What is Science

Do it Yourself


One way to see what science is or is not is to do case studies of science stories that have made it to the media.

Here are a couple of famous statements that have entered the public consciousness over the past decades. Go out on the web and find articles written about these topics. See if you can locate evidence for and against each statement.

I'll start with a couple of easy ones:

There are actual definitive answers to these.

1. Polar bear fur is a fiber optic, it conveys sunlight down the shaft of the hair to the underlying black skin of the bear and thus keeps the bear warm.

2. Glass is a liquid, it flows downhill under gravity given enough time.

3. The atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide gas has increased by 150% since 1880, and is at its highest level in the last 600,000 years.


Here are a couple of harder topics there is a preponderance of scientific opinion in favor of one answer.

4. Electric powerlines produce EMF's, electromagnetic fields, that produce cancer.

5. Humans are responsible for the increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Here are the toughest ones scientists are still divided about the answer.

 6. Sea level will rise 5 meters over the next 100 years


Scientific Explorations with Paul Doherty

© 2002

22 April 2002