RES 701, Week 3, Scientific Paradigm


According to Wikipedia, “in science and philosophy, a paradigm is a distinct set of concepts or thoughts patterns, including theories, research methods, postulates and standards for what constitutes legitimate contributions to a field.” According to me, simply it can be defined as a set of assumptions and facts governing how we interact and interpret the information.

Everyone has a paradigm which influenced by outside factors and their own experiences in support of the paradigm. These set of assumptions are assumed to be true and often they cannot be tested. For example, the assumption that God created the universe is an assumption that cannot be tested. But still, humans are trying to prove it only because of the faith involved to believe it.

Scientific Paradigm

Scientific paradigms are those assumptions which are necessary for creating the basis to start research or writing reports. By its nature, science requires the research to make assumptions about the state before beginning the experiment. It also helps the narrow amount of possible theories for the observed phenomenon by rejecting those do not work in the paradigm.

Example: We know that gravity works on all objects exists on the Earth. Hence if we find something in the air floating it should have the capability to lift itself enough to generate force to overpower gravity, or the objects is unaffected by gravity.

Example – Darwin’s Problem

When Charles Darwin shaped his theory of evolution by natural science he came to realize that he had a problem. The problem was there wasn’t enough time for the species and complexity of forms to have evolved by means of natural selection, this was based on the diversity of species and the difference between them.

We believe that the sun and earth are billions of years old, but during Darwin’s time, it was believed that the sun and earth just millions of years old. The reason for the earlier underestimate was a theory that presumed to explain the sun’s heat energy – it was thought to arise from gravitational contraction. As it turns out, the heat released by gravitational contraction is a relatively short-duration effect that severely limits estimates of the earth’s age. Darwin was not able to resolve this problem and hence he considered his findings as incomplete, without a proper satisfying explanation for the various life forms around us.

Long after Darwin’s passing, Einstein’s Relativity Theories led to new ideas about energy, including the theory of nuclear fusion29 in the sun. Einstein’s famous energy equation
E = mc2
tells us that mass possesses an enormous amount of potential energy. Subsequent work demonstrates that a sufficiently high pressure and temperature can ignite a thermonuclear mass-energy conversion process that allows a much older age for the sun and earth resolves an unrelated mystery about the seemingly great age of geological deposits and solves Darwin’s problem.
This is an example of theoretical cross-pollination. Biological theories about evolution, as well as the seeming great age of geological deposits, required more time than the 19th-century explanation for the sun’s energy could provide. The 20th-century Relativity theories neatly resolved these issues, and modern biological, geological and physical theories have become mutually supporting.

Since Darwin’s problem is a world famous one, I thought why shouldn’t I use that itself as an example. Hence I used it. Physics is an interesting topic where all the inventions starts. Hence I used to take some interests in physics regarding some theories and problems like above. Since this one is involved with the evolution species I believe that there may raise many issue which will be more interesting to read and analyze.


  1. Wikipedia
  2. The Scientific Paradigm, Paul Lutus,

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