what is science
11 Feb 07
Since this topic is asking what science is, I'll try to explain it as best as I can. Judging by your post though, it would appear that you're asking whether or not technology is good for society. That however is a social question, and one not easily answered. Science in its simplest form is the art of understanding. It does not try to explain why something happens, but how something works or interacts with reality. This is a common misconception that many people have about science. To use an example, in science, one does not try to explain why gravity acts the way it does. We only try to answer how gravity works based on observation and experimentation. One could argue that this is where science and philosophy diverge from one another. The following is an example of how the scientific method works. Say I were to drop a marble from a height of 10 feet, and measured the time that it took to impact the ground. I then decide to perform this experiment another 99 times, with each experiment that I perform increasing my level of accuracy. By the time I've performed my last experiment, I'll be able to say with a high degree of certainty how long it will take for the marble to reach its destination. We first start with an observation. We observed the marble dropping from a height of 10 feet, and measured the time it took to hit the ground. The next step is to make a prediction based on the previous observation. We knew how long it took for the marble to hit the ground the first time, so we'll predict that it'll hit the ground in the same amount of time in our next experiment. After performing numerous experiments and making predictions with a high level of certainty, we're now ready to move onto the next stage of the scientific method. When a scientist is confident in their findings, they submit their data to a scientific journal for peer review. A peer review consists of a panel of scientists who will attempt to falsify your model, and this is where the scientific method really shines. The process of falsification relies upon experimentation, meaning that in order for your model to be validated, the panel must be able to perform the same experiments that you performed. If the panels findings are in agreement with your findings, your model becomes known as, wait for it... a scientific theory. Only after rigorous criticism and scrutiny does your model reach the status of 'theory' in the eyes of a scientist. On the other hand, if you were to debate what gravity actually is, you'd be drifting into the realm of philosophy. We can't determine with any level of certainty what gravity is made of. We can only explain gravity's effects on matter, and as of this writing there has been no successful experiment in detecting gravity. Hopefully that will change soon with the Large Hadron Collider becoming operational this year which will attempt to detect gravitons. Despite the fact that we don't know what gravity is made of, we've still been able to launch satellites into orbit, land people on the moon, and send unmanned probes to Mars and beyond. All of the calculations required to do this can be performed using Newton's classical laws of gravity. So to put everything into context, if an experiment cannot be performed, a model cannot be falsified. If a model cannot be falsified, it's not science, it's philosophy. The theory of evolution is all too often tagged as philosophy by laypeople in society, and compared against intelligent design (ID) or creationism. To begin with, ID and creationism can't be tested. There is no experiment that one can devise that will detect a higher power as being the creator of everything, thus neither claim is scientific. Secondly, ID and creationism attempt to explain abiogenesis, which is the transformation from nonliving matter, to living things. On the other hand, Darwin's theory of evolution makes accurate predictions through observation and data from the fossil record on how species have evolved through genetic mutation. No where is abiogenesis mentioned in Darwin's theory. Evolution doesn't explain the 'why', just the 'how' when it comes to a species changing from one state to the next. Yet the fundamentalists try and make ID and evolution looks as though they are two competing theories, and ID isn't even a theory. The theory of evolution has had to pass peer review just as every other scientific theory has, and to this day, still holds up under scientific scrutiny. Now I don't mean to turn this into a debate on evolution, and I hope that this doesn't turn out to be the case. Perhaps the best way to explain what science is though, is by explaining what science is not. When someone says that evolution is "just a theory," it's important that one knows the scientists definition of the word theory, as the scientists definition differs greatly from the general definition of the word.
• United States
10 Feb 07
Science is a study of the cosmos, the world around us in its entirety. And I think that it's good for a person to study science it gives us a sense of our limitations and the beauty and complexity of what God has created, and it is ever increasing our quality of life.