Observation, Hypothesis, Experimentation, and Verification.? Review the sections on ?The Scientific Method? and ?Proving a Theory.? Students will respond to the following:
o Evaluate the claims below by using ?the Scientific Method? and ?Proving a Theory? steps.
o Identify one (1) claim which is ineffective or unsupportable and explain what specifically makes the claim ineffective or unsupportable.
o Explain what you think would have to be done to the claim in order to make it more effective or supportable.
1. There is a phenomenon known as ?spontaneous human combustion? in which most of the victim?s body, as well as the chair, in which the person was sitting, is found burned to ashes but the rest of the objects in the room are relatively unaffected. This phenomenon
suggests that there is a new type of subatomic particle: a ?pyroton? that interacts with cells and causes the victim to burst into flame. [Arnold, L. (1995). Ablaze! New York, NY: M. Evans.]
2. Many reported ghost sightings involve reenactments of battles, deaths, or murders. This finding suggests that certain physical objects, such as stones, can record emotions and events like a video recorder. [Kneale, N. (1972) “The stone tape,” broadcast on BBC, December 25, 1972.]
3. No one has ever actually been abducted by aliens. Instead, the experience of being abducted has been beamed into the minds of abductees by an intelligent being from somewhere in the universe that is symbiotically linked to life on this planet. [Rogo, D. S. (1990). Beyond reality. Wellingborough, UK: Aquarian Press.]
4. People often know when others are staring at them. This shows that perception involves not only receiving light rays from an object but also projecting some sort of image onto the object. [Sheldrake, R. (1994). Seven experiments that could change the world: A do-it-yourself guide to revolutionary science. London, UK: Fourth Estate.]
5. Dreams often seem as real as waking experiences because humans are composed of two bodies: a physical body and an astral body. When we dream, our astral body leaves the physical body and travels to the astral plane where the dream actually takes place. [Rampa, T. L. (1990). You forever (York Beach, ME: Samuel Weiser.]
6. Food kept inside a structure with the shape of Cheops?s pyramid stays fresher longer than food kept outside the structure. The pyramid must serve as a lens that focuses some sort of cosmic energy onto the food. [Toth, M., Nielson, G. (1985). Pyramid power (Rochester, VT: Destiny Books.]
? Explore It: ?Survey survival.? Create survey questions associated with the ?Critical Thinking Paper? topic you selected in Week 4. Although this survey activity is not graded, it is a discussion in week 8. Also the information you gather in this exercise will be an important part of your ?Critical Thinking? paper that is due in week 10. This exploration is also in preparation for Discussion 3 in Week 8.
o Following the four (4) criteria for good surveys, create a survey with at least five (5) questions related to your topic.
o Plan where and how you will conduct your survey.
o Ask your survey questions to at least ten (10) people who are unrelated to you or that you have known for less than a month; in other words, do not use friends and family as participants in your survey.
o Compile and evaluate the results of your survey.
o Check your survey for potential flaws, such as poor operational definitions, limited generalizability, failure to use a double-blind design, or jumping to cause-and-effect conclusions from a correlational design.
o Before you start, keep in mind:
The population surveyed must be large enough to get results without having
to generalize from too small of a sample.
??People may lie and tell you what they think you want to hear on a survey.
??Family members and/or close friends are usually not very useful when doing a survey. Since they tend to have the same opinions as you, relying primarily on their answers would create a research bias.
??Surveys are often conducted at shopping malls. As you prepare to ask your survey questions, think about possible drawbacks to soliciting survey responses from people shopping in malls.