Brief Introduction: Science

 

Science involves systematic knowledge of the physical or material world gained through observation and experimentation.  It arose from the human ability to recognize regularly occurring sequences of events, which we here call temporal pattern recognition, that is, the recognition that events repeatedly occur in a specific sequence over time (one holds a rock, releases the rock, and the rock falls to the ground--this all takes place over time). 

 

Modern science emerged during the past three hundred years and has resulted in the increased ability to predict and manage events.

 

Belief in science?

 

In other words, does belief play a role in science?  To respond to this question, we have to begin with the definition of belief:

 

VERB
1. Accept (something) as true, valid; feel sure of the truth of (as in "He believed the weather report.")


2. Hold (something) as an opinion; think or suppose
 

A matter of opinion: There are those who use the second definition above when discussing science.  In other words, they view science as a belief system, or a matter of opinion.  And if this is the case, science can thus be compared to religion, which most accept as a matter of belief.  One consequence is to again argue that reality is somewhat in the eye of the beholder (in this case in his, or her belief system).

 

  To read more about the matter of opinion with regard to reality in general

 

We don't agree.  There is a difference between knowing and having an opinion.  Science is all about knowing.  So, for example, science can tell you that if you pick up a stone and release it above ground, you can know that it will fall to the ground.  In other words, you know what's going to happen.  You don't believe it will fall.  You know if will fall.

 

Accept something a true:  In other words, we use the first definition above.  We do agree that you can believe the knowledge provided by science, given you fully understand what science is and how it works (all of which is described in our other pages about science, including the fact that...

 

...it is important to recognize the role of theory and frame of reference (also known as "paradigms') in science, which is how scientists put together scientific findings and explanations for those findings.  To some extent, scientists "believe" in these theories and frames of paradigms. 

 

...science does NOT stop with those beliefs in theories and paradigms.  The whole goal and task of science is to either confirm or modify them, and this goes on ALL of the time (the shift from seeing Earth as the center of the universe to seeing it as a rather small planet orbiting a sun toward the periphery of a galaxy is one prime example).

 

Click on the links below to read a series of articles that deal with the specifics of scientific inquiry:

 

 To read about the philosophical bases of science: Skepticism, Empiricism and Rationalism

 To read about the methods of science.

 To read about the reliability and validity of scientific findings.

 To go to the Articles Page

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