Scientific Reasoning

## Scientific Reasoning

Science is one of the most successful endeavors of mankind. Through the power of reason and careful observation, humans have found out how to get to the moon, cure diseases, and overcome many of the discomforts of nature. This discussion prompt provides you with an opportunity to practice identifying and evaluating specific types of scientific inference.

Prepare: Read Chapters 5 and 6 from the course text, in addition to the required resources for this week. Search for some scientific discovery that is interesting to you. It could be recent or old. Learn about how that discovery came about, and the type of reasoning that was used (most likely it was an inductive argument). You will be addressing the selected scientific discovery for this discussion.

Reflect: Evaluate the reasoning that was used on the basis of this week’s readings. You will need to do enough background reading to have a general idea of the basis for the discovery. ***Remember that the goal of this discussion is not to simply report what was discovered, but to examine the logic that led to establishing the outcome***

YOU NEED TO THINK ABOUT THE INDUCTIVE ARGUMENT THAT LED TO THE DISCOVERY YOU’RE REPORTING ON…

• Include a link or bibliographical information for the source.
• Briefly summarize the discovery and the process that led to it.
• Explain the sense in which the discovery involved inductive inference. (It is extremely likely that it did.)
• Be sure to clearly demonstrate how the argument is of the type you claim. So, if it is an inductive argument, you need to do your best to write it out. Hint: if you can’t find a more specific type, almost all scientific discoveries can be presented as Inference to the Best Explanation.
• Evaluate the argument using criteria appropriate to its type. State whether the argument is strong or weak.
• Identify ways in which you think the argument might be strengthened or weakened.

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