discussion n peer responses

Scientific Reasoning


Science is one of the most successful endeavors of mankind. Through the power of reason and careful observation, humans have found out how to get to the moon, cure diseases, and conquer most of the discomforts of nature. This discussion prompt gives students practice identifying and evaluating specific types of scientific inference.


Prepare: To prepare for this discussion read 6 in our textbook, in addition to the required resources for this week. Do some research into some scientific discovery that is interesting to you. It could be recent or old. Learn about how that discovery came about, and the type of reasoning that was used.


Reflect: Evaluate the reasoning that was used on the basis on this week’s readings. You will need to do enough background reading to have a general idea of the basis for the discovery. Remember that the goal of this discussion is not to simply report what was discovered, but to examine the logic that led to establishing the outcome.


Write: Within the course of your posts this week, make sure to do all of the following with reference to specific concepts from this week’s assigned readings:


  • Include a link or bibliographical information for the source in your discussion post.
  • Briefly summarize the discovery and the process that led to it.
  • Explain the sense in which the discovery involved inductive inference. (It is extremely likely that it did.)
  • If it did, present a portion of the process as an instance of one of the types of inductive argument covered in this week’s readings. Be sure to clearly demonstrate how the argument is of the type you claim. Hint: if you can’t find a more specific type, almost all scientific discoveries can be presented as Inference to the Best Explanation.
  • Evaluate the argument using criteria appropriate to its type. State whether the argument is strong or weak.
  • Identify any ways in which the argument might be strengthened or weakened.


Response to three peers


Respond substantively to at least three of your classmates’ posts. In your responses, address some of the following, or similar, questions (remember to provide your reasoning). Have they correctly identified the form of the argument? Are there other ways the argument might be viewed that are at least as appropriate? Does the discovery involve other types of inductive argument that were not discussed? If the argument was presented as an inference to the best explanation, what other explanations might explain the phenomenon? How might the argument be strengthened? Is the argument strong enough to be accepted as fact? Were there any factors that might have further weakened or strengthened the inference? What insights from the chapter could be used to help to understand the reasoning that was used?


Peer A


A few years ago I visited an exhibit at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia that was fascinating. It was an exhibit called “The . Terracotta Warriors”. Since this week’s discussion post involves sharing an interesting scientific discovery, I automatically thought about the Terracotta Army.

In the year 1974, a Chinese farmer dug up fragments of terracotta. He had accidently uncovered an amazing scientific discovery. Buried underneath that land were thousands of life size statues that were over 2,000 years old. The soldiers were buried in three pits, guarding the tomb of their master, China’s first emperor.

“The pits are situated less than one mile to the northeast of a tomb constructed for the first emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang (259 B.C. – 210 B.C.). The three pits (a fourth pit was unfinished) contain an estimated 8,000 life-size terracotta figures of which about 2,000 have been excavated. The figures were created to serve the emperor in the afterlife and include a mix of chariots, cavalry, armored soldiers and archers” (Jarus 2016).

The exhibit I visited was part of an exhibition tour where some of the actual Terracotta Soldiers and their weapons were on display to the public.

Here is the link to the article I am using for this discussion post:

https://www.discovermagazine.com/planet-earth/scientists-find-out-why-the-terracotta-armys-weapons-were-so-well-preserved (Links to an external site.)

This particular article is not so much about the history of the discovery of the Terracotta Soldiers, but about the theory as to how the soldier’s weapons have remained preserved for over 2000 years. This is where inductive inference comes in. The discovery of the preserved weapons led the scientists and archaeologists to reasonably believe that this ancient Chinese civilization had developed a method to prevent the weapons from rusting. Testing of some of the weapons revealed trace amounts of the element chromium which is found in stainless steel. Based on this premise, it was determined that Qin’s subjects had invented a chromium based anti-rust barrier to treat their weapons. This would be an example of inference to the best explanation.

But wait, there’s more! Deductive inference has now come into play recently regarding the theory of the preserved weapons. Based off of findings from new research published in an article in Scientific Reports in 2019, “The chromium anti-rust treatment should be abandoned” (Andrews, 2019). After re-examining the weapons, the small traceable amounts of chromium were found to be mainly on the handles and triggers of the weapons. These parts of the weapons were made of wood and coated in lacquer, which contained the small amounts of chromium. Furthermore, the new findings determined that traces of chromium were only on a few of the weapons, thus debunking the theory that Qin’s army had invented and purposely applied an anti-rust treatment to their weapons.

Ok, so then how were these ancient artifacts really preserved? Researchers have attributed the preservation to the high tin content in the bronze pieces of the weapons, tin helps to prevent corrosion. After recently testing the soil that the Terracotta Army was buried in, researchers discovered that it contained alkaline, which prevents natural acids and organic matter from eating away at metals. This evidence, along with the fact that only a small fraction of the weapons had traces of chromium, led to the refutation of the original theory that was based on abductive reasoning. This new theory is an example of hypothetico deductive reasoning.


Argument for the article:


Premise 1: The best preserved weapons of the Terracotta Army had the least amount of chromium.


Premise 2: Only a small fraction of the weapons examined had traces of chromium, 37 of 464.


Premise 3: Findings from a study done in 2019 revealed that the combination of the high levels of tin in the bronze pieces of the weapons along with the amounts of alkaline in the soil that the Terracotta Army was buried prevented the metal from rusting and corroding.


Conclusion: Therefore, chromium is not the reason behind the preservation of the weapons of the Terracotta Army.


I feel that the argument is strong based on the premises presented. The original theory that the weapon preservation was due to the application of a barrier containing the element chromium, could not be proven. It was an at best explanation. The recent research findings provide reasoning that is backed by actual scientific evidence. The argument is pretty strong. Perhaps it could have been even stronger had they tested more weapons for traces of chromium.

Peer B

Scientific discovery is an interaction or a result of a fruitful logical request. Its fundamental target is to find things, occasions, cycles, causes, and properties just as the speculations and theories and their highlights. Such countless philosophical conversations have been led about logical revelation, and the term utilizes in totally different manners. Every one of them alludes to the result of the methodology of request. A great deal of disclosures has been done on various ideas in people’s day to day existence. Researchers have done revelations on the matter of altering qualities. (Navalta et al., 2019).

Since the double-helix structure of DNA was uncovered in early 1950, numerous researchers have hypotheses about the possibility of artificially modifying DNA to change the capacity of an organism. In 1990, the point at which the previously affirmed quality treatment preliminary happened, when a four-year-old young girl had her white blood cells eliminated, enlarged with qualities that produce a catalyst named adenosine deaminase. The was reinjected into her body to treat ADA lack, a hereditary condition that hampers the safe framework’s capacity to battle infections. The patient’s body was creating the ADA compound. However, has new white blood cells with the remedied quality were delivered, and afterward, she needed to keep accepting the infusion. (Rothan et al., 2019).

During this time, the discovery of the capacity to alter genomes to forestall illnesses or changing the actual attributes of the qualities was discovered. Through this discovery that was led about the altering of rates and utilizing the inductive surmising, the researchers had the option to move from the proof that was there before to another end. Other inductive contentions are given on the matter, including the hereditary based ordered framework for specialist control. These robust learning frameworks utilize genetic algorithms’ versatile examination instruments to direct the learning framework in shaping new ideas (the decision principles) about its current circumstance.

Peer C

I will be writing about the discovery of fingerprints, or more specifically the fact that fingerprints are unique. This discovery was made due to multiple reteaches by Dr. Henry Faulds, Sir Francis Galton, and William Herschel. The hypothesis for this discovery started off when Faulds took part in an archaeological dig and found imprints in ancient pottery shards, he then enlisted the help of his students, ” they collected their own fingerprints, then shaved them off with razors until no pattern could be traced” (Harmon, 2019). Faulds had a large collection of fingerprints using this method and he used them to prove that they were unique and grew back in the same patterns every time.

This discovery used inductive inference when Faulds said that

Premise 1: Everyone has unique fingerprints

Premise 2: Fingerprints grow back in the same pattern every time

Conclusion: Then fingerprints could be used to identify.

Based on the premises and the connection of the premises to the conclusion, I believe that this argument is both cogent and strong. The arguments is strong and cogent because the premises of this argument are true, the conclusion is also true and it follows well from its premises. This argument could be strengthened by adding a premise to include the process of identifying people using their fingerprints.

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