PSYCH! (Not the Show)
Since Medieval times, science has improved drastically. This is due to technological advancements and abandoning failed hypothesis. In doing so, scientists were able to build off of their past failures and develop these ideas into scientific paradigms. Scientific Paradigms are theories or methods that are used as standards for their respective fields. These paradigms are key to new research because they pave the way for future scientists to be able to make more discoveries that are more enhanced in their respective fields. With more of these hypotheses being discovered and proven true, more scientific paradigms are formed. However, these scientific paradigms also constrain scientific research. They do this by setting a certain guideline as for what new scientists and researchers should base their discoveries on and limit them in thinking outside the box.
Medieval science began with three different scientific paradigms, astrology, alchemy, and folk belief. Astrology is the belief that the lives of humans are predestined by the movement of celestial bodies (Molumby and Murray, 28). Astrology cannot be falsified because it is based on observations of astrological movements. Alchemy is the idea that “metaphysical” processes are used to change one object to another (Molumby and Murray, 28). A common use of alchemy in Medieval times was altering the element lead or silver to gold. This theory was later falsified when Archimedes used the displacement level of real gold versus “fool’s gold”, which is lead or silver that alchemists would “change” to gold. He figured that each element had its own density, and that silver or lead could never truly be made into real gold because their densities would be different (Toomer). Finally, folk belief are generally common held ideas that is kept alive through word of mouth (Molumby and Murray, 29). None of three scientific paradigms I listed above are still accepted today. However, these were all accepted and used in day to day lives of populations living in the Medieval times.
We were given two experiments to complete, a Card Guessing Experiment and an Astrology Comparing Experiment. Both of these experiments were used to prove whether we were “psychic” or if astrology was really true. For the Card Guessing Experiment, the null hypothesis is that we are simply guessing the cards instead of “predicting” the sign on the card. For the Astrology Comparing Experiment, the null hypothesis would be also be guessing which scenario matched with each horoscope. On the other hand, the alternative hypothesis for the Card Guessing Experiment is being able to successfully predict the sign on the card and for the Astrology Comparing Experiment, the alternative hypothesis is whether or not the horoscopes have any true meaning.
For the Card Guessing Experiment, each group will be given 25 cards. Within each deck of cards, there is an equal amount of each type of card, and there are 5 types of cards in every deck. Since there are two people per group, each person will have their own specific role. One person will be the “viewer” and the other will be the “recorder”. The viewers role in the experiment is to guess the symbol on each card that is presented to them, and the recorders role is to make sure that the viewer is not able to see what the symbol is on each card. Also, they should make a mark for each correct guess and a different one for each incorrect guess.
For the Astrology Comparing Experiment, each person is given eight separate journal entries and a list of eight horoscopes with their description. Each person should match the eight-separate journal entries to each of the eight different horoscopes (you can match more than one entry to one horoscope). Once each person is done matching, they should determine how many they got correct and how many were incorrect.
Card Guessing Experiment Trial 1 (Figure 1.1).
Correct 6 5
Incorrect 19 20
This table compares the expected values versus the observed values for Trial 1
Pie Chart comparing the expected values versus the observed values for Trial 1 (Figure 1.2).
Chi-Square Test Critical Value: 3.84
Chi-Square Value (Trial 1): 0.25
Card Guessing Experiment Trial 2 (Figure 1.3)
Correct 1 5
Incorrect 24 20
This table compares the expected values versus the observed values for Trial 2 (Figure 1.3).
Pie Chart comparing the expected values versus the observed values for Trial 1 (Figure 1.4).
Chi-Square Value (Trial 2): 4.00
Astronomy Comparing Experiment Trial 1 (Figure 2.1).
Correct 9 8
Incorrect 54 55
This table compares the expected values versus the observed values for Trial 1 (Figure 2.1).
Pie Chart comparing the expected values versus the observed values for Trial 1 (Figure 2.2).
Chi-Square Test Critical Value: 3.84
Ch-Square Value (Trial 1): 0.25
Looking at the data from the Card Guessing Experiment, we can see that the observed number of correct responses for Trial 1 is six, which is one more than the expected number of correct responses, and the number of observed numbers of incorrect responses is nineteen, which is one less than the expected number of incorrect responses. Using this data, I concluded a chi-square value for this trial was 0.25. The chi-square critical value found was 3.84. The reason for the chi-square value for Trial 1 being so small is because the observed and the expected numbers were very similar. If the chi-square value for a trial is less than 1.00 then it supports the null hypothesis, which is that the viewer was simply guessing each sign on the card instead of using our “psychic” abilities to predict the sign on the card. For the second trial of the Card Guessing Experiment, the observed number of correct responses was one, which is four less than the expected number of correct responses. The observed number of incorrect responses for Trial 2 is twenty-four, which is four more than the expected number of incorrect responses. Using this data, I found that the chi-square value for Trial 2 was 4.00. Since this value is greater than 1.00, then it generally would support the alternative hypothesis that the viewer was predicting the signs instead of guessing. However, this result is misleading because if the viewer was using their psychic abilities, then they would predict more correct responses than the expected, but in the case of Trial 2, it is the opposite, and it seems that they are purposefully predicting the responses wrong. So, in reality, even though the chi-square value for Trial 2 is greater than, it still supports the null hypothesis, which is that the viewer does not have any psychic abilities and is guessing the sign on the card. Looking at both of these trials, it is obvious that the null hypothesis is proven to be true, which states that we are simply guessing the cards instead of “predicting” the sign on the card.
For the Astrology Comparing Experiment, the null hypothesis would be also be guessing which scenario matched with each horoscope while the alternative hypothesis is whether or not the horoscopes have any true meaning. Looking at the data from Figure 2.1 and 2.2, the observed number of correct responses for Trial 1 of the Astrology Comparing Experient is nine while the expected number of correct responses is eight. The observed number of incorrect responses is fifty-four while the expected number of incorrect responses is fifty-five. Using this data, I found that the chi-square value for Trial 2 was 0.25. The chi-square critical value is 3.84. The reason that the chi-square value is small is because the observed and the expected are very similar. If the chi-square value is less than one, then the null hypothesis is accepted, and the alternative hypothesis is rejected. For the Astrology Comparing Experiment, we were only able to conclude one set of data because we used the data for the whole class, instead of doing our own data set between my partner and me.
While looking at the results from both experiments, we can tell that scientists were right in moving away from the three scientific paradigms that were established in the Medieval times, alchemy, astrology and folk belief because all of these paradigms are either falsifiable, like alchemy and astrology, or they are untestable, like folk belief. However, the issue is that this data was obtained over a very small sample size, and we cannot generalize over the whole population.
Molumby, Alan, and Darrel L. Murray. Adventures in Populations and Communities. 10th ed. N.p.:Stipes L.L.C, n.d. Print.
Toomer, Gerald J. “Archimedes.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 28 Mar. 2018, www.britannica.com/biography/Archimedes.
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