Science Basics: Turning a Theory into a Law

In recent times, it seems that people have come to distrust science as a ‘system of beliefs’ rather than ‘the pursuit of knowledge’. Of course, humans have biases that shape what we do, but when it comes to reporting a compelling theory or stating a new natural law, scientists do their homework. Here’s how.

How a Scientific Theory becomes as Scientific Law

  • Determine: This is the ultimate experiment that option reads as a literature review of all previous experiments done in a field. This is the collection of information that provides compelling evidence that this theory is the most well supported. Eg. Review of Neurogenesis in mammals.
  • Block: This is when something is stopped so that scientists can record what happens in its absence. In neuroscience, that usually means creating a brain lesion or studying a person with brain damage. Eg. H.M., Phineas Gage
  • Mimic: This is when scientists try to recreate a natural phenomenon to see if that molecule or sequence of events actually causes the event to occur. Eg. Classical conditioning, fear conditioning.
  • Measure: Using technology, you can measure the likelihood of your observations, watch it happen in real time, and record the results of a simple experiment. In neuroscience, we use fMRIs, PET, and other brain analysis machines.

You too can be a scientist by doing these simple tasks:

  1. Ask a question
  2. Create a hypothesis
  3. Create a more SPECIFIC hypothesis: This usually making the hypothesis a lot longer and muddled with more scientific jargon. In cases when
  4. Test in repeated experiments of different forms.

Now let’s walk through it!

Ask a Question.

Why do we believe that the brain is the center of personality and main control of our behaviour?

Create a Hypothesis

Without the brain, the person is brain dead and incapable of interacting directly with the world.

SPECIFY

If the brain is damaged, either by accident or surgery, the person may experience changes in personality and uncoordinated and/or erratic behavior.

Experiment the Shit out of that Hypothesis

BLOCK: In lobotomies, the number one complaint of the family of the patient is that their personality has changed majorly, whether by becoming dull or by being more erractic and unpredictable. Mental illnesses

MIMIC: In many experiments with mice, the experimenter creates brain lesions that lead to uncoordinated behavior, especially if that lesions are in the striatum. Ex. Lashley Rat Maze,

MEASURE: fMRIs of people before and after major brain surgeries are significantly different. And it doesn’t have to be just a surgery. Addiction, mental illnesses, and weigh loss leads to changes in the brain frequencies that we are able to record.

Enjoy the fruit of Your Labor

DETERMINE: This step usually takes a lifetime…which is why all the Nobel Laureates are pretty old. You need not only your own evidence, but also evidence from hundreds of different scientists, recreation upon recreation, and a couple of statisticians to test how mathematically likely it is that all of you got a similar answer. If it’s not significant, it’s back to the drawing board!

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