Facts are not science as the dictionary is not literature martin h fischer
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“Facts are not science – as the dictionary is not literature” –Martin H. Fischer PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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“Facts are not science – as the dictionary is not literature” –Martin H. Fischer. If science is not facts, what is it?. The Nature of Science. Science is a process by which we try and understand how the natural world works. Nature of Science. Collecting or memorizing facts or observations

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“Facts are not science – as the dictionary is not literature” –Martin H. Fischer

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“Facts are not science – as the dictionary is not literature”–Martin H. Fischer

If science is not facts, what is it?

The Nature of Science

  • Science is a process by which we try and understand how the natural world works

Nature of Science

  • Collecting or memorizing facts or observations

  • ALTHOUGH this does help!

Science is NOT…

  • …but not necessarily one “set in stone” system of rules

  • We use the “Scientific Method” because it is the most commonly observed and used method

  • This method provides the most understanding and meaning to new scientists

Science is a process…

  • There is NO certainty in science

  • There ARE degrees of probability and potential for change

  • Scientific understanding can ALWAYS be challenged with new evidence

  • NOTHING in science is ever PROVEN.


  • The world is real and not just our imagination

  • Humans can accurately perceive and understand the physical universe

  • Natural processes are sufficient in explaining the natural world

  • Nature operates in the same way everywhere in the universe and at all times (except where we have sufficient evidence to demonstrate otherwise)

Modern science is based on several assumptions…

  • Observations are limited by human senses

  • Our senses are unconsciously influenced by previous experience

  • It is impossible to know if we have observed all possible aspects, controlled all possible variables, or considered every possibility of a phenomenon

Modern science has limitations…

  • It is NOT absolute

  • Based only on available evidence NOT on “proof”

  • History of science is full of changes in understanding and explanations

Science is contingent knowledge

  • Scientific explanations must be based on careful observations and testing of hypotheses

  • It must be able to be disproven

  • Solutions can NOT be based on opinion, popular belief, or judgment

  • Explanations cannot be based on supernatural forces (because they cannot be disproved)

Science must follow certain rules

  • All hypotheses are not of equal value

  • The “best” hypothesis is that which best explains ALL the facts/evidence

  • Science is NOT democratic or fair

Science must follow certain rules

  • …that science CAN be misused

  • BUT its limitations are its strengths

It is also important to point out…

The Scientific Method

Better than other methods

  • What is happening?

  • Is there anything interesting?


  • What do you want to find out?

  • What is your goal?


  • What do you think will happen?

  • What is the most probable outcome?



  • What things do you need to test your hypothesis?


  • What will you do to test your hypothesis?

  • This should include an explanation of how you will use the materials

  • A well designed procedure will include multiple trials


  • The variable you are testing

  • What will you change?

Independent Variable

  • What are you measuring?

  • What is the outcome – what units will your data be in?

Dependent Variable

  • The things that do not change from one trial to the next

  • What might influence the independent variable that should be maintained?


  • The standard to which you will compare your experiments


  • When you did the experiment, what happened?

  • What did you see, hear, smell, measure?


  • What did your results mean?

  • Was your hypothesis correct or incorrect?

  • Are further experiments needed?

  • What could have been improved?


Scientific Theory

  • A scientific theory is the best fit explanation for a phenomenon that is repeatedly confirmed through observation and experimentation via the scientific method

Scientific Theory

  • A theory must be falsifiable

  • A theory must fit a phenomenon with consistent accuracy

  • A theory is well supported by many independent strands of evidence, not just one

Criteria for a scientific theory

  • A theory must fit previous knowledge or experimentation

  • A theory can be adapted to account for new evidence

  • A theory must be the simplest explanation – Occam’s Razor

Criteria for a scientific theory

  • Quantum Theory

  • Cell Theory

  • Theory of Evolution

  • Climate Change

  • Plate Tectonics

Examples of Scientific Theory

  • A law is an obvious generalization that describes a phenomenon

  • A theory attempts to explain why a phenomenon happens

  • Both can be disproven if and when new evidence is discovered

So what’s the difference between a law and a theory?

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