• Create BookmarkCreate Bookmark
  • Create Note or TagCreate Note or Tag
  • PrintPrint
Share this Page URL
Help

Chapter 6. It's Not a Game, It's a… > Making Sense of Virtual Worlds

Making Sense of Virtual Worlds

Science is concerned primarily with observing, recording, and interpreting data. The information gleaned is used to support, modify, or deny existing theories, and occasionally to propose new theories. In “hard” sciences, such as physics and chemistry, hypotheses can be tested through experimentation. It is rare the same experiment performed under the same conditions will produce different results; in a sense, for hard science there is a “right” answer which experimentation leads toward discovering.

Contrastingly, “soft” science deals with facts that can and do change depending on conditions; this is because at heart they defer to the ever-transforming marvel that is human nature. Quantum physics aside, in hard science there is a fixed relationship between theory and experiment: Your opinion on how rocks are formed may change in the light of new evidence, but the behavior of the rocks themselves will stay the same. With soft science, this is not the case: An anthropologist can, merely by collecting data, change the very behavior being observed. Similarly, although with most hard science the experiments can be intrusive, with soft science they can't be. “Let's break up this crystal to see how new crystals form from the remains” is fine; “let's break up this community to see how new communities form from the remains” isn't.


PREVIEW

                                                                          

Not a subscriber?

Start A Free Trial


  
  • Creative Edge
  • Create BookmarkCreate Bookmark
  • Create Note or TagCreate Note or Tag
  • PrintPrint