An Introduction to Natural Sciences- through a card game

The card game was a seemingly straightforward simulation of how scientists conduct experiments and gather data to identify recurring patterns in pursuit of discovering the rules of nature. It seemed straightforward up until variables other than the immediate appearance of the card governed the rules of the game. This brought us back to the reality of just how vast the natural sciences are, and that perhaps the variables that we can observe or choose to find patterns in are possibly not at all the ones that are influenced by the rule but have coincidently been abiding by the rule.

For example, when playing the card game, our team had a hunch for our hypothesis to be true as all the cards we predicted to be accepted, was getting accepted, this made us almost ‘certain’ that we had figured out the rule. But then at some point when another team put down a card that we expected to be rejected was instead accepted we realised that it was a mere coincidence that the pattern we observed coexisted with the rule.

It is kind of scary to think that we might all be a subject to this in real life, but there was a major flaw in our method (which was not very scientific) that misled us into believing our hypothesis was correct. Up until that point we had not thought about trying to falsify our hypothesis, and in fact, as a result of this realised that the data that abides by your hypothesis does not confirm the hypothesis, only supports it. While an attempt to falsify a hypothesis can have a more solid impact on the reliability of the hypothesis. For example in the card game, if we attempted to hand in a black card, even though our hypothesis predicts the next card should be red, the rejection of the card would support our hypothesis, but the acceptance of the card would immediately falsify the hypothesis. From this, we can conclude, it is easier to falsify a hypothesis than it is to prove it right, but a hypothesis that stands the test of time and has consistently failed to be falsified is close is justifiably close to the truth.


Natural sciences seek to establish universal laws, through the analysis of experimental observation and inductive reasoning.

Essentially sceintists are looking to connect the dots between seemingly different things. When doing so they observe patterns and collect data from a very specific experiment and then try to expand this and see how it generally applies to other areas as well. For example in the card game we observed not only the cards that were being accepted but also those that were bring rejected as this ruled out possibile cards, and the anysis of each play where multiple cards were rejected to finally end up with one accepted could be seen as the anlysis of a specific situation, and then to apply those learnings to the next play could be seen as a generlised application and therfore a possible example of inductive reasoning.

Theories approach truth when they withstand falsification, and as a result become robust knowledge.

As I gave an example before when playing the card game the only way to know if our hypothesis matched the rule Mr. Alchin was following is by purposely playing cards that if accepted would falsify our hypothesis, because playing cards that you think will be accepted would not help us justify our hypothesis.

Scientific knowledge tends to advance through imagination which is then backed up by evidence 

I think this especially applies to the theoretical side of science where we are mainly dealing with intangable conditions. For example Enstien was often looked down upon by the other sceintis during his time, because they thought his ideas were just fantasy. Theories such as special relativity and general relativity were only backed up by mathematics but not experimental data in those days. This was somewhat reflected in our card game as well, when the rules were no longer influenced by variables the colour, number, suite or face of he card, to notice the pattern we had to think more creativley about the other posible variables. Without imagination scientists would be limited to researching variables only directly accessable to us humans, essnetially limiting our understanding.

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One Comment

  1. Nick Reply

    Thank you Aarushi; your CUs here are clear, precise and you explain them well. Your mention of Einstein is a good example and shows a clear understanding of the interplay between theory and experimentation. It’s a bit more complex that we have so far implied, and we can come to that in a lesson or two.

    Next lesson we will be looking at all the CUs collectively, to compare what we got. Thank you for this post – good work.

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