Testing Theories Essay

Length: 5 pages Sources: 3 Subject: Physics Type: Essay Paper: #27945489 Related Topics: Physics, Nasa, Theories, Theory
Excerpt from Essay :

Philosophy natural science. Given natural science theories: 1. What makes objects fall 2. The missed 2012 apocalypse First, describe theories world / forces operate . These theories, pass Karl Popper's theory demarcation

Natural Science Theories

The idea of the force that makes objects fall has haunted mankind for thousands of years before people actually came to understand how the force of gravity functions. Italian scientist Galileo Galilei is responsible for opening people's eyes regarding this theory, as he studied it intensively and discovered that an object falling to the ground has a rate of 9.8 meters per second, squared. This made it possible for society to gain a more complex understanding of how the force of gravitation works and diverse variables that can influence this process.

Considering that many individuals in the contemporary society have trouble determining whether some objects are likely to fall faster than others, it would seem that Galileo's theory has not pervaded society entirely. What numerous people tend to ignore when saying that heavier objects are probable to fall faster is the fact that Galileo emphasized the gravitational force being the same for all objects in circumstances where there is no air or any other substance that is likely to resist an object's fall (Giancoli 31).

2012 was to a great deal of people a very controversial year and this was mainly due to the fact that the popular culture promoted a theory regarding how the end of the world would take place on the 21st of December 2012. Although it was portrayed in a variety of media devices and although this was one of the main reasons why it came to have so many followers, the theory originates in relatively straightforward texts relating to the Mayan Civilization and its belief that the world would experience the end of a cycle on that particular date. "That end date -- December 21, 2012 -- was found by calculating when in the future the various cycles of the Maya calendar would coincide on a winter solstice day." (Restall & Solari 14)

Although there are obviously a lot of reasons why the world didn't end in 2012, it is intriguing to consider this theory and the effect it had on the masses. Even with the fact that they were not necessarily influenced significantly as a consequence of this theory, many individuals actually considered the prospect of the world experiencing great change on that date. This makes it possible for someone to understand how individuals in the modern society are vulnerable to having their thinking shaped by things they don't have a real understanding of simply because of how public opinion promotes a certain idea.

The Hypothetico-deductive model

When considering the hypothetico-deductive model, each of the two theories can be considered as passing a series of trials meant to determine whether or not it is actually valid.

The theory of gravity originates in Galileo's initial attempt to demonstrate that all objects accelerate at the same speed as a consequence of the force of gravitation. Galileo likely acknowledged the fact that most of his contemporaries could not understand how gravitation works and got actively involved in studying the concept. Using his experience as a scientist, Galileo considered various tests he could perform with the purpose to test his theory.

Even with the fact that the answer to the question "what makes objects fall?" is much more complex than Galileo's contemporaries understood the his theory, the Italian managed to raise their awareness concerning this process and encouraged society as a whole to engage in a journey to learning more about it. As Galileo emphasized, considering a theory is the first step in determining whether or not it is valid. "Galileo's analysis of falling objects made use of his new and creative technique of imagining what would happen in idealized (simplified) cases." (Giancoli 31)

While irrational in the eyes of many, the theory regarding how the world would end in 2012 is actually really valid when considering a series of concepts. The fact that society as a whole is familiarized with the thorough astronomical discoveries...

...

The Mayan society is also known for the fact that it considered spiritual values to be especially important.

In addition to studies regarding Mayan cultural values and the likeliness for the community's predictions to be valid, the media world played an active role in bombarding the population with ideas meant to have people accept information concerning Mayan predictions as being real. The end of the world occurring in 2012 was, in reality, a vicious circle with experts interpreting Mayan predictions, the media world exaggerating these respective predictions, and the masses supporting both camps while also demanding more information concerning the event. "None of the thousands of ruins, tablets, and standing stones that archeologists have examined foretell an end of the world." (Why the World Didn't End Yesterday)

Part 3.

Karl Popper's theory of demarcation was designed with the purpose to assist individuals in being able to differentiate between theories that can be verified and theories that cannot. From his perspective, a theory needs to be addressed by employing a problem-solving process, with this making it possible for individuals involved in studying it to actually test it.

When taking into account the theory regarding how the world would end in 2012, it would be safe to say that this respective theory experienced a series of tests and in many of them it was able to stay strong. However, as Popper emphasizes, a theory cannot be considered valid simply because it stands the test of time when considering individuals verifying it. The fact that people have come across a series of ideas that support the theory's significance is not enough to actually demonstrate that it was valid.

In contrast to the previous theory, the persons involved in demonstrating that the theory of gravity is real were concentrating on using methods that society as a whole would accept. Galileo performed a series of tests with the purpose to be certain that there was actually a force responsible for objects falling. One of his most famous tests involved a stone falling on a stake from distances of 0.2, and, respectively, from 2 meters. Consequent to the test, the stone dropped from a higher point drove the stake further into the ground. This demonstrated that there was actually a force causing the stone to travel faster as a consequence of the fact that it was released from a higher point.

Galileo did not actually demonstrate what the theory of gravity actually involved, but his tests made it possible for people to accept that it actually existed and to join in the Italian scientist's struggle to provide society with a better understanding of the concept.

This being said, it is obvious that the theory regarding the force that makes objects fall can be demonstrated through actually testing it while the end of the world happening in 2012 is impossible to verify. If we take on Galileo's type of thinking and attempt to verify whether an idealized scenario would involve the world actually ending in 2012, the only thing left in this situation would be to wait until that date and verify if the theory is valid. Society before December 21, 2012, could not possibly verify this theory through means other than to actually wait for that date.

Part 4. Reflection

The law of gravity is considered to be perfectly normal in the contemporary society. Even with this, things were different in the seventeenth century, as people had lesser methods to test such a theory and were more inclined to consider that this would be no different from any other theories.

Galileo considered a series of ideas before attempting to provide his community with the ability to understand what makes objects fall. Consequent to this, he focused on using ideas that his contemporaries were familiar with and presented them in a way that would be likely to succeed in opening their eyes. Taking this into account, it would be safe to say that a theory can be supported through testing as long as the testing process uses ideas that individuals seeing it are acquainted with. The fact that the channel of transmission was one probable to reach out to the target public played an important role in having the masses support Galileo and his theories.

Most respected scientists in the contemporary society are probable to have considered the idea of the world ending in 2012 to be nonsensical. The fact that this respective theory did not have any kind of solid argument backing it played an important role in shaping people's understanding of it. This was no different from the Y2K crisis and actually demonstrated the degree to which the masses were able to accept a theory as being valid simply because of the way it was promoted.

Works cited:

Giancoli, D. "Physics - Principles with Applications."…

Sources Used in Documents:

Works cited:

Giancoli, D. "Physics - Principles with Applications." (Aubrey Durkin)

Restall, M. & Solari, A. "2012 and the End of the World: The Western Roots of the Maya Apocalypse." (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 16 Jan 2011

"Why the World Didn't End Yesterday," Retrieved February 22, 2015, from http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2012/14dec_yesterday/


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