Errors, stages, methods, and peer review are some of the topics that will be discussed
Errors in science
Science conclusions are potentially falsifiable according to some philosophers of science. Observations lead to hypotheses that help explain some aspect of causality relating to the observations. Additional observations to increase the sample size may further clarify the need for modification of the hypothesis. Experimentation may also be used to determine additional aspects of factors determining the results observed. Once hypotheses are supported by sufficient observations and/or results of experimentation, they are accepted as theories. The process carried to an extreme with the theory not being refuted can result in the theory being accepted as a law. Alternatively, there can be opposing theories explaining the same question.
An example of the last statement is the theories explaining the origin of the moon (Wikipedia, moon). The most popular theory for some years has been the moon resulting from a major object of appropriate size striking the earth at a very specific angle and speed. The probability of such a precise event is very low according to its proponents. Similarity of moon rocks and earth are thought to support the theory.
An alternative is the accretion theory. It suggests the moon started as a smaller mass trapped in our orbit and then grew by asteroids, meteorites, and other space debris impacting on the moon. Since the earth would also receive many of the same types of accreting objects, the theory also explains the similarity of earth and moon and any other heavenly body enjoying similar composition of rocks. The objects would also hit the moon at random places thus having net zero rotation mass added to the moon and thus help explain the moon always keeping the same hemisphere toward the earth.
The earth’s larger initial mass would keep it from slowing its rotation at the same rate the moon did even though the earth received much more accreted mass. If the asteroids began as a collision of one or more major planets between Mars and Jupiter, a large portion of the debris would likely have reached into our orbit and been a source of accreting materials for both moon and earth. At least one study has suggested that impacts of asteroids or other similar objects were much more frequent than today during one pre-Cambrian period. The sum of such evidence seems to make the accretion theory of much higher probability than the low probability theory of the moon originating from an earth strike. The chance of one or more smaller objects striking earth a glancing blow and adding additional accreting fragments to the mass of the moon would seem to be of intermediate probability.
Stages of science
Naming phase; structure-parts-features; their functions; principles and interactions
The naming phase of science was particularly important in the development of biology due to the many kinds of organisms. It is important in all aspects of science and knowledge so that when we communicate we can know when we are talking about the same thing. Our ability to group things by similarity on different levels contributes to the further growth of science. The things with greater similarity can be clustered according to features in common and observation of such groups results in naming structures, parts, and other features of the object and/or group named. This first, or alpha, phase of biology is the naming phase and is called taxonomy. Taxonomy is often referred to as systematics when it includes more comprehensive information. The name given the organism needs basic description adequate to differentiate it from other named organisms.
Once organisms are named, the second phase, a more detailed investigation of structure can follow. Anatomy and morphology are both the study of structure. Anatomy is more concerned with the relationship of the various parts of an organism while morphology is more concerned with the details of shape.
The third phase investigates the functions of the parts and/or the whole and in biology is called physiology. In medicine, specialists often are designated by the region of the body or the system they deal with. Specialization goes to extremes in dealing with some systems. Ophthalmologists, audiologists, and dentists have one end to work on while proctologists, gynecologists, and urologists have another.
The fourth phase could be split in to many, one for each of some study of principles, relationships, or interactions involving more than the individual or object of study. Ecology, genetics, and evolution are in this phase. The findings of principles from this phase can be of value in advanced studies of earlier phases.