34 THE INTELLIGENT SOLUTION OF PROBLEMS that he also possesses the critical faculty which enables him to distinguish between fact and fiction. STUDY QUESTIONS 1. Can you think of examples in which the senses give incorrect impressions because of previous associations? For example, a cup of coffee containing a lump of dry ice will appear to be steaming, and the observer reports that the coffee is steaming-hot. How may such errors in observation be eliminated? 2. Can you add to the following list of possible sources of information concerning a physician? Which of these sources of information would you have selected before reading this list? Which of these sources would you consider to be most reliable? What type of information would you expect to obtain from each source? Which sources would you try at first, and which ones would you use as checks? Police records, druggists, medical schools and undergraduate colleges, churches, neighbors, hospital where interne work was done, medical associations, hospitals where the physician sends patients, better-business bureau, credit-rating bureau, dentists, clinical and X-ray laboratories, specialists in allied fields, oculists, undertakers, insurance agents, health centers, emergency hospitals, lodges, physicians in neighboring cities, chamber of commerce. 3. List the most important senses and point out briefly how each sense may contribute to untrue or inadequate observations. 4. List some of the particular examples of abnormalities in the sense organs which you have observed to >ield inaccurate data. 5. What do you consider to be the greatest source of error in making observations? 6. How may errors in obsersation be avoided? 7. How does experimentation differ from casual observation? 8. How do scientists and nonscientists differ in regard to the observations that they make? 9. W'hat objectives of laboratory training were mentioned in this section? 10. What objectives of general education were mentioned in this section? IL Define the fundamental units of the metric system of measurement. 12. Why should the metric system of measurement be universally adopted?
Introduction. UNIT I SECTION 5 ORGANIZATION IS NECESSARY TO GIVE SIGNIFICANCE TO DATA While mathematics has often provided tools far beyond the needs of the Science of the time, on the other hand, many data have not been capable of interpretation until many years after they were obtained because the mathematical tools had not yet been invented. A great deal of the time required for the preparation for work in the physical sciences must be devoted to the mastery of such tools as algebra, plane geometry, descriptive geometry, solid geometry, trigonometry, and differential and integral calculus. This training in the use of the mathematical tools of Science is just as important to the elimination of errors in organizing, classifying, and interpreting data as is training in the use of the senses in obtaining reliable data. There Is No Ultimate Form of Mathematical Reasoning. Mathematics provides methods of arriving at general conclusions based upon certain arbitrarily chosen definitions. It is very important that these definitions be so clearly and concisely stated that every scientist will use the same definition. The chief reason for the multiplicity of technical terms in Science is that they are necessary to provide precise definitions. If new postulates are introduced or old terms are redefined, the mathematical treatment has to be revised accordingly. Thus Newton's assumption that time and space are independent gave rise to a system of mathematics differing considerably from that based on Einstein's postulate that time and space are related. There is no ultimate form of mathematical reasoning any more than there is any ultimate form for an automobile or airplane. The forms in each case change as old faults are eradicated and new improvements are added. Inasmuch as all scientific generalizations are obtained by mathematical reasoning based on arbitrarily chosen assumptions, it is quite evident that there is no absolute generalization in Science and that any tentative generalization or even law is subject to change when new data indicate that certain original assumptions were not justified. 35