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Some Beliefs about the Nature of Science Necessary for a General Science Literacy A Scientific Worldview Scientists share some basic beliefs and attitudes about what they do and how they view their work that is not often found in school science curricula.

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a scientific worldview
A Scientific Worldview
  • Scientists share some basic beliefs and attitudes about what they do and how they view their work that is not often found in school science curricula.
  • Science presumes that things in the universe occur in consistent patterns. Through the use of the intellect people can discover and understand these patterns.
scientific worldview cont d
Scientific Worldview (cont’d)
  • Scientists believe that the universe is one system in which basic rules are the same everywhere. Knowledge gained from studying one part of the universe is applicable elsewhere. E.g., motion and gravitation.
scientific worldview cont d4
Scientific Worldview (cont’d)
  • Science is a process for producing knowledge based upon observation and the invention of theories to make sense of the observations.
  • Testing , improving, and discarding theories goes on all the time.
scientific worldview cont d5
Scientific Worldview (cont’d)
  • Even though absolute truth may not be possible, increasingly accurate approximations can be made. E.g., Newtonian and Einsteinian physics.
  • Some things can not be explained in a scientific way; they can not be proved or disproved.
scientific worldview cont d6
Scientific Worldview (cont’d)
  • A scientific approach that may be valid is sometimes rejected as irrelevant by people holding certain beliefs (fortune-telling, astrology, and superstition).
  • Scientist can not settle issues of good or evil but can identify likely consequences for particular actions which may be helpful to a discussion.
scientific inquiry
Scientific Inquiry
  • All scientific disciplines are alike in their use of evidence, hypotheses and theories, and logic.
  • There is a common understanding about what constitutes a scientifically valid investigation.
  • There are no fixed steps, no one path that scientists follow while investigating phenomena.
scientific inquiry cont d
Scientific Inquiry (cont’d)
  • There are some common features to scientific investigations:
    • The collection of accurate data using observation and measurement.
    • Scientists use their own senses and instruments that enhance their senses.
scientific inquiry cont d9
Scientific Inquiry (cont’d)
  • There are some common features to scientific investigations (cont’d):
    • If possible, conditions are deliberately controlled to identify exclusive effects.
    • If conditions can not be controlled, observations have to be made over a wide range of conditions.
    • While imagination and creativity is necessary to establish hypotheses and theories, arguments must be logical.
scientific inquiry cont d10
Scientific Inquiry (cont’d)
  • There are some common features to scientific investigations (cont’d):
    • Hypotheses must be testable.
    • Theories should explain observations and they should be predictive.
    • Bias should be, but is not always, avoided. E.g., Study of primates - competition versus cooperation.
    • New ideas are vigorously scrutinized.
the scientific enterprise
The Scientific Enterprise
  • Science is one activity that distinguishes our times from earlier ones.
  • Science has individual, social, and institutional dimensions.
  • As a social activity, science reflects social values and viewpoints. E.g., social justice.
the scientific enterprise cont d
The Scientific Enterprise (cont’d)
  • Directions of science research is affected by influences within the culture of science. E.g., funding and publishing.
  • Dissemination of information is crucial for progress.
  • Universities, industry, and government are largely where scientists are employed.
  • Ethical norms are strictly enforced.
our challenge
Our Challenge...

How to embrace the inherently messy nature of solving problems scientifically.