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TITLE OF ASSIGNMENT: Reflective Journal


COURSE TITLE: Science Medicine and Technology

STUDENT ID: 400004435

DATE: October 26, 2019

When I signed up to do my Bachelor of Law at the University of the West Indies,
I never expected to do any course which involves Science Medicine and
Technology because in my view science and medicine had nothing to do with my
Law program. So, I was quite surprised when I was told I had to do this course as
one of my foundation courses. To be blatantly honest, I actually thought this was
going to be a waste of a few hours of my already limited time.

The course was lectured by Mr. Deryck Murray and my tutorial was taught by
Ms. Felicia Dujon. I must admit that prior to doing this course, I did not truly
understand the difference between Science and Technology. I have learned that
technology in this regard, is the tools and techniques for controlling and changing
one’s environment. Science, on the other hand, is the discovery, description, and
understanding of facts about nature, on either a large or small scale about things
living or otherwise. Science is about building theories that allow us to explain the
behaviours of the things around us and to make predictions about their behaviours
under different circumstances.

It is said that science drives technology and technology drives science. Many of
the tools available to collect and process data make observations, record and share
information and test hypotheses about the natural world were designed because
there was a scientific need. In other words, there were scientific endeavors that
could not be pursued until the right tool existed.

It was also as a result of this course that I have come to realise how much of an
influence science is in our daily lives. From the most technical such as helping
technology to evolve into what is it today. It has brought us mobile devices, which
almost everyone has today but was not so decades ago. Science has enabled us to
fly from country to country, the constructing of buildings, bullet trains, aero
planes, an artificial island and even traveling to space. Science is even in our basic
way of thinking and coming to a conclusion about something.

One of the most intriguing parts of this course thus far for me was our lecturer on
induction, deduction reasoning, and the hypothetico-deductive approach. Within
these topics, we were taught the methods of how scientists come to conclusions
after observations. Which to my surprise was the method we use on a daily basis
to come to the conclusion, just I was not aware there was a name for it.

Inductive and deduction are scientific methods used in logic. Logic is the science
that evaluates an argument. The purpose of logic is thus to develop methods and
techniques that allow us to distinguish good arguments from bad.

Inductive reasoning is the bottom-up approach, it starts with a small observation

or question and works its way to a theory by examining the related issue. This is
more exploratory in nature when compared to deductive reasoning. For example,
if Jack borrowed $5.00 from me and promised to repay by the end of the week
and did not. James also borrowed $3.00 and promised to repay and Peter also
borrowed $20.00 and promise to repay and neither Jack, James or Peter ever
repaid the money as promised, based on this observation given that Jack, James,
and Peter are all men and Tim comes along and ask to borrow money, I will come
to the conclusion that Tim will not repay any money borrowed.

In order for generalisation to be considered inductivists believes that three

conditions must be satisfied which are: (i) The number of observations leading to
the generalisation must be large. (ii) The observations must be repeated under a
wide variety of conditions. (iii) No observation should conflict with the derived
universal law.
It was said that condition (i) is necessary because it would not be legitimate to
conclude that all metal expands when heated after just one observation of the
expansion of one metal bar. Neither would it be legitimate for us to conclude that
all trees are green just because we have seen one very green tree. A large number
of independent observations are necessary before any generalization is justified.
This is where condition (ii) comes in, as new and more observation would be are
required under various conditions. In other words, we would have to heat various
types of metals under different conditions to generalize whether all metal expands
under heat. The same would go for the tree we would have to observe various
trees in various condition to come to the conclusion and generalization that all
trees are green. If one of the metal bars does not expand when it is heated or one
tree is not green, then the universal generalization stated above would not be
justified and this where condition (iii) is essential.

Deductive reasoning is also known as the top-down approach. This starts with a
general statement, theory or hypothesis and works its way down to a conclusion
based on various pieces of evidence. Deduction is therefore a statement about the
properties or behaviour of a particular object or situation that is derived from what
is already known about the group to which the particular object (or situation)
belongs. This is an argument in which the premises are claimed to support the
premises to be true and the conclusion false. In such an argument the conclusion
is claimed to follow necessarily from the premises.

I learned that within this method the conclusion which one arrives at is built on
statements known as premises. Deduction generally starts with a general law
which is your major premise, then you have your specific case and then your
conclusion. For example:
We were taught that as long as the premises are true then the conclusion must be
true. However, there are instances where the deductive argument can be invalid,
this occurs where all the premises are true but the conclusion is false. For
i. All banks are financial institutions
ii. Wells Fargo is a financial institution
iii. Therefore, Wells Fargo is a bank.

Deductive arguments can also be unsound, this is where the deductive argument
has one or more false premise or both. For an argument to be unsound, the false
premise must actually be needed to support the conclusion.
i. All students are intelligent.
ii. Akbar is intelligent.
iii. Therefore, Akbar is a student.

Hypothetico-deductive approach was another method address in this course. It is

based on using observations to formulate hypotheses, testing them under
controlled conditions and arriving at conclusions, based on the findings of the
tests. These findings may not support the original hypothesis.

It is a form of deductive reasoning in that it begins with general principles,

assumptions, and ideas, and works from them to more particular statements about
what the world actually looks like and how it works. The hypotheses are then
tested by gathering and analyzing data and the theory is then either supported or
refuted by the results.

This method has been broken down into four steps, the observation, Hypothesis
formation, the prediction and the experimentation.
The method, identify the hypothesis to be tested, generate predictions from the
hypothesis, use experiments to check whether predictions are correct and if the
predictions are correct, then the hypothesis is confirmed. If not, then the
hypothesis is disconfirmed.

For example:
i. Suppose one morning my car refuses to start. I might consider the
hypothesis that perhaps the battery is dead. So, I would decide to test
whether this is true.
ii. Given this hypothesis, I predict that the car should work properly if I
replace the battery with a new one.
iii. So, I proceed to replace the battery, which is the "experiment" for testing
the prediction.
iv. If the car starts again, then your hypothesis is confirmed, and so you throw
away the old battery. If the car still does not work, then the prediction is
false, and the hypothesis is disconfirmed. So, you might reject your original
hypothesis and come up with an alternative one to test.

This is clearly another example of how science is intertwined in our daily lives.
The above example is something most of us do on a regular basis and like me, I
am sure that a lot of other people are not aware that it is a scientific method.

These topics have shown me thus far that scientific methods are tools that we
utilize in our daily lives and are unaware of they really are. This course has so far
given me a different perspective and appreciation for Science Medicine and
Technology. From our basis observation of something and coming to a
conclusion is the scientific method conclusion.