Characteristics of Science

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Where are we going?. 1 To show the connection between Christianity and modern science2 To look at certain characteristics that are hallmarks of what we today call science. Ancient World. Most societies pantheisticGod/nature blended togetherGods are not to be studied/investigatedDuane Warden w

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Characteristics of Science

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1. Characteristics of Science James Mackey Physical Science 410

3. Ancient World Most societies pantheistic God/nature blended together Gods are not to be studied/investigated Duane Warden will address this worldview toward the end of the semester

7. China Despite tremendous technical achievements superior to western culture gunpowder, magnetism, block printing, etc Science as we know it never develops Eastern cultures in general fatalistic (man is powerless before fate)

10. Jewish View Primarily teleological Nature and the Divine are distinct entities Nature is a creation of God and thus subordinate in character to God Since the world is only a created entity, it can be freely studied and dissected

11. “The presuppositions that make science possible are not derivable from the scientific enterprise itself; they are, however, a direct consequence of the Judeo-Christian biblical world view. It is no more possible to do science without a faith that a rational understanding of the world is a possible goal for finite minds, than it is to enter into religion without the faith that God exists.” Bube

12. …Belief in creation out of nothing, and in time is the very opposite of paganism. Once that belief became a widely shared cultural consensus during the Christian Middle ages, it became almost natural that there should be arise the idea of inertial motion” Jaki (emphasis mine)

13. The exclusion of any religious influence on scientific thinking is a rather recent situation developing primarily in the late 19th and early 20th centuries

38. What is Science? Definitions: (from simple to ridiculous) “Science is what scientists do when they’re working…” “…a systemized body of facts….”

40. Characteristics of Scientific Inquiry Science is…… 1. based on observation and experimentation 2. mathematical and quantitative 3. naturalistic 4. based on models of nature 5. limited 6. dynamic 7. amoral 8. rational

41. Characteristics of Scientific Inquiry Science is…… 1. based on observation and experimentation 2. mathematical and quantitative 3. naturalistic 4. based on models of nature 5. limited 6. dynamic 7. amoral 8. rational

42. 1. The beginning of science is observation “The fundamental character of any science is that it ‘investigates’..By investigation I mean a deliberate, planned, devised way of getting data beyond the ordinary experience of men………...

45. This type of observation requires effort and training to do properly.. “This is not work for the untutored imagination. It may be an art, but it is one whose exercise requires stiff training ….theoretical physicists have to be taught their trade and cannot afford to proceed by genius alone” Toulmin

46. Observation may be the beginning of science, but it is NOT the end. Observation by itself is not enough. “…One might manipulate experimental apparatus for a lifetime, and accumulate all the observations one cared to, without ever spotting what form the law should take. For many centuries, indeed, scientists were within striking distance, but failed to discover it (Snell’s Law). Ptolemy, about 100 AD had already made many important observations on the subject.” Toulmin

48. Characteristics of Scientific Inquiry Science is…… 1. based on observation and experimentation 2. mathematical and quantitative 3. naturalistic 4. based on models of nature 5. limited 6. dynamic 7. amoral 8. rational

49. 2. Science is Quantitative & Mathematical One of the major developments in science was the move to quantitative/mathematical procedures Aristotle did not believe mathematics was the method of natural science Galileo is credited as one of the earliest scientists to recognize the importance of mathematics

51. The language of science is mathematical for several reasons conciseness aesthetics universality

53. Aesthetically more pleasing Universally understandable same equation in French, Russian, German, etc graduate language exam

55. Characteristics of Scientific Inquiry Science is…… 1. based on observation and experimentation 2. mathematical and quantitative 3. naturalistic 4. based on models of nature 5. limited 6. dynamic 7. amoral 8. rational

56. 3. Science is Naturalistic Science deals only with natural categories Only what is perceptible with natural senses Cannot deal with non-natural or super-natural explanations

61. Characteristics of Scientific Inquiry Science is…… 1. based on observation and experimentation 2. mathematical and quantitative 3. naturalistic 4. based on models of nature 5. limited 6. dynamic 7. amoral 8. rational

62. 4. Science is Based on Models as Representations of Nature Real physical systems are too complicated to solve exactly Usually work with a model that “represents” nature Not “literal descriptions” of the world, but “serious” attempts to produce a manageable picture of nature in a scientific framework

67. What makes a “good” model? I. Predictive Not an “ad hoc” model II. Fits the experimental data Within our ability to make measurements III. Aesthetically pleasing As simple and elegant as possible

68. I. Predictive “The value of any working theory depends upon the number of experimental facts it serves to correlate, and upon its power of suggesting new lines of work”

71. II. Must fit the experimental data Major difference between Mathematics and Physics Mathematicians can invent and study any system as long as it is consistent Physicists have to study the universe as it is!

72. III. Must be aesthetically pleasing This usually mean as “simple” and “elegant” as possible (simple does not mean easy!) Most concise form with fewest terms Most generally applicable form

75. Tinker-toy illustration Copernican theory “God of the Gaps”

77. “ A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it” Max Planck

79. Characteristics of Scientific Inquiry Science is…… 1. based on observation and experimentation 2. mathematical and quantitative 3. naturalistic 4. based on models of nature 5. limited 6. dynamic 7. amoral 8. rational

80. 5. Science is Limited Science is limited in the sense that it is basely solely on what can be observed, measured with instruments, and replicated at will by other scientists “Because science is truly investigative and depends on investigation, it is therefore limited to what can be investigated.” Adler

82. Characteristics of Scientific Inquiry Science is…… 1. based on observation and experimentation 2. mathematical and quantitative 3. naturalistic 4. based on models of nature 5. limited 6. dynamic 7. amoral 8. rational

83. 6. Science is Dynamic Science is not static Every scientific “law” or “theory” is subject to modification as new data accumulates Few scientists would expect today’s formulation of physical laws to persist without change in the next millenium

84. 1800s it was the answer to everything Knowledge of current conditions completely determines the future behavior of a system Philosophical Determinism

89. “The God of the Gaps”

97. Characteristics of Scientific Inquiry Science is…… 1. based on observation and experimentation 2. mathematical and quantitative 3. naturalistic 4. based on models of nature 5. limited 6. dynamic 7. amoral 8. rational

98. 7. Science is Amoral Science is neither moral nor immoral, but rather amoral (i.e. non moral) The Universe is neither moral nor immoral, it just IS! Science is practiced by humans who CAN NOT operate in an amoral framework. If he views his science as amoral with no concern over its effects on people - he becomes immoral

100. Characteristics of Scientific Inquiry Science is…… 1. based on observation and experimentation 2. mathematical and quantitative 3. naturalistic 4. based on models of nature 5. limited 6. dynamic 7. Amoral 8. Rational

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