Topic III. Our Senses and Instrumentation
Context for this filter:
- B. CONCEPT ACQUISITION
- An instrument can have greater precision and accuracy than direct observation or the instruments used to test and calibrate it.
- Exemplary Quotes
- "It sure helped public health and medicine once we realized there were things affecting our health that were just a little too small to see. I wonder if we could have figured that out without the invention of the microscope. I guess we might have just thought there were more invisible entities out there."
- “It didn’t occur to anybody that there was a such a clear periodic pattern in the populations of those wolves and rabbits until somebody just started writing down every sighting—we’re pretty bad at estimating and remembering times between occasional events.”
- “It’s amazing to first see a slow motion picture of a violin string making a note—wouldn’t it be great if our eyes and brains were fast enough to do this?”
- “Do you think that modern technology offering us more different vantage points fundamentally changes our position on any practical questions? For example, does it make a difference that in relatively recent decades we have gotten used to seeing the earth as a whole from space?”
- Cautionary Quotes: Mistakes, Misconceptions, & Misunderstandings
- “We can't really know anything about other galaxies, because we can only see them through fancy instruments and we can never know if the instruments are telling us the truth.”
- A. ATTITUDES
- Place appropriate trust in instruments where direct observation is not possible (or is less precise/accurate).
- C. CONCEPT APPLICATION
- Recognize continuum from direct observation to indirect observation via instruments
- Identify cases in which instrumentation is needed to solve problems (e.g. entities/events are too slow, too fast, too small — that is, those for which we cannot rely on our everyday senses and cognitive capacities), especially in policy contexts.