Foundations of Scientific Inquiry
An introduction to the nature and limits of scientific inquiry. No previous scientific training is necessary. Examples of contemporary science will be discussed, from areas such as evolution, geology and health studies. Students will choose controversial topics from the pages of current scientific magazines aimed at the general public. It is thought by many that the scientific method establishes objective truths about the world. However, many people are critical of science’s ability to deliver knowledge at all, and several challenges have been raised against the idea that science is objective and value-free. These criticisms have serious implications for contemporary issues. Questions discussed will include whether scientific hypotheses can be tested and confirmed; and whether one can distinguish science and pseudo-science.