Man's physical universe

xanabras

UNIT I

SECTION 3

THE SUPREME CONTRIBUTION OF SCIENCE TO

HUMANITY IS ITS METHOD OF SOLVING PROBLEMS

The acquisition and systematizing of positive knowledge is the only human

activity which is truly cumulative and progressive. — George Sarton.'

Introduction.

In this section you will study the method which Science has found to

yield amazingly satisfactory results in solving problems.

This section

should be read and reread frequently during the year until you thoroughly

understand the significance of every statement.

You should learn the scientific method by using it in solving some

of the problems listed on pp. 25 and 26 or in solving problems of your

own.

The steps in the scientific method do not necessarily follow the order

outlined, and all of the steps may be repeated over and over again in

solving a single problem because problems give birth to new problems

and each problem turns out to be composed of many smaller problems.

The important thing about the scientific method is that generalizations

are based on and tested by data rather than desire, prejudice, plausibility,

or any other consideration.

The First Step in the Scientific Method Is the Location and Definition

of a Problem.

It is seldom difficult to recognize a felt need, but experience has

shown that in case we cannot think of a problem that has not already

been solved, all we have to do is to start gathering data and a problem

will soon present itself.

The problem should be carefully defined in words that are clear and

all irrelevancies should be eliminated. In defining the majority of

problems, data must be obtained.

1

Introduction to the History of Science, Vol. I. Williams and Wilkins, Baltimore. 1927.

20

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