Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Steps to Life

As I mentioned last week, this week’s blog is going to focus on the next aspect of the Scientific Method, hypothesis. The third step is prediction. Because hypothesis and prediction go hand in hand, I’m including prediction in this post as well.

But first, let’s remind ourselves what the word science means. The word science comes from the Latin "scientia," meaning knowledge. (

Do we have an understanding of what “knowledge” means?

a(1): the fact or condition of knowing something with familiarity gained through experience or association (2): acquaintance with or understanding of a science, art, or technique b (1): the fact or condition of being aware of something (2): the range of one's information or understanding c: the circumstance or condition of apprehending truth or fact through reasoning ; d: the fact or condition of having information or of being learned (a person of unusual knowledge) ( )

Why do I go to such lengths to define the terminology that we are using? Sometimes we take for granted words that we use every day without considering the impact those words have or really mean. The words from the definition that stick out in my mind are: familiarity, understanding, being aware of something, and circumstance or condition of apprehending truth. Remember these, they will come in handy later.

Okay, so now we’re ready to tackle the second step of the Scientific Method. Our first resource, “Science Made Simple,” says the following about hypothesis. This word basically means "a possible solution to a problem, based on knowledge and research." The hypothesis is a simple statement that defines what you think the outcome of your experiment will be. (

In other words, the hypothesis is a single question complemented by a simple answer that proposes a solution to your original question or consideration. Our experiment will be based on whatever we define our hypothesis to be.

With our topic in mind, my hypothesis will be:

TOPIC (or question): “Given the scientific data of what it means to be human, does the pre-born child qualify as a human being?”
OBSERVATION: I believe that the pre-born child does qualify as a human being because:
(1) From the moment of conception, every piece of information that a person needs to be human is contained in the dividing cells of that embryo (zygote).
(2) Through informal, exploratory observations, the growth of the human embryo always results in a human being.

The third step in the Scientific Method, prediction, is the part of the method that allows you to “get specific -- how will you demonstrate that you hypothesis is true?” (

Let’s use these definitions to work our way through the second and third steps of the Scientific Method for the pre-born child.

Through the diligent research of Crick and Watson, we know that every living thing has DNA and that DNA is unique to each particular life form (We know that the DNA of a fruit fly is separate and unique to the DNA of a human. While chimpanzees, orangutans, and gorillas most closely “relate” to human through DNA (chromosomal mapping is similar in specific areas, but humans have 23 chromosomes), human DNA is still unique.

What is even more mind-boggling is the fact that each human’s DNA is unique to them. So for example, even though both Tom and Judy have human DNA, their particular genes are unique to them. Each and every person contains their own genes within their 23 pairs of chromosomes that make up their DNA. We know from familiarity that is true. We observe other humans on a daily basis. We see that even though siblings are related, they are still their own unique individuals. This leads me to the understanding that every human is unique and should be given respect that human life demands.

Our next step is to tackle the informal observations part of the hypothesis. This is rather easy. For example, the growth of the human embryo always results in a human being. We are aware that when a human female is pregnant, she will always give birth to either a male or female human being. Our being aware of something is that we (from the time that we are small) are not worried that our mother is having a puppy or a kitten, but a human being. This is also the circumstance or condition of apprehending truth.

Now that I have the observations set, it is relatively simple to come up with the following prediction.

Using DNA as evidence, the pre-born child is a human being.

Pretty fun, huh?

Next week, we get into some interesting thoughts with the next step of the Scientific Method, the experiment. Until then, consider how you might approach such an experiment.

Thanks for tuning in!

1 comment:

Kay Day said...