Category Archives: Geography

Assumptions, data, and calculations

The Human Sciences gather information through various means, but almost all of them involve three factors: assumptions, data, and calculations.

Errors can occur in any of these.

  • Assumptions can be wrong.
  • Data can be wrong, or incomplete. It can also include too many variables, making it very difficult to reach any firm conclusions.
  • Calculations can be incorrect. Simple arithmetical errors are rare in the computer age, but the choice of a particular formula (another kind of assumption) may lead to misleading results.

At one extreme, people may simply accept reports about social science research without questioning them.

At another extreme, people who become aware of the possible problems with social science research may decide not to believe any of it.

The wise middle position is to view the results of social science research critically and skeptically, but not to reject social science altogether.

The same wise middle position applies to all the other AOKs as well.

Mercator’s model of the world, and what we can learn from it

This BBC program—”Gerard Mercator: The man who revolutionised mapmaking“—is highly relevant to an issue that arises in many of the “Human Sciences”: the use of models to depict reality. Mercator’s map is a wonderful tool for navigators traveling by ship, because the parallel lines of latitude allow for accurate calculations of the best way to sail from Point A to Point B.

However, as an image of the world it is highly distorted, and illustrates the prejudices of Europeans. Europe appears to be much larger than it actually is, and is placed right in the centre of the map. Africa appears much smaller than it actually is. China is way off toward the edge. Greenland appears enormous. And so on.

These distortions would not be important if there had been other maps, equally popular and widely used, that put Africa or China or South America, say, at the centre, instead of Europe. But in fact Mercator’s image still dominates the view of the world in the West and because of this dominance, it has become, in effect, a tool of European colonialism.

In this sense, the story of Mercator’s map illustrates how important models can be in determining our view of reality, and perhaps distorting our view of reality. Conclusion? Regard all models critically! Analyze their assumptions, their omissions, the point of view they promote, etc.

In economics, for example, “gross national product” (GNP) is widely used as a measure of the economy. But what is included, and what is excluded, in the GNP? Why? Such questions can lead to a much deeper understanding than we can have if we simply accept the models presented to us.

For a more detailed discussion of Mercator’s map, try this blog post, “Your World Map is Hiding Something,” on the excellent Metrocosm web site created by Max Galka, who teaches “data wrangling and data visualization” at the University of Pennsylvania.

Human Geography – Will R

Geography is focused mainly on human migration, causes of migration and why some locations have larger populations than others. In Geography, it is usually hard to formulate false evidence unless you control the experiment. In any experiment in Geography, you need to have proof of whatever it is that you are doing research on. Most content in Human Geography is factual, like statistics on quality of life , or human rights around the world. However, people can formulate false results in Human Geography. If someone wrote a paper about water quality in a third-world country, and made a statement saying that no one in that country has access to quality water, but said it without doing actual research, people could start to believe that the statement is true, because they trust the person who wrote the article. If another scientist or person in a high position looked into the paper and proved that statement wrong, then the person who wrote the paper could have their career destroyed. To minimize this problem, people writing papers on Human Geography should always do proper research into what they are writing about, and have multiple colleagues fact check their paper.

I do believe that Human Geography is really scientific, because everything we learn about in Geography, like statistics, is proven facts and has been researched and studied by scientists and by organizations like the UN. I do think that some Human Sciences call themselves scientific to increase their credibility, but I do not believe that Geography is one of them.

Human Geography

Within the topic of human sciences lies human geography, the study of people and how we connect with each other and our interactions with the environment. It has been heavily debated whether human sciences are reliable due to their content being misconstrued. However, human geography has been noted as more reliable do to its content. For example, in human geography, we typically see more factual points about how our communities work with the environment rather than other human sciences such as economics which looks at virtual numbers. You may find in a human geography class to be talking about how human life has developed and how life expectancy has increased in multiple HIC’s or High Income Countries. Whereas physical geography typically runs in the path of how the 4 spheres that make up our earth flow together seamlessly. Geography as a whole is seemingly more reliable because the facts are living around us and wee can experience them ourselves, making it seem more reliable. But how do you know if a source is reliable?

Human Sciences: Reliable? -Kelvin M.

Many doubt the ‘scientific reliability’ of the human sciences, as they differ drastically to the natural sciences where a proof for hypotheses is often in the form of exact data and evidence, social sciences often extract only data from a relative group of people to the entire population. They thus can only use models and graphs to represent the situation. This method causes a lot of problems.

One example of this is the recent events of the COVID-19 Coronavirus, which heavily involves the study of social geography, human migration, general health, etc. Many nations, except for China, being ground zeros of the outbreak, had a low initial number of confirmed infections, but over time, as the situation escalates, suddenly sees a significant rise in the number of infections. From this process, we can see the flaws of the methods of the human sciences. Due to the practice of social sciences not being able to test infections on the entire population, a large group of infected is not tested on and therefore ignored by the initial numbers. But as the death count rises, a gap is formed between the infected and the dead. The errors start to be recognized.

This is why currently, both Italy and Korea have relatively higher death rates than China, as China has tested for the virus on a much more significant percentage of the population to gain relatively accurate numbers. In contrast, Italy and Korea have counted deaths but ignores a large amount of hidden infected. America, just yesterday, had seen a rise in infection count and, with over 100 thousand infected, is now the country most severely affected by the Coronavirus. This situation is due to the officials recognizing the importance of gaining accurate data, and conducted tests for infection on a large percentage of the population, finding those that were infected but not confirmed before and listing them on the data, thus the sudden rise in numbers.

From this very recent example, I believe that is can once again be seen how the methods behind human sciences can be quite skeptical at times. However, these errors cannot disprove the importance of these studies to human beings. Business and economics are relevant to all our lives as long as we actively act as consumers to cooperations, and Geography has proven to be important situations such as recently. Like humans ourselves, it is flawed but of importance.

Human sciences – Social Geography

When facts and information are being made for social geography things can be tricky but it is very important to have the right information and have a correct result. False positives and false negatives are something that can be brutal for the community, taking for an example the situation that is happening right now, the COVID-19 pandemic around the world, false information is circulating and is making people very paranoid and is causing a universal chaos just because some information that is going around is fake or not well explained. Because of this false information people are making panic shopping and are taking too much medicines and supplies that can be more useful for someone that is already sick.

When true information is released people get better informed and can act correctly about the situation, things do not get out of the normal order as it should be. Scientists should be 100% sure that what they are releasing to the world is true for the wellbeing and understanding of all the community.

I believe that Geography is indeed a science because it proves facts and it studies the way humans and everything works and act.

Human Science

Human science is a study of the reality of being human, including social sciences. Geography studies the science of the earth´s surface, while geography as a human science refers to the study of its peoples and human behavior. However, human geography is focus on the behavior of people and how they relate to the physical world. Many areas of geography are interconnected each other, for example. Human CO2 emissions, like burning coal and other fossil fuels, but also cement production, deforestation and other landscape changes affects the climate that forms part of both physical and human geography because it gets an impact in humans. Geographic information supports much of what we do today on the Internet, where there are many people who manipulate information to benefit themselves, regardless of its outcome and without using data with a certain degree of credibility. For example, rivers are very important natural waterways that are also used for agriculture and livestock. Like floods, posting wrong information about flood data can cause many conflicts and inconsistencies. For example, saying that thanks to the flood, a lot of animals have been lost and the sale of food of animal origin has been reduced, without information to support that this information is correct. However, any article that is published without information verifying that information can result in a conflict.

In my opinion, human science considered geography as a science because it also studies human behavior with physical geography and how they interact with each other. We researched to find something we don’t know related to it, and I think it’s a scientific study because of that.



Human science

Human science refers to synthetic science that tried to solve the problem using human brains and human behaviour. geography is a study of the relationship between people and the natural environment and geography can be divided into four different types and the key concept of this subject is an interaction between humans and the environment. There are human geography, social geography, social geography and physical geography. physical geography is known as actual geography mountains and rivers, for example. The tallest mountain on earth is Mount Everest because there is evidence of it, therefore the scientific method is usually used in physical geography in order to determine whether it’s true or false. However, human science applies to the other three types. These are quite different studies then physical geography, which is the study of people, environment, economies and cultures in space. Human science needs survey and quantitative data and makes it generalize. I’ll take a river as an example, you definitely think rivers are classified as physical geography. Most rivers can be made naturally, and the rivers grow and change shape over time, at the same time, rivers have both negative and positive impacts on humans. Rivers can be used for transport and farming. Rivers carry water, so it is a route for travel and transport resources. On the other hand, there are few disadvantages of rivers in the environment such as flooding and erosion. Humans have developed a brain that is to analyze a problem deeply, so that we believe that our environment is becoming better. So to get back on track, rivers, humans tried our best to prevent flooding such as to create levees and dams, plant trees and make wider floodplains. Levees are usually able to prevent flooding when the condition is good enough, but as you know these are established by our hands which means it wouldn’t be perfect and an error occurred in many places. Poor countries can’t afford to build it but wealthy countries are able to increase the height of levees and eventually, this big disparity causes worse implications. Another example is the Sea Of Japan. It is the name of the sea between Japan, Korea and Russia, so that this area cannot be part of any country. And the Japanese call this area “Sea Of Japan” while South Korea is named “East Sea” and North Korea supports the name “Korean East Sea”. These countries have arguments to support their archipelago. This may be a rebellion depending on which name you use when broadcasting this sea on TV. In Conclusion, human science applies to geography in many ways.

Human Sciences – Eloise

Geography studies a lot about human movement, reasons for migrations and population densities. In general, unless you have full control over all evidence, It would be hard to make up results. For example, if a scientist wanted to claim that humans migrated from Canada to Mexico because they didn’t have enough water, they would have to have evidence to prove that. Considering Canada has more fresh water than any other country, that would be hard to prove. If you then provided false data, other researchers could easily do their own study to prove the study is false, which is what Nick Bunk did when he though the 3:1 ratio of positive thoughts was incorrect. The only way to really do this is to have full ownership of what you were studying and you could deny access to what you were studying. Hypothetically in this scenario the government might be able to accomplish that. In regards to population density, I think these results could be manipulated more easily because it is hard to keep track of people as they move around. A lot of population counts are done by legal count but also the occasional survey, and it would be very hard to be accurate. However the results could be published however they want depending what they want people to think and not many people will conduct that research to prove if it is correct or false.

I think human science geography is a science. I believe this because you could do experiments on humans to record results however in some cases (where it could harm humans) is frowned upon, it is still going on world wide. With the right amount of power you could also add variables to assist or harm the population, for example with the Covid-19 outbreak the governments are putting in place resources to assist the population because they have recorded data from past outbreaks around the world and figured out what they needed to do to have least resistance from the public. Research is always happening whether we are aware of it or not and we don’t know what they might use it for but it is happening and it is a scientific study.