History of soil geography in the context of scale

Categories of cartographic scale correspond to the selection of environmental soil predictors used to initially create historical soil maps. Paradigm shifts in soil mapping and classification can be best explained by not only their correlation to historical improvements in scientific understanding, but also by differences in purpose for mapping, and due to advancements in geographic technology. Although the hierarchy of phenomena scales observed in this study is generally known in pedology today, it also represents a new view on the evolution of soil science.

The Cycle of Science

In an earlier post I contrasted induction and deduction while suggesting that induction is the currently favored term used in science. However, I also suggested that the two philosophies can be used in concert with one another. Indeed, as much as one can argue about the virtues of one philosophy or the other, science actually advances …Continue reading “The Cycle of Science”

Is It ‘Deduction’ or ‘Induction’, My Dear Watson?

Sherlock Holmes often talks about ‘deductive reasoning’ but was he really using deduction or induction? Although by definition these two approaches appear to be opposites, in practice, the differences between the two can be subtle. A simplified contrast between deductive and inductive reasoning is that deduction is reasoning from the top down and induction is …Continue reading “Is It ‘Deduction’ or ‘Induction’, My Dear Watson?”

Is It a Scientific Theory or Hypothesis?

This is a common question addressing a popular misconception about how science classifies the knowledge that it has accumulated. The levels of hypothesis to theory to law often get interpreted as classes of confidence. However, this is not really right. The missing piece here is spatial scale! It isn’t easy to draw the line for …Continue reading “Is It a Scientific Theory or Hypothesis?”

The Scientific Method: Does Anybody Really Use It?

It can be hard to match what we learned about the scientific method in school with the scientific literature being published. There are a variety of reasons for this, but generally it is an issue of what is practical (especially within the time frames that sources of funding expect results). Because the classic description of …Continue reading “The Scientific Method: Does Anybody Really Use It?”

What is Science?

For my first blog post, it makes sense to start with the basics. And one of the most fundamental concepts for a researcher to establish is the definition of science. As a starting point, let’s begin with the definition from the Oxford dictionary (which is very similar to definitions found elsewhere): def. Science – the intellectual and …Continue reading “What is Science?”