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By the end of this section, you will be able to:
  • Describe the steps of the process of scientific inquiry and apply them to specific examples.
  • Distinguish between independent variables of interest, controlled variables, and dependent variables.
  • Describe controlled experiments and explain why they are desirable.
  • Explain the basis of a double-blind experiment and how it can help avoid bias.

Like geology, physics, and chemistry, biology is a science that gathers knowledge about the natural world. Specifically, biology is the study of life. The discoveries of biology are made by a community of researchers who work individually and together using agreed-on methods. In this sense, biology, like all sciences is a social enterprise like politics or the arts. The methods of science include careful observation, record keeping, logical and mathematical reasoning, experimentation, and submitting conclusions to the scrutiny of others. Science also requires considerable imagination and creativity; a well-designed experiment is commonly described as elegant, or beautiful. Like politics, science has considerable practical implications and some science is dedicated to practical applications, such as the prevention of disease (see [link] ). Other science proceeds largely motivated by curiosity. Whatever its goal, there is no doubt that science, including biology, has transformed human existence and will continue to do so.

Scanning electronic micrograph depicts E. coli bacteria aggregated together.
Biologists may choose to study Escherichia coli ( E. coli ), a bacterium that is a normal resident of our digestive tracts but which is also sometimes responsible for disease outbreaks. In this micrograph, the bacterium is visualized using a scanning electron microscope and digital colorization. (credit: Eric Erbe; digital colorization by Christopher Pooley, USDA-ARS)

The nature of science

Biology is a science, but what exactly is science? What does the study of biology share with other scientific disciplines? Science (from the Latin scientia, meaning "knowledge") can be defined as knowledge about the natural world.

Science is a very specific way of learning, or knowing, about the world. The history of the past 500 years demonstrates that science is a very powerful way of knowing about the world; it is largely responsible for the technological revolutions that have taken place during this time. There are however, areas of knowledge and human experience that the methods of science cannot be applied to. These include such things as answering purely moral questions, aesthetic questions, or what can be generally categorized as spiritual questions. Science has cannot investigate these areas because they are outside the realm of material phenomena, the phenomena of matter and energy, and cannot be observed and measured.

The scientific method    is a method of research with defined steps that include experiments and careful observation. The steps of the scientific method will be examined in detail later, but one of the most important aspects of this method is the testing of hypotheses. A hypothesis    is a suggested explanation for an event, which can be tested. Hypotheses, or tentative explanations, are generally produced within the context of a scientific theory    . A scientific theory is a generally accepted, thoroughly tested and confirmed explanation for a set of observations or phenomena. Scientific theory is the foundation of scientific knowledge. In addition, in many scientific disciplines (less so in biology) there are scientific laws , often expressed in mathematical formulas, which describe how elements of nature will behave under certain specific conditions. There is not an evolution of hypotheses through theories to laws as if they represented some increase in certainty about the world. Hypotheses are the day-to-day material that scientists work with and they are developed within the context of theories. Laws are concise descriptions of parts of the world that are amenable to formulaic or mathematical description.

Questions & Answers

How many bones of 1 year childrean
R.k Reply
208
Rani
A baby's body has about 300 bones at birth. These eventually fuse (grow together) to form the 206 bones that adults
Manali
Somebudy seys me 300
R.k
A baby's body has about 300 bones at birth. These eventually fuse (grow together) to form the 206 bones that adults h
Manali
I ask you about beby bones
R.k
i cann't say about 1 year baby's bones bt on birth baby has 300 bones
Manali
Ok thank you goodnight
R.k
good night
Manali
have a sweat dream
Rani
it's 300 bones because it a baby
Jasper
figure of male reproduction
Rani Reply
front view of male reproductive system
Rani
front view of male reproductive system
Rani
what is Actin? I don't understand this definition
Rhonda Reply
Actin is a family of globular multi-functional proteins that form microfilaments. 
Lauren
what is the difference between a vaccine and a antiserum
Silver Reply
An antiserum contains antibodies already produced and is used to pass on immune responses. A vaccine contains a substance that stimulates the production of antibodies to create an immune response.
Nana
A vaccine a preparation of antigens for one (or more) diseases that is given to stimulate active immunity and protect against the disease (s). while an antiserum either neutralizes the "infection " or stimulates your immune system to attack an infection.
Oliver
what is deoxyribonucleic acid
Carlene Reply
A negatively charged molecule; polymer of nucleotides found in the nucleus of a cell ... DNA.
Abayomi
guys u needs your help i am in this conversation but i don't understand what you guys were talking about please i need your help.
Asali
Hi
Janelle
hi
Oliver
hello
Rani
how are you doing?
Jasper
DNA is genetic material which is present in cell DNA is made up of nitrogen base,phosphate group and pentose sugar.
Manali
hi
Jasper
give a front view of male reproductive system
Rani
to maintain certain biological activities of cell
jeeni Reply
what are difference between maleriya and dengue
Shaili Reply
caused by two different agents.. malaria is caused by Culex mosquito in birds and Anopheles in humans.. while dengue fever is caused by Aedes mosquito
Rayyan
what is oral pill
Rani
what is oral pilli
Rani
pili is hair like appendages found on cell surface and play important role in cause disease
Manali
correct
Jasper
what is immune system
Shaili Reply
system that defends the body against invading microbes n pathogens... (white blood cells makes immune system)
Rayyan
what is interferon's ?
maya Reply
interferon is any group of glycoproteins, produce by the immune system.
Henry
what is immune system
Shaili
immune system is the defence mechanism that protect our body to unwanted particles
Manali
the difference between human biology and principles of biology
Henry Reply
human biology is the studying of stucture and of function of the body and the principles of how humans interacts with men, animal and plants around them and the social activities that take place.
Kay-Anna
human biology is the studying of human body structures function in the way of interacting physical and internal. while biology is the study of living and non living things.
shanta
what is Mitosis/Meiosis? What are the similarities and differences?
Abayomi Reply
differences: occurence... one in somatic n other in germ cells no of daughter cells.. 2 and in meisis 4. genetic recombination... only occurs in meiosis during crossing over no. of chromosomes.. remains same in mitosis n reduced to half in meiosis major phases... similar karyokinesis n cytokinesis
Rayyan
karyokinesis... divided into prophase.. meta.. ana.. and telophase... in meiosis.. further division into meiosis 1 and meiosis11 so phases are named as pro1..meta1..ana1..and telo1
Rayyan
differences among phases.. prophase.. other changes similar.. but diff occur in meiosis where synapsis, crossing over,chiasmata formation and tetrad form metaphase... in mitosis chromosomes align at equatorial plate.. in meiosis homologouy chromosomes align at equatorial plate.
Rayyan
anaphase.. in mitosis chromatids gets separated in meiosis chromosomes gets separated.. meiosis 11 is similar to mitosis except that during interkinesis.. duplication in S phase doesnt occur
Rayyan
What is the difference between prokaryotic and eukaryotic organisms
AAlfred Reply
Prokaryotic cell are unicellular, lacks a membrane bound organelles ... e.g bacteria and archea. Eukaryotic cells are multicellular, membrane bound organelles ... e.g Animals, Plants, Fungi, Algae.
Abayomi
in one line prokaryotic cell's nucleus is under develop and eukaryotic cell's nucleus is well develop
Manali
what are organelles
Lorella Reply
Organelles are specialized structures in the that perform a specific function. Examples: mitochondrial , Golgi apparatus, etc.
Francis
Organelles are specialized structures in the cell that perform a specific function. Examples: mitochondrial, ribosomes, etc.
Francis
what connect bone to bone
Rebecca Reply
ligaments
Abayomi
what is the function of appendix?
Isaya Reply
it don't have any function
Rebecca

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Source:  OpenStax, Human biology. OpenStax CNX. Dec 01, 2015 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11903/1.3
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