Origin / Context • It is a method used to understand the world, not a mountain of ‘facts’ • Science cannot provide certain (100%) proof – just the ‘best’ working theories • Science is from the Latin “scientia”, which means knowledge • First developed by Francis Bacon 17th C • It is a trial and error process • Allows us to systematically examine the processes behind natural phenomena, and make predictions and laws regarding these.
The Stages • Observation: ‘Finding’ something in nature that you want to find answers to • Hypothesis: An educated guess as to what is going on in the observable phenomenon • Experiment: Controlled examination of evidence and testing of the hypothesis • Verification: Results from the experiment can help to reinforce the hypothesis, which can continue to be examined and verified by others, or proved to be false, in which case you start again. This process of trying to find fault with a theory to make sure it is more reliable is called falsification.
Scientific Method should be rational, and examined in a controlled and objective way = trustworthy Theories are continually tested and modified, so we know they are the best they can be It provides us with a way of understanding our world and predicting events – with this we can progress in science and technology It is NOT objective: scientists are humans with ambitions, personalities, and who need to INTERPRET data It will NEVER give us 100% proof because it is a process of INDUCTION. It can only tell us about the processes behind events – it cannot give us information on the reason behind why things are the way they are. It cannot talk about anything other than physical phenomena – issues of morality, philosophy and religion are outwith scientific enquiry Strengths and Weaknesses