What, in your opinion, makes a statement scientific?
A scientific statement provides an explanation of a natural phenomenon through the use of objective observation and disciplined experimentation. First, scientific statements provide knowledge of the wide range of physical and natural aspects of the universe. Each of the different fields of the sciences gives us unique insights into a branch of scientific knowledge. Second, this knowledge is conveyed in theories backed by physical evidence obtained through observation and experimentation. Observation and experimentation are essential components of the scientific method because they result in valid and reliable scientific statements.
All the different fields of the sciences form ...view middle of the document...
The high validity and reliability of scientific statements depend on the observations and experimentations performed as part of the scientific method. Scientists develop theories using well-organized scientific procedures which consist of direct and controlled experiments. An example of such an experiment is physicist Ernest Rutherford’s “gold foil experiment.” In 1911, Rutherford performed the “gold foil experiment” to find out why some alpha particles became scattered when fired at a sheet of mica. He set up his experiment by positioning one thin sheet of gold foil between the alpha-ray source and a screen and placing a second screen by the alpha-ray source. He observed a diffuse pattern on the screen behind the foil and he also observed that a few alpha particles bounced straight back on the screen in front of the foil. Rutherford concluded that a strong positive charge at the center of the gold atoms was deflecting some of the alpha particles straight back toward the source and as a result, he discovered the “nucleus” of an atom. More importantly, Rutherford’s findings were considered valid and reliable because his findings were based on factual evidence. In order to answer his question, he conducted a controlled experiment, recorded his observations, and appropriately analyzed his data with an objective state of mind. Nothing was based on his assumptions, beliefs, or expectations. Therefore, the results of the “gold foil experiment” made the statement “an atom contains a small, positively charged nucleus” scientific.
Scientific statements enlighten us with truths about the universe and simultaneously help us avoid illusions by providing us with reliable, testable knowledge.