Cause and effect structures can be used to ..
All this may go some way toward explaining why the rate of failure of pharmaceutical interventions for Alzheimer’s is so high. When mouse models are used to explore theories of human brain health and behavior, there is no reliable way to assess the validity of the science or the assumptions underlying it. This is not to say that scientists should just start conducting on humans the experiments they now perform on mice. But as Fitzpatrick emphasizes, the huge amount of mouse-brain research now being done is a reflection of the internal dysfunction of the research system, not of the potential for the “free play of free intellects” to help alleviate the human suffering caused by neurological disease and dysfunction.
Cause and Effect Mini Lesson by Diana Dell, Ed.S.
And as the Industrial Revolution came to link technological innovation to historically unprecedented economic growth, scientists began to make many important contributions to fundamental knowledge by studying phenomena whose existence was brought to light only because of the new technologies of an industrializing world. Efforts to improve the performance of steam engines, wine manufacturing, steel-making, and telephone communication — to name just a few — guided much scientific inquiry, and, in some cases led to entirely new fields of basic research, such as thermodynamics, bacteriology, and radio astronomy. New technologies also provided discipline and focus for areas of fundamental science that had been progressing slowly, as vaccines did for immunology and airplanes did for theoretical aerodynamics.
A scientific model allows you to study a simplified version, or isolated characteristics, of a complex phenomenon. This simplification is sometimes justified, for instance, if the cause-and-effect relations being studied in the model (say, the response of an airfoil to turbulence in a wind tunnel) operate in the same way in the more complex context (an airplane flying through a storm). In such cases you can have some confidence that what you’ve learned from the model can be applied to the actual problem at hand. Fitzpatrick thinks that such reasoning is not justified when using mouse brains to model human neurodegenerative disease.