Nature of Science


Short-Response Question 1 Prompt:

  • “Naked-Eye Astronomy,” name 2 key landmarks in the night sky and explain how they can be used to help you find other objects, asterisms, or constellations.

One key landmark in the night sky is the Big Dipper, which is an asterism found in the constellation Major. The Bid Dipper is quite a familiar shape in the night sky and can be observed by people living in the northern hemisphere. The Big Dipper has a unique appearance, but this may change due to orientation and its position. The Big Dipper can help find the star Arcturus by following the arc of the Bid Dipper’s handle. By drawing a diagonal line through the Big Dipper’s bowl, one can be able to find constellation Gemini in winter. Canopus is another important landmark in the night sky. Canopus is the brightest star in the southern hemisphere. Canopus can help one to find the constellation Eridanus. It can help in finding the constellation Canis Major, which appears just above the star.

  • Clearly identify each flaw and use examples from the presentation to illustrate your points. The authors of your textbook point to Giordano Bruno as an example of how science and religion have been at odds. “History, Science and Worldview,” explain 2 flaws (problems) that can be found in the textbook claim related to Bruno.

One of the claims by Bruno is that the universe is infinite, and comprised of an infinite number of worlds. Classical understanding of the universe held that the universe was finite, as it comprised of the solar system and stars, which were located just outside the solar system. This was a contentious claim which put Bruno at loggerheads with many religious leaders as well as scientists who held the idea that the universe was finite. Bruno also postulated that the sun was not the center of the solar system, contrary to classical thought that the sun was at the center of the universe. Scientists and philosophers held the belief that the sun was at the center of the solar system, and including the stars. Bruno argued that the sun would appear like a star if viewed from other stars.

Short-Response Question 3 Prompt:

  • “Nature of Science,” explain the difference between historical science and operational science. Define each term and use examples from the presentation to point out the differences.

Historical science refers to those sciences that draw their data from past or historical events and for which often lacks experimental data in the development of conclusions. Historical science aims at evaluating the history of nature and examining the events of the past. Historical science involves the application of a set of beliefs or assumptions in order to make quests about the past. This is because it is impossible to use observational methods to ply the past. An example of historical science is the study of how the universe formed. Operational science, on the other hand, is involved in the testing as well as verification of ideas that are in the present. Operational science leads to the development of new products such as new machines. Operational science is the study of nature in the present. For example, if scientists study the universe as it is today, that forms operational science.

Short-Response Question 4 Prompt:

  • “The Heavens Declare and Men Suppress,” why can’t everyone agree that “the heavens declare the glory of God?” Limit the scope of your answer to the specifics of the presentation.

Everyone cannot agree, “The heavens declare the glory of God” because in the modern world, the fascination to man is not more about the beauty of the universe, but by the sheer vastness of the universe. Prior to the 19th century, scientists had little understanding of the solar system, let alone the universe. In the recent period, scientists have gained a better understanding of the solar system and the universe. For instance, scientists have been able to estimate the age of the earth and develop conceptualizations of how the solar system formed. In addition, scientists can be able to observe galaxies in their early stages of development using telescopes, which confirm the Big Bang theory. This is an indication that the earth also formed through a similar process. Thus, not everyone would agree with the statement.

Short-Response Question 5 Prompt:

  • “Get a Life! The Search for Life in the Universe,” explain the underlying secular reasoning and justification for the search for extra-terrestrial life.

The underlying secular reasoning is that there is probably life somewhere in the universe. The statement “Get a Life!” indicates that searching for extra-terrestrial life can be on its own a career. The justification for the search for extra-terrestrial life lies in the discovery that the earth is not unique, and neither is it at the center of the universe as earlier postulated. In the recent past, there have been discoveries of many systems of earth-like planets orbiting their respective stars, just like the solar system. This gives hope to scientists that, indeed, there could be life somewhere in the vast universe. The current knowledge indicates that there are far more earth-like planets than ever conceptualized in history. Moreover, scientists have only been able to explore a very small section of the universe due to its vast nature. This gives hope that there is life in the universe.


Naked-Eye Astronomy