What is "Science"?

  • Delivis

    Posts: 2332

    Sep 17, 2010 12:54 PM GMT
    I find it interesting just how wide and varried the conceptions are of this word. It seems to be one of those words that is highly prone to equivocation. Am curious to see how people would answer the following kinds of questions.

    So what do you think science is? How do you define it?
    What counts as science and what does not? Or...
    How do you tell what is scientific and what is not scientific?
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    Sep 17, 2010 12:56 PM GMT
    Science is awesome! Asking how and why things work the way they do, why they are the way they are and then through series of testing under controlled conditions trying to find the answer.
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    Sep 17, 2010 4:41 PM GMT
    Science is the act of researching something to find an answer to a question.
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    Sep 17, 2010 4:52 PM GMT
    paulflexes saidScience is the act of researching something to find an answer to a question.

    That could also describe what an historian does, or a biographer. I found this definition of science:

    the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment
  • Delivis

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    Sep 17, 2010 9:01 PM GMT
    Art_Deco said
    paulflexes saidScience is the act of researching something to find an answer to a question.

    That could also describe what an historian does, or a biographer. I found this definition of science:

    the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment


    Yes, that is the trouble with all of these, to different degrees though.

    In all cases ask yourself if you can think of anything which would fit the definition or description but that you would not consider to be science.
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    Sep 17, 2010 9:44 PM GMT
    I believe the actual meaning of the word Science is Knowledge.
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    Sep 17, 2010 9:51 PM GMT
    NotThatOld saidI believe the actual meaning of the word Science is Knowledge.


    I like this definition the most. I study the science of human hearing. So, I guess I study the knowledge of human hearing. Oh and I guess I experiment on little chinchillas among other animals too.
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    Sep 17, 2010 10:28 PM GMT
    Delivis saidI find it interesting just how wide and varried the conceptions are of this word. It seems to be one of those words that is highly prone to equivocation. Am curious to see how people would answer the following kinds of questions.

    So what do you think science is? How do you define it?
    What counts as science and what does not? Or...
    How do you tell what is scientific and what is not scientific?

    Science woud be me licking chocolate sauce off your abs to see if it changes the flavor *nods*
  • tazzari

    Posts: 2929

    Sep 17, 2010 10:35 PM GMT
    QUOTE AUTHOR GOES HEREScience is the act of researching something to find an answer to a question.


    Karl Popper would say that science starts with formulating a theory to explain something. He pointed out that the value of a theory lies in proving it wrong: as long as you think you have "the" answer you stop progressing. Thus, "science" is the process of disproving theory.

    (Brain Magee's "Popper" is the best book on knowledge, theory and scinece I have ever read, and it was enromously useful in my career.)
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    Sep 17, 2010 10:40 PM GMT
    Delivis, you haven't said what you think of the word yourself.

    Science is like the word "art" ,
    or a more mundane example, the word "regular" amongst the gays .

    it's " yeah, whatever" ...

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    Sep 18, 2010 3:54 AM GMT
    Basically anything based on logic and justifiable evidence. i.e. almost everything except religion.
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    Sep 18, 2010 4:05 AM GMT
    To me, science is all about discovery.

    I would also agree with the ideas of science as it relates to knowledge, proofs, etc.

    Regarding the differentiation of science versus a biographer or a historian, they utilize scientific tools to accomplish their goals, so based upon my synonym above, they're scientists too of sorts.

    And regarding religion, it's important to mention that the essence of religion is based in trying to explain the unknown, or to answer a question about something, which is also the essence of the beginning of the scientific process.

    I can go through an almost endless conversation about what science is and is not (like art, as previously mentioned), but those above thoughts stand out to me the most.
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    Sep 18, 2010 4:09 AM GMT


    ... *hums theme song*

    .. huH?
  • MidwesternKid

    Posts: 1167

    Sep 18, 2010 4:11 AM GMT
    paulflexes nailed it. icon_smile.gif
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    Sep 18, 2010 4:21 AM GMT
    Science is getting paid crap to spend long hours racking your brain and pipetting small volumes whilst inhaling carcinogenic and/or mutagenic fumes only to realize the the damn experiment is not working and you have to start over with all new reagents and that sets you back a week and your adviser is going to be most displeased, yes, most displeased indeed....... wait what was the question?
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    Sep 18, 2010 4:21 AM GMT
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    Sep 18, 2010 5:06 AM GMT
    Science can't be boiled down to one universal definition, since it is in a constant state of refinement and evolution. Here's one stab at it, though:

    Science is a methodology for adding to our knowledge of the world, through making observations, building models based on those observations, and testing the predictions of those models.
    Every step of this process must be documented in clear and unambiguous terms, and be verifiable and repeatable by others.
    Nothing is certain, but well-tested models attain a high level of reliability.
    All recognized scientific "facts" must be consistent with each other.
    Exposing flaws and paradoxes in models is a high attainment.

    This is just off the top of my head. icon_smile.gif

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    Sep 18, 2010 5:17 AM GMT
    Art_Deco said
    paulflexes saidScience is the act of researching something to find an answer to a question.

    That could also describe what an historian does, or a biographer. I found this definition of science:

    the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment
    "Encompassing the systematic study" is a fancy way of saying "researching."
    "Behavior of the physical and natural world" is the question.
    "Observation and experiment" are just methods of research.
    Therefore my original reply is still correct. icon_biggrin.gif
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    Sep 18, 2010 5:20 AM GMT
    paulflexes said
    Art_Deco said
    paulflexes saidScience is the act of researching something to find an answer to a question.

    That could also describe what an historian does, or a biographer. I found this definition of science:

    the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment
    "Encompassing the systematic study" is a fancy way of saying "researching."
    "Behavior of the physical and natural world" is the question.
    "Observation and experiment" are just methods of research.
    Therefore my original reply is still correct. icon_biggrin.gif


    Correct inasmuch as it *includes* science, but it's too broad.
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    Sep 18, 2010 5:43 AM GMT
    For that matter: What is art? What is philosophy? What is history? What is economy? What are politics?

    "Science" is many things:

    - a technique of understanding the world
    - a system of social engineering
    - powerful
    - enlightening
    - frightening
    - a religion
    - transformative
    - misused
    - creative/artistic
    - historical
    - economic
    - political
    - philosophical

    Again, science is many things. What science is NOT, however, is separate from the rest of the world; separate from human nature. As such, it is subject to all the same wonders as well as flaws of other avenues of human nature and human society. For all the good and bad (use and misuse) that may be found within the political, spiritual, economic and social realms, so too can this be equally found within the scientific realm.
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    Sep 18, 2010 5:50 AM GMT
    Delivis saidI find it interesting just how wide and varried the conceptions are of this word. It seems to be one of those words that is highly prone to equivocation. Am curious to see how people would answer the following kinds of questions.

    So what do you think science is? How do you define it?
    What counts as science and what does not? Or...
    How do you tell what is scientific and what is not scientific?







    Let me take a shot at this mini-questionnaire:

    I think science is a big game of human collaboration in which hypotheses are thrown in air and shot down by experimentation and observation. This process is cyclic and what's left at the end of the process is "science"....or rather "scientific law."

    I think anything can count as science as long as it can be backed by conclusive evidence. On the other hand, what isn't science would include theories backed only by common sense......and....and stuff.


    ok haha, I give up.



    EDIT:

    ok, this video PERFECTLY illustrates what is "not science"--if you haven't seen this very funny video already:
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    Sep 18, 2010 6:14 AM GMT
    lilTanker saidScience woud be me licking chocolate sauce off your abs to see if it changes the flavor *nods*

    Don't forget to seek other volunteers so that you can have a control group.
    And you might just have to wear a blindfold....
    You know, it's all about the method.
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    Sep 18, 2010 6:41 AM GMT
    inkandcoccyx said


    ok haha, I give up.



    EDIT:

    ok, this video PERFECTLY illustrates what is "not science"--if you haven't seen this very funny video already:


    at least you gave it a shot...i had to revamp my answer twice because it got long-winded & a tad confusing...

    as the video: priceless! icon_smile.gif
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    Sep 18, 2010 7:12 AM GMT
    To be serious I always thought science was about proving a hypothesis right or wrong via methods that are repeatable
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    Sep 18, 2010 3:32 PM GMT
    Science doesn't prove anything. It just makes reproducible tests so that assuming the hypothesis you're supporting is false would be shown to be statistically unlikely.
    That is why pseudoscience is so dangerous--it's not falsifiable.
    http://www.quackwatch.com/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/pseudo.html