by all the time wasted doing everything by the book. This isn't bad in every case but sometimes you just need to try your luck in order to get something to work and even if it goes wrong you can build off of it. Just because your hypothesis may be wrong or the setup doesn't work, that's knowledge that can be passed down to others or knowledge you yourself can use later.
To say that science is too structured and cannot utilize people's’ creative sides is a highly believed misconception that really needs to be erased. Without people thinking of new and innovative ways of doing things, there would be little to no advancements in the biology world or other types of science as well. Science also isn’t just a yes or no answer, most of the time it will lead you to an answer that requires new research and a new hypothesis to be formulated. People need to realise that it's necessary to think outside the box in order to make science a working process and after reading this I hope that you can see this clearly.







References
Oops! The 5 Greatest Scientific Blunders. (n.d.). Retrieved December 21, 2016, from http://www.livescience.com/32051-greatest-scientific-mistakes.html
Steps of the Scientific Method. (n.d.). Retrieved December 21, 2016, from http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project_scientific_method.shtml
The real story behind penicillin. (n.d.). Retrieved December 21, 2016, from http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/the-real-story-behind-the-worlds-first-antibiotic/

2 comments:

  1. I really liked you Alexander Fleming example, I did not see it in any of the essays I have read and it really caught my attention. Good job fam.

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  2. You make some really solid points, Lincoln! I particularly like how you discuss the mistakes made that turned out to be important. The creativity it took to recognize these mistakes mattered is what drives science.

    On a structural note - be sure to include your citations within the paper and there was a 5 source requirement. Otherwise - this was fun to read :)

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