The Power of Scientific Thinking in Daily Life: 5 Stories

I believe that the world is founded upon “rationale.” When this belief is implemented in everyday life, there is a rationale behind most predicaments.

The Sino-Canadian scientist McDonald authored a book specifically delineating several anecdotes of employing scientific methodologies in life. These anecdotes revolve around observations, hypotheses, and verifications.

Raymond is a university student. Over the past fortnight, he has experienced recurrent episodes of hiccups. It wasn’t of great concern, and Raymond remained indifferent. Raymond’s elder sister, Diana, visited him and noticed his hiccups. After spending three days together, Diana proposed that Raymond reduce his consumption of oranges.

Raymond used to consume one orange per day. One day, he read somewhere that a single orange can provide approximately 50 mg of vitamin C, while the human body requires an intake of 100 mg of vitamin C daily. Consequently, he began consuming two oranges per day. Curiously, it appears that his hiccups commenced after increasing his orange intake. Diana explained that oranges contain a substantial amount of citric acid, and Raymond’s hiccups may be attributed to his stomach’s inability to tolerate such acidity. Raymond promptly reverted to consuming a solitary orange daily, and the hiccups ceased.

Diana astutely observed Raymond’s hiccups and daily orange consumption, leading her to formulate a conjecture that proved accurate.

Observation is an active endeavor. Although we cannot attend to every detail, we must remain highly attuned to anomalies to identify the underlying issue. Consequently, we must possess a mental framework, comprehending the intricacies of matters—such as the potential connection between hiccups and food. What distinctive item did he consume? An orange. Only then can we generate sound hypotheses and capture pivotal information.

Mary spent her childhood alongside her grandmother. Since her teenage years, she has frequently experienced skin rashes throughout her body. Grandma accompanied her to numerous doctors, yet no remedy proved effective.

Upon graduating from high school, Mary embarked on studies in the United Kingdom, where her rash spontaneously healed. Following her graduation, Mary returned to Macau to resume living with her grandmother. Surprisingly, the rash resurfaced, albeit to a lesser extent than before.

One day, she suddenly realized that her grandmother’s house possessed a new washing machine. The severity of her rash diminished alongside this change. Could it be attributed to the improved efficacy of the new washing machine? Perhaps Mary was allergic to the laundry detergent! Consequently, Mary commenced rinsing her clothes twice, and indeed, the rash subsided.

Mary’s cognitive process was profoundly scientific. When all conditions remain constant, it becomes arduous to discern the pivotal element. One must concentrate on observing those “variables.” With no other alterations, solely this factor changed, suggesting that the new phenomenon may be attributable to this factor.

The so-called “hypothesis” constitutes a conjecture regarding the cause or principle underlying an occurrence. One merely needs to speculate “why.”

A couple acquired an antiquated abode and joyfully relocated. One day, the wife found herself in the kitchen and chanced upon a cat in the backyard. It gazed at her through the glass door. As she possessed a natural fear of felines, the wife became quite anxious. Fortunately, the cat eventually departed after observing her for a while. However, the wife subsequently realized that cats visited her backyard daily, and they were not the same cats each time—sometimes several felines arrived together.

The wife deliberated with her husband on the course of action. At that moment, she recollected glimpsing a cat belonging to the previous homeowner during their initial house viewing. Analyzing the situation, they postulated whether the backyard cats came to interact with the former cat. If that were the case, and the cat had relocated, it was unlikely the visiting felines would return after a while if they failed to locate it.

Consequently, the couple decided to adopt a wait-and-see approach. As expected, after several weeks, the cats ceased their visits.

Occasionally, a more intricate hypothesis may be necessary.

A family of four dined at a restaurant, initially ordering a set menu for four people but desiring an additional dish. The wife inquired with the waitress regarding the restaurant’s finest dish. The waitress recommended a fish dish, citing her husband’s delight upon consuming it the previous week. Accordingly, the wife added the fish to their order. Unexpectedly, when the fish arrived, it proved to be unappetizing. What could be the cause? The husband ventured a conjecture. He stated, “This restaurant is rather small, likely employing only two chefs. Let us presume that one chef possesses exceptional skills, while the other may be mediocre. The set menus consist of standardized, comparatively affordable dishes. Therefore, adhering to conventional wisdom, the chef with mediocre skills would handle them, whereas the exquisite dishes would be entrusted to the skilled chef. However, when we ordered both the high-end fish and theadditional dish, the mediocre chef prepared the fish, resulting in its subpar quality.”

The couple requested the waitress to confirm their hypothesis. She confirmed that the skilled chef primarily handled the high-end dishes while the mediocre chef managed the standard fare. The husband’s hypothesis was proven correct.

These anecdotes demonstrate the application of scientific methodologies in everyday life. They emphasize the importance of observation, generating hypotheses, and verifying them through further investigation. By employing rationale and critical thinking, we can better understand and navigate the complexities of the world around us.

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