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The universe consists of various living organisms and matter that have a complex relationship between them and other species. Scientists have studied unraveling these complex relationships and the composition of these living organisms.
The body of knowledge that aims at understanding the nature of living organisms and their respective relationships is known as science. Science is the system where data is objectively gathered, analyzed, and concluded through aggressive research. Science cannot be ignored since it is applied in daily operations.
Classification of Science
Science can be categorized into two depending on the mode of its application; pure or applied science. Pure science is natural and does not require human intervention to achieve the expected results. This category of science leads to expected results since the process is repetitive. On the other hand, applied science requires the involvement of human beings who conduct the scientific research process towards specific results. In this science category, dependent and independent variables are tested to conclude the observations made.
Generally, science can be divided into three fields, earth science, physical science, and life science. These fields can be further subdivided to include specific areas of specialization that contribute to science.
Nature of Science
Scientists share common beliefs among themselves and are enthusiastic about their work which involves discovering and explaining certain events for the simple understanding of human beings. Common beliefs shared by scientists are.
First, scientific information is bound to change in tandem with the changes in the universe. As changes are experienced, scientific theories are challenged, and scientists need to discover a new phenomenon that requires to be studied.
Secondly, scientific knowledge exists indefinitely, and new theories are based on past ideas that act as stepping stones for discoveries.
Lastly, they believe that science cannot provide answers to all events in the universe; therefore, they collaborate with other fields of knowledge to understand the universe.
A study should include several characteristics that define science to be classified as scientific.
Firstly, evidence supporting the findings should be provided to determine their validity. This means that the scientist has to analyze, take measurements, and observe to draw valid conclusions. Results achieved from scientific research are subject to further testing and revision where necessary.
Secondly, the investigation needs to be diverse, where everything imaginable can be tested and analyzed. This is because scientists base their research on hypotheses instead of factual data. Science, therefore, ensures a balance between logic and imagination.
Thirdly, the information achieved should be able to explain the nature of events and their predictability. It aims at establishing a common pattern among the variables and if they follow it several times.
Fourthly, science aims at establishing and not favoring certain observations. This is why evidence is necessary if a scientist claims a specific observation.
Lastly, science is diversified. Therefore, everybody is at will to conduct investigations to explain a phenomenon.
Several schools of thought explain the nature of the philosophy of science. The most common is methodological naturalism and critical rationalism. Methodological naturalism affirms that scientific study must be based on measurable data that consists of dependent and independent data.
On the other hand, critical rationalism retains avoiding bias since it is difficult to distinguish between natural and supernatural phenomena. This theory proposes that science should concentrate on avoiding errors and not justifying or verifying them.
Due to the nature of science, researching every living organism is tiresome and time-consuming. Analyzing every single organism would take decades for scientists to come up with valid conclusions. On the same note, technology is a hindrance since it has to be improved to facilitate quick analysis and the delivery of valid results.
Owing to this complex nature, scientific research is based on the results achieved from the analysis of selected specimens belonging to a specific natural order. These results are tested severally, and if similar, the researchers conclude that the phenomenon under study is similar to all organisms in that group. This is referred to as inductive reasoning or induction.
Induction refers to analyzing gathered data from a small sample representing a larger group of organisms and drawing conclusions that apply to the overall group. Observations made from the specimen are purported to apply to other individual organisms in the group. Conclusions are drawn from observations and are conducted through four stages: observation, analysis, inference, and confirmation or revision.
The opposite of inductive reasoning is referred to as deductive reasoning. This reasoning entails narrowing down a specific phenomenon from a general perspective. Assumptions in this form of reasoning entail that common law applies to all situations. This calls for an investigation of the law’s applicability when subjected to a specific case. The results could be either affirmative or negative; thus, conclusions are drawn accordingly. This reasoning begins with a specific theory and testing its validity in different study areas.
In some quarters, inductive reasoning is referred to as the scientific method, which consists of six steps: problem statement, evaluation of the problem, hypothesis statement, hypothesis testing, result analysis, stating the findings, and revision. These steps will ensure the credibility of the results and simplify the repetition process. Many critics have argued that inductive reasoning is meant to misdirect others into believing that one can determine the behavior of a group of items by analyzing samples that will represent the group members.
Although some instances may prove this to be true, they are few compared to the instances where inductive reasoning has been applied and succeeded. On the same note, not all issues can be resolved scientifically thus; m, maybe, these instances are not scientific. Therefore, they cannot be explained scientifically.
Science aims to establish a relationship among several variables and determine a common pattern. By establishing this pattern, scientists can predict future occurrences and their magnitude. These predictions are based on research conducted in the past. Critics of inductive reasoning argue that it is not linked to the future and that new phenomena require new investigations. This would prove to be expensive and time-consuming.
The new phenomenon is generated from a previous one, so it would be wise to further the previous investigations. Nature is a process that progresses in stages that are uniform. These stages can be analyzed, and a common pattern is found that will make it possible for one to determine the future.
According to the critics, there is no surety that the future will resemble the past. However, it is evident in previous findings that nature is uniform and can be predicted. Relationships can be observed at any time without conducting any study, whether through inductive or deductive reasoning.
Advantage and Disadvantage
The main advantage of inductive reasoning is that scientists can discover new phenomena. This is because it allows for the sound integration of logic and imagination that results in these discoveries that further science as an area of study. Scientists can take a common phenomenon and try to fit it into the most unimaginable conditions where they can analyze the results achieved. Whether they are positive or negative, the researcher will conclude or further the investigations.
Secondly, inductive reasoning allows for the open discussion of the phenomenon since the scientists get to answer questions raised on the validity of their results.
On the other hand, discoveries can be made but cannot be proven. This is so because conclusions drawn are based on observation of several samples and not the actual specimens involved.
Although inductive reasoning has its fair share of challenges, it is very useful in analyzing data that has a high magnitude and drawing valid conclusions. Science assumes a wide nature where all matter to be studied cannot be studied alone, thus necessitating the need to collect samples to represent a group’s members. However, inductive and deductive reasoning should be integrated into studies to broaden the analysis of certain men and provide the necessary material to back up their claims.
Curd, M. & Cover, J. A. Commentary: “Philosophy of Science, the Central Issues. Norton Pub., New York, 1998.
Feeney, A. & Heit, E. Inductive Reasoning: Cognitive, Mathematical, & Neuroscientific Approaches. Cambridge Univ. Press, Cambridge, 2007.
Maxwell, S.E. & Delaney, H.D. Designing Experiments & Analyzing Data: A Model Comparison Perspective. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Birmingham, 2004.
Popper, K. The Problem of Induction: Philosophy of Science, the Central Issues. Harvard Univ. Press, Harvard, 1959.