THE NATURE OF SCIENCE

OUTLINE
A. Definition of Terms 1. Science 2. Pseudoscience 3. Physical Science 4. Fact 5. Law 6. Theory 7. Technology B. History of Advances in Physical Science C. Mathematics & Physical Science D. Scientific Method E. Scientific Attitude G. Science, Art, & Religion H. Science & Technology

and wisdom of the human race. and a process of gathering and organizing knowledge about nature. 2. d. an ongoing human activity that represents the collective efforts. the collective findings of humans about nature. an organized body of knowledge that describes the order within nature and the causes of that order c. an activity that is dedicated to gathering knowledge about the world and organizing and condensing it into testable laws and theories. Science a.DEFINITION OF TERMS 1. Pseudoscience – fake science that does not meet scientific standards and thus pretends to be real science. the product of human curiosity about how the world works b. findings. .

Physical Science a. space. that study the origin. and the physical universe as a whole. the study of matter and energy b. oceanography. Astrodynamics – study of the motion of natural and artificial bodies in space . such as geology. composition. (2) Chemistry – the study of matter and the transformations it can undergo. (3) Earth Science – any of several sciences. Its various branches include: a. and physical features of the Earth (4) Astronomy – the branch of science that deals with celestial objects. has 4 major branches: (1) Physics – the branch of science concerned with the properties of matter and energy and the relationships between them. Astrometry – concerned with the measurement of the position and motion of celestial bodies b.DEFINITION OF TERMS 3. and meteorology.

and evolution of the celestial bodies 4. Fact – a phenomenon about which competent observers who have made a series of observations are in agreement. Hypothesis – an educated guess. Astrophysics – concerned with the physical and chemical properties. 5. Cosmology – concerned with the evolution and structure of the universe d. origin. a reasonable explanation of an observation or experimental result that is not fully accepted as factual until tested over and over again by experiment. .DEFINITION OF TERMS 3. Physical Science (4) Astronomy c.

Law – a general hypothesis or statement about the relationship of natural quantities that has been tested over and over again and has not been contradicted. medicine. Theory – a synthesis of a large body of information that encompasses well-tested and verified hypotheses about certain aspects of the natural world 8. and leisure activities) . 7.DEFINITION OF TERMS 6. the application of scientific knowledge to improve the quality of human life b. all the ways that people make or do things (agriculture. also known as a principle. Technology a. communication. transportation. energy.

•Reason gave way to religion. •Barbarian hordes destroyed almost everything in their paths as they overran Europe. metals. 4th and 3rd Centuries BC •Science made great headway in Greece and spread throughout the Mediterranean world.B. •During this time. the Chinese and Polynesians were charting the stars and the planets. . 5th Century AD •Scientific advance came to a near halt in Europe when the Roman Empire fell. and various chemicals. Arab nations developed mathematics and learned about the production of glass. •Before the advent of Islam. HISTORY OF ADVANCES IN SCIENCE 1. 2. which ushered in what came to be known as the Dark Ages. paper.

10th. 3. 13th Century •Universities emerged in Europe in the 13th century . the Middle Ages was a period full of discovery and inventing. most sources define the Middle Ages as an historical period from 500 AD to 1450 AD.B. 11th & 12th Centuries •Greek science was reintroduced to Europe by Islamic influences that penetrated into Spain. •While there was a suppression of knowledge and learning. 4. HISTORY OF ADVANCES IN SCIENCE Middle Ages •Historians differ in their opinions of when the Middle Ages began and ended.

6. •Gave birth to three major events: a) The beginning of the Renaissance Era (circa 1453) with a return to research and learning after the Dark Ages. 15th Century •Art and science beautifully blended by Leonardo da Vinci. c) The birth of modern printing marked by 15th century master printer Johann Gutenberg's invention of movable type presses (1440) that made the inexpensive mass-printing of books possible . 14th Century •The introduction of gunpowder changed the social and political structure of Europe. b) The birth of the Age of Discovery with increased exploration and improved naval ships and navigation methods that created new trade routes and trade partners.B. HISTORY OF ADVANCES IN SCIENCE 5.

HISTORY OF ADVANCES IN SCIENCE 7. •Yet a century later. . •Cycles of rejection and acceptance occur age after age. •1543: Polish astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus caused great controversy when he published a book proposing that the Sun is stationary and that Earth revolves around the Sun. a time of great exploration. •Copernicus’ ideas conflicted with the popular view that Earth was the center of the universe. •The Italian physicist Galileo Galilei was arrested for popularizing the Copernican theory and for his other contributions to scientific thought. and extraordinary literature. •They also conflicted with Church teachings and were banned for 200 years. This ushered in what is called the Copernican Revolution. and ultimately changed all of science. the very beginning of the modern era of science. religious and political turmoil.B. which forever changed astronomy. those who advocated Copernican ideas were accepted. 16th Century •This was a time of unprecedented change.

and empirical body of knowledge. Galileo Galilei. mechanical. In fact.B. a scientific revolution had occurred and science had become an established mathematical. 17th Century •Before the 17th century began. science and scientists were not truly recognized. •By the end of the 17th century. at first people like the 17th century genius Isaac Newton were called natural philosophers. HISTORY OF ADVANCES IN SCIENCE 8. •The intrusion of newly invented machines became part of the daily and economic lives of 17th century folk. . and others had become noted scientists. Blaise Pascal. René Descartes. since there was no concept of the word scientist for most of the 17th century. Isaac Newton. and the 17th century science of astronomy evolved from astrology. •The science of chemistry developed from medieval alchemy.

geology was accepted. •Later in the same century. but theories of evolution were condemned and the teaching of them was forbidden. geologists met with violent condemnation because they differed with the account of creation in the book of Genesis. •Saw the widespread replacement of manual labor by new inventions and machinery •In the early 1800s. . 18th Century •Also referred to as the 1700s. HISTORY OF ADVANCES IN SCIENCE 9. this century began the first Industrial Revolution. •Modern manufacturing began with steam engines replacing animal labor.B.

when those inventions dazzled us with their novelty and wonder. HISTORY OF ADVANCES IN SCIENCE 10. 19th Century •It was the age of machine tools . and inventions have progressed at an accelerated rate during the hundred years of the 20th century. speeding up the factory production of consumer goods. 20th Century •Technology. •Ended with spaceships. including interchangeable parts. more so than any other century. and radio. science. •This century with the infancy of airplanes.B.machines that made parts for other machines. .tools that made tools . automobiles. and the wireless Internet all being technologies we can take for granted. computers. 11. The assembly line was invented during the 19th century. cell phones.

•When the ideas of science are expressed in mathematical terms. •When findings in nature are expressed mathematically.C. they are unambiguous. •They don’t have the multiple meanings that so often confuse the discussion of ideas expressed in common language. The equations are guides to thinking that show the connections between concepts in nature. •The equations of science provide compact expressions of relationships between concepts. they are easier to verify or to disprove by experiment. •The methods of mathematics and experimentation led to enormous success in science. . •The mathematical structure of physics is evident in its many equations. MATHEMATICS & SCIENCE •Science and human conditions advanced dramatically after science and mathematics became integrated some four centuries ago.

SCIENTIFIC METHOD •Scientific Method refers to principles and procedures for the systematic pursuit of knowledge involving the recognition and formulation of a problem. 3. Predict consequences that can be observed if the hypothesis is correct. Make an educated or scientific guess—a hypothesis—to answer the question. Do experiments to see if the consequences you predicted are present. •There is no one scientific method.D. 1. predicted effects. Question. Observe. the collection of data through observation and experiment. Formulate the simplest general rule that organizes the hypothesis. Recognize a question or a puzzle—such as an unexplained observation. and experimental findings. but there are common features or steps in the way scientists do their work. 2. Predict. 5. Test predictions. 4. Draw a conclusion. Closely observe the physical world around you. . *Specific set of steps for developing and testing a scientific idea. and the formulation and testing of hypotheses. The consequences should be absent if the hypothesis is not correct.

experimentation. a willingness to admit error. SCIENTIFIC METHOD •Although the steps of the scientific method are appealing. and humility—that is. or just plain accidental discovery by a well-prepared mind. experimentation without hypotheses. much progress in science has come from trial and error. •The success of science rests more on an attitude common to scientists than on a particular method.D. •The attitude that is one of inquiry. .

Scientific truth is a matter of public scrutiny while religion is a deeply personal matter. Science. a supreme being and the creation of human community—not the practice of science. while religion is concerned with spiritual matters. while religion provides a foothold for many social services. Existence of God Differences Between Science & Religion: a. Both have great impact on society. b. Both are motivated by curiosity for the natural.D. leads to useful technological innovations. Science is concerned with understanding the physical universe. and the worship of. b. for example. SCIENTIFIC METHOD  Limitations of the Scientific Method: 1. Similarities Between Science & Religion: a. . such as belief and faith in.

d. Beauty appreciation Differences Between Science & Art: a. SCIENCE is based upon theories and hypothesis. and every phenomenon or device can be explained through science.D. b. ART needs no proof since it cannot be proved. . ART is subjective while SCIENCE is objective. ART is conceptual. while SCIENCE is theoretical e. c. SCIENTIFIC METHOD  Limitations of the Scientific Method: 2. On the other hand. ART is about creative communication of ideas and emotions while SCIENCE is about establishing truth or finding objective facts through verifiable experimentation. ART seeks aesthetic response while SCIENCE seeks knowledge and understanding.

SCIENTISTS who explain a natural phenomenon must validate it based on the body of knowledge available. g. h. SCIENTIFIC METHOD  Limitations of the Scientific Method: 2.D. Beauty appreciation Differences Between Science & Art: f. ART is the representation of human thought while SCIENCE is the representation of natural order. ARTISTS who express a new idea must communicate it to their audience for justification. ART values break with tradition while SCIENCE values building on tradition and adherence to standards. .

ARTISTS who express a new idea must communicate it to their audience for justification. ART values break with tradition while SCIENCE values building on tradition and adherence to standards.D. . SCIENTIFIC METHOD  Limitations of the Scientific Method: 2. ART is the representation of human thought while SCIENCE is the representation of natural order. SCIENTISTS who explain a natural phenomenon must validate it based on the body of knowledge available. h. g. Beauty appreciation Differences Between Science & Art: f.

Value judgment – scientists may become biased based on their beliefs . 3. art. Moral issues 4. or religious scholars. philosophy. do not necessarily contradict one another. artists. Each field pursues this goal in different ways and with different results. SCIENTIFIC METHOD  Limitations of the Scientific Method: •What science. and religion can work very well together. •Science. and religion all share is an attempt to give ―meaning‖ to the world around us. art. many of the world’s greatest scientists have been great philosophers. Yet. Indeed. which is why we should never feel forced into choosing one over the other.D.

b) More important than defending beliefs is improving them. however. c) Biologists have refined the cell theory. a) They change their minds. a) The theory of the atom has been repeatedly refined as new evidence on atomic behavior has been gathered.  The refinement of theories is a strength of science. rather.  Competent scientists must be experts at changing their minds.E.  Many people feel that it is a sign of weakness to change their minds. not a weakness. b) Chemists have refined their view of the way molecules bond together. SCIENTIFIC ATTITUDE  The theories of science are not fixed. . only when confronted with solid experimental evidence or when a conceptually simpler hypothesis forces them to a new point of view.  Better hypotheses are made by those who are honest in the face of experimental evidence. they undergo change.  Scientific theories evolve as they go through stages of redefinition and refinement.

This is a major factor that distinguishes science from nonscience.  Honesty. The penalty for fraud is professional excommunication.  In science.  Albert Einstein put it well when he stated. ―No number of experiments can prove me right. a single experiment can prove me wrong.E. it is more important to have a means of proving an idea wrong than to have a means of proving it right. SCIENTIFIC ATTITUDE  A discredited scientist does not get a second chance in the community of scientists. so important to the progress of science.‖ . thus becomes a matter of self-interest to scientists.

there is no way to prove it wrong if no intelligent life is ever found. . If one searched the far reaches of the universe for eons and found no life. then that would not prove that it doesn’t exist ―around the next corner. but this hypothesis is not scientific.E. b) ―Intelligent life exists on other planets somewhere in the universe‖ is not scientific. Although it can be proven correct by the verification of a single instance of intelligent life existing elsewhere in the universe. It is speculation.‖ Many people believe it.‖  A hypothesis that is capable of being proven right but not capable of being proven wrong is not a scientific hypothesis. SCIENTIFIC ATTITUDE  Consider the following hypotheses: a) ―The alignment of planets in the sky determines the best time for making decisions. It cannot be proven wrong. nor can it be proven right. Many such statements are quite reasonable and useful. but they lie outside the domain of science.

F.  Technology is a double-edged sword in that it can be both helpful and harmful. b) Technology lets humans use that knowledge for practical purposes. SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY  Science and technology are different from each other. . Negative side: The burning of fossil fuels damages the environment.  Example: We have the technology to extract fossil fuels from the ground and then burn the fossil fuels to produce energy. and it provides the instruments scientists need to conduct their investigations. Positive side: Energy production from fossil fuels has benefited society in countless ways. a) Science is concerned with gathering knowledge and organizing it.

 The promise of technology is a cleaner and healthier world. What we do with this tool is up to us.  It is humans who use the technology. SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY  It is tempting to blame technology itself for such problems as pollution.  The 21st century will likely see a switch from fossil fuels to more sustainable energy sources. resource depletion. . and even overpopulation.F.  Wise applications of technology can improve conditions on planet Earth. and humans who are responsible for how it is used.  Human beings already possess the technology to solve many environmental problems.  Technology is our tool.

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