CORRECTION: Perhaps because the last step of the Scientific Method is usually "draw a conclusion," it's easy to imagine that studies that don't reach a clear conclusion must not be scientific or important. In fact, scientific studies don't reach "firm" conclusions. Scientific articles usually end with a discussion of the limitations of the tests performed and the alternative hypotheses that might account for the phenomenon. That's the nature of scientific knowledge it's inherently tentative and could be overturned if new evidence, new interpretations, or a better explanation come along. In science, studies that carefully analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the test performed and of the different alternative explanations are particularly valuable since they encourage others to more thoroughly scrutinize the ideas and evidence and to develop new ways to test the ideas. To learn more about publishing and scrutiny in science, visit our discussion of .
2. Review the scientific method steps as a class. When the song is complete you can click on lyrics to learn more.
The steps of the scientific method are:
1. Ask a question.
2. Make a hypothesis.
3. Test the hypothesis with an experiment.
4. Analyze the results of the experiment.
5. Draw a conclusion.
6. Communicate results.
CORRECTION: This misconception may be reinforced by introductory science courses that treat hypotheses as "things we're not sure about yet" and that only explore established and accepted theories. In fact, hypotheses, theories, and laws are rather like apples, oranges, and kumquats: one cannot grow into another, no matter how much fertilizer and water are offered. Hypotheses, theories, and laws are all scientific explanations that differ in breadth not in level of support. Hypotheses are explanations that are limited in scope, applying to fairly narrow range of phenomena. The term is sometimes used to refer to an idea about how observable phenomena are related but the term is also used in other ways within science. Theories are deep explanations that apply to a broad range of phenomena and that may integrate many hypotheses and laws. To learn more about this, visit our page on .
CORRECTION: When newspapers make statements like, "most scientists agree that human activity is the culprit behind global warming," it's easy to imagine that scientists hold an annual caucus and vote for their favorite hypotheses. But of course, that's not quite how it works. Scientific ideas are judged not by their popularity, but on the basis of the evidence supporting or contradicting them. A hypothesis or theory comes to be accepted by many scientists (usually over the course of several years or decades!) once it has garnered many lines of supporting evidence and has stood up to the scrutiny of the scientific community. A hypothesis accepted by "most scientists," may not be "liked" or have positive repercussions, but it is one that science has judged likely to be accurate based on the evidence. To learn more about , visit our series of pages on the topic in our section on how science works.
Five minutes: Quickly have each group name the most important sense that helped them identify the object. Write these on the board to see if there is a general consensus, and to springboard into a closing statement about how making detailed observations using as many senses as possible helps in making new discoveries and generating hypotheses. Students will be using these skills all year!
The Council puts James’ judgement in writing in a letter to the Antioch church, and send it with Paul, Barnabas, and two of their own “official emissaries”, Judas called Barsabbas and Silas. In the letter they greet the believers in Antioch (v23), disclaim the teaching of those who had gone to Antioch teaching the need for circumcision (v24), indicate their unity in their decision (v25a), introduce Judas and Silas (vv25b-28), mention the Holy Spirit’s agreement with their decision (v28), list the restrictions upon which they had decided (v29) and wish them well.
As such, he was speaking and teaching accurately what the Hebrew scriptures said concerning the coming of Messiah, but not to the point of having identified Jesus as that Messiah. Luke tells us that he spoke of things “concerning” Jesus and was aware of events only up to the ministry of John the Baptist. We can surmise that he was still looking for Messiah to come, and was fervently trying to prepare Jewish communities in gentile lands for His coming.
In Romans 1:16, Paul writes, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” Bible teachers have many different positions on this statement, and we must consider it carefully.
: When we, in everyday language, say that we believe in something, we may mean many things that we support a cause, that we have faith in an idea, or that we think something is accurate. The word is often associated with ideas about which we have strong convictions, regardless of the evidence for or against them. This can generate confusion when a scientist claims to "believe in" a scientific hypothesis or theory. In fact, the scientist probably means that he or she "" the idea in other words, that he or she thinks the scientific idea is the most accurate available based on a critical evaluation of the evidence. Scientific ideas should always be accepted or rejected based on the evidence for or against them not based on faith, dogma, or personal conviction.
Passage: Acts 14 (Please take the time to read this chapter for yourself before reading this blog post. As always, try to set aside preconceived notions and consider the passage at face value. Do your best to stick to observation — what it says, not what it means. Then be sure to put what I have written to the test against the Scriptures as those Berean believers of old did with Paul’s very words.)
: In everyday language, generally refers to something that a fortune teller makes about the future. In science, the term generally means "what we would expect to happen or what we would expect to observe if this idea were accurate." Sometimes, these scientific predictions have nothing at all to do with the future. For example, scientists have hypothesized that a huge asteroid struck the Earth 4.5 billion years ago, flinging off debris that formed the moon. If this idea were true, we would that the moon today would have a similar composition to that of the Earth's crust 4.5 billion years ago a prediction which does seem to be accurate. This hypothesis deals with the deep history of our solar system and yet it involves predictions in the scientific sense of the word. Ironically, scientific predictions often have to do with past events. In this website, we've tried to reduce confusion by using the words and instead of and . To learn more, visit in our section on the core of science.
: In everyday language, the word usually refers to an educated guess or an idea that we are quite uncertain about. Scientific hypotheses, however, are much more informed than any guess and are usually based on prior experience, scientific background knowledge, preliminary observations, and logic. In addition, hypotheses are often supported by many different lines of evidence in which case, scientists are more confident in them than they would be in any mere "guess." To further complicate matters, science textbooks frequently misuse the term in a slightly different way. They may ask students to make a about the outcome of an experiment (e.g., table salt will dissolve in water more quickly than rock salt will). This is simply a prediction or a guess (even if a well-informed one) about the outcome of an experiment. Scientific hypotheses, on the other hand, have explanatory power they are explanations for phenomena. The idea that table salt dissolves faster than rock salt is not very hypothesis-like because it is not very explanatory. A more scientific (i.e., more explanatory) hypothesis might be "The amount of surface area a substance has affects how quickly it can dissolve. More surface area means a faster rate of dissolution." This hypothesis has some explanatory power it gives us an idea of a particular phenomenon occurs and it is testable because it generates expectations about what we should observe in different situations. If the hypothesis is accurate, then we'd expect that, for example, sugar processed to a powder should dissolve more quickly than granular sugar. Students could examine rates of dissolution of many different substances in powdered, granular, and pellet form to further test the idea. The statement "Table salt will dissolve in water more quickly than rock salt" is not a hypothesis, but an expectation generated by a hypothesis. Textbooks and science labs can lead to confusions about the difference between a hypothesis and an expectation regarding the outcome of a scientific test. To learn more about scientific hypotheses, visit in our section on how science works.