Definition of Science: American Heritage. Science: The observation, identification, description, experimental investigation, and theoretical explanation of phenomena. Such activities restricted to a class of natural phenomena. Such activities applied to an object of inquiry or study .
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[Middle English, knowledge, learning, from Old French, from Latin scientia, from sciēns, scient-, present participle of scīre, to know.]
These definitions, like most definitions, are not terribly informative or useful.
For example, they would clearly allow sports commentating as a science, but that is obviously not what we mean.
than how it forms explanations.
Scientific explanations must be
Scientific explanations should be
This does not mean super-natural phenomena or entities do not exist, nor that all scientists are atheists. It does mean that since the super-natural does not present itself for convenient study, science can not treat it scientifically.
Science does answer questions like "Why do animals need air?", "Does the earth have a beginning?" but not "Does the universe have a purpose?"
At best, they help to choose actions to implement values.
Basic physics can let you calculate what voltage you need to apply to your gutters to get them hot enough so that leaves burn up when they hit. Physics does not deal with whether this is a good thing or a bad thing (Whether burning leaves or setting your house on fire is good or bad.) Physics can help you design a fuel-efficient car: it does not tell you why or whether the tradeoffs are worth it.
A scientist might subscribe to a theory and interpret it as actually being true (actualism) or being a useful equivalent to something that is true (conventionalism). This is more philosophical and metaphysical than really belonging to science per se.
This list is largely a set of faith-assertions, and without them science would be pointless and unworkable.
A given set of claims may be taken as fact in one situation when it is considered theory in another. (Newton's Theory of Motion is taken as true when explaining plate motions.)
"There is a fault displacing the lower sediments and metamorphic rocks exposed by the river at (X_Coords, Y_Coords)"
We would accept this as a factual observation when trying to unravel the geologic history of this area and interpret it in terms of geological processes as normal science (more later), but might question these if they led to serious discrepancies with expectations.
William Shakespeare, King Henry IV, Part I, Act III, scene I
Glendale: I can call up spirits from the vasty deep.
Henry Percy Hotsdale: Why, so can I, or so can any man, But do they come when you do call them?
Glendale: And I can teach thee, cousin, to command The devil.
Henry Percy Hotsdale: And I can teach thee, coz, to shame the devil By telling the truth; tell the truth and shame the devil! If thou have power to raise him, bring him hither, And I’ll be sworn I have power to shame him hence. O, while you live, tell truth, and shame the devil!
Mt 7, 15-20 (NAB) Jesus said to his disciples: "Be on your guard against false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but underneath are wolves on the prowl. You will know them by their deeds. Do you ever pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from prickly plants? Never! Any sound tree bears good fruit, while a decayed tree bears bad fruit. A sound tree cannot bear bad fruit any more than a decayed tree can bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. You can tell a tree by its fruit."
Put up or shut up!
The proof (test) of the pudding (dessert) is in the eating. (That is, a dessert is good depending solely on whether it tastes good, not in the ingredients, or a fancy name, or fancy preparation techniques.)
Philosophy of science is an attempt at a philosophical description or prescription of when a theory replaces another.
from Chamberlain (1890) athttp://www.for.nau.edu/mosaddphp/courses/for690/downloads/Chamberlin1890.pdfor http://www.cof.orst.edu/cof/fs/gradprog/courses/radosevich/studies.htm
To avoid this grave danger, the method of multiple working hypotheses is urged. It differs from the simple working hypothesis in that it distributes the effort and divides the affections. It is thus in some measure protected against the radical defect of the two other methods. In developing the multiple hypotheses, the effort is to bring up into view every rational explanation of the phenomenon in hand and to develop every tenable hypothesis relative to its nature, cause or origin, and to give to all of these as impartially as possible a working form and a due place in the investigation. The investigator thus becomes the parent of a family of hypotheses; and by his parental relations to all is morally forbidden to fasten his affections unduly upon any one.
Chemistry, Physics, Meteorology, Biology (sort of)
Field studies, chemical analyses, geophysical measurements, airphotos, topography, well logs, specimens…
There is a fault in our district, and we're wondering if it's causing significant water loss.