Science

Science

Overview
Science is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge
Knowledge
Knowledge is a familiarity with someone or something unknown, which can include information, facts, descriptions, or skills acquired through experience or education. It can refer to the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject...

 in the form of testable explanations
Scientific theory
A scientific theory comprises a collection of concepts, including abstractions of observable phenomena expressed as quantifiable properties, together with rules that express relationships between observations of such concepts...

 and predictions
Predictability
Predictability is the degree to which a correct prediction or forecast of a system's state can be made either qualitatively or quantitatively.-Predictability and Causality:...

 about the universe
Universe
The Universe is commonly defined as the totality of everything that exists, including all matter and energy, the planets, stars, galaxies, and the contents of intergalactic space. Definitions and usage vary and similar terms include the cosmos, the world and nature...

. An older and closely related meaning still in use today is that found for example in Aristotle
Aristotle
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology...

, whereby "science" refers to the body of reliable knowledge itself, of the type that can be logically and rationally
Reason
Reason is a term that refers to the capacity human beings have to make sense of things, to establish and verify facts, and to change or justify practices, institutions, and beliefs. It is closely associated with such characteristically human activities as philosophy, science, language, ...

 explained (see "History and etymology" section below).

Since classical antiquity
Classical antiquity
Classical antiquity is a broad term for a long period of cultural history centered on the Mediterranean Sea, comprising the interlocking civilizations of ancient Greece and ancient Rome, collectively known as the Greco-Roman world...

 science as a type of knowledge was closely linked to philosophy
Philosophy
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational...

.
Discussion
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Quotations

Science, like art, is not a copy of nature but a re-creation of her.

Jacob Bronowski, Science and Human Values (1956)

The symbol and the metaphor are as necessary to science as to poetry.

Jacob Bronowski, Science and Human Values (1956)

I'm not anti-science, I'm anti the way science is sometimes used.

Charles, Prince of Wales, BBC TV programme, ‘Charles at 60: The Passionate Prince,’ 12th November 2008.

Politics and Religion are obsolete. The time has come for Science and Spirituality.

Often quoted by Arthur C. Clarke as one of his favorite remarks of Jawaharlal Nehru|Jawaharlal Nehru, though some of his earliest citations of it, in Voices from the Sky : Previews of the Coming Space Age (1967), p. 154 indicate that Nehru may himself been either quoting or paraphrasing a statement of Vinoba Bhave|Vinoba Bhave.

It is those who know little, and not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science.

Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man|Descent of Man (introduction)

Fortunately science, like that nature to which it belongs, is neither limited by time nor by space. It belongs to the world, and is of no country and of no age. The more we know, the more we feel our ignorance; the more we feel how much remains unknown; and in philosophy, the sentiment of Alexander the Great|the Macedonian hero can never apply, — there are always new worlds to conquer.

Sir Humphry Davy|Humphry Davy, discourse delivered at the Royal Society (30 November 1825)

There's real poetry in the real world. Science is the poetry of reality.

Richard Dawkins, The Enemies of Reason|The Enemies of Reason, "Slaves to Superstition" [1.01], 13 August 2007, timecode 00:38:16ff
Encyclopedia
Science is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge
Knowledge
Knowledge is a familiarity with someone or something unknown, which can include information, facts, descriptions, or skills acquired through experience or education. It can refer to the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject...

 in the form of testable explanations
Scientific theory
A scientific theory comprises a collection of concepts, including abstractions of observable phenomena expressed as quantifiable properties, together with rules that express relationships between observations of such concepts...

 and predictions
Predictability
Predictability is the degree to which a correct prediction or forecast of a system's state can be made either qualitatively or quantitatively.-Predictability and Causality:...

 about the universe
Universe
The Universe is commonly defined as the totality of everything that exists, including all matter and energy, the planets, stars, galaxies, and the contents of intergalactic space. Definitions and usage vary and similar terms include the cosmos, the world and nature...

. An older and closely related meaning still in use today is that found for example in Aristotle
Aristotle
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology...

, whereby "science" refers to the body of reliable knowledge itself, of the type that can be logically and rationally
Reason
Reason is a term that refers to the capacity human beings have to make sense of things, to establish and verify facts, and to change or justify practices, institutions, and beliefs. It is closely associated with such characteristically human activities as philosophy, science, language, ...

 explained (see "History and etymology" section below).

Since classical antiquity
Classical antiquity
Classical antiquity is a broad term for a long period of cultural history centered on the Mediterranean Sea, comprising the interlocking civilizations of ancient Greece and ancient Rome, collectively known as the Greco-Roman world...

 science as a type of knowledge was closely linked to philosophy
Philosophy
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational...

. In the early modern era the two words, "science" and "philosophy", were sometimes used interchangeably in the English language
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

. By the 17th century, "natural philosophy" (which is today called "natural science
Natural science
The natural sciences are branches of science that seek to elucidate the rules that govern the natural world by using empirical and scientific methods...

") had begun to be considered separately from "philosophy" in general. However, "science" continued to be used in a broad sense denoting reliable knowledge about a topic, in the same way it is still used in modern terms such as library science
Library science
Library science is an interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary field that applies the practices, perspectives, and tools of management, information technology, education, and other areas to libraries; the collection, organization, preservation, and dissemination of information resources; and the...

 or political science
Political science
Political Science is a social science discipline concerned with the study of the state, government and politics. Aristotle defined it as the study of the state. It deals extensively with the theory and practice of politics, and the analysis of political systems and political behavior...

.

In modern use, "science" is a term which more often refers to a way of pursuing knowledge, and not the knowledge itself. It is "often treated as synonymous with ‘natural and physical science’, and thus restricted to those branches of study that relate to the phenomena of the material universe and their laws, sometimes with implied exclusion of pure mathematics. This is now the dominant sense in ordinary use." This narrower sense of "science" developed as a part of science became a distinct enterprise of defining "laws of nature", based on early examples such as Kepler's laws
Kepler's laws of planetary motion
In astronomy, Kepler's laws give a description of the motion of planets around the Sun.Kepler's laws are:#The orbit of every planet is an ellipse with the Sun at one of the two foci....

, Galileo's laws, and Newton
Isaac Newton
Sir Isaac Newton PRS was an English physicist, mathematician, astronomer, natural philosopher, alchemist, and theologian, who has been "considered by many to be the greatest and most influential scientist who ever lived."...

's laws of motion
Newton's laws of motion
Newton's laws of motion are three physical laws that form the basis for classical mechanics. They describe the relationship between the forces acting on a body and its motion due to those forces...

. In this period it became more common to refer to natural philosophy as "natural science". Over the course of the 19th century, the word "science" became increasingly associated with the disciplined study
Scientific method
Scientific method refers to a body of techniques for investigating phenomena, acquiring new knowledge, or correcting and integrating previous knowledge. To be termed scientific, a method of inquiry must be based on gathering empirical and measurable evidence subject to specific principles of...

 of the natural world including physics
Physics
Physics is a natural science that involves the study of matter and its motion through spacetime, along with related concepts such as energy and force. More broadly, it is the general analysis of nature, conducted in order to understand how the universe behaves.Physics is one of the oldest academic...

, chemistry
Chemistry
Chemistry is the science of matter, especially its chemical reactions, but also its composition, structure and properties. Chemistry is concerned with atoms and their interactions with other atoms, and particularly with the properties of chemical bonds....

, geology
Geology
Geology is the science comprising the study of solid Earth, the rocks of which it is composed, and the processes by which it evolves. Geology gives insight into the history of the Earth, as it provides the primary evidence for plate tectonics, the evolutionary history of life, and past climates...

 and biology
Biology
Biology is a natural science concerned with the study of life and living organisms, including their structure, function, growth, origin, evolution, distribution, and taxonomy. Biology is a vast subject containing many subdivisions, topics, and disciplines...

. This sometimes left the study of human thought and society in a linguistic limbo, which was resolved by classifying these areas of academic study as social science. Similarly, several other major areas of disciplined study and knowledge exist today under the general rubric of "science", such as formal science
Formal science
The formal sciences are the branches of knowledge that are concerned with formal systems, such as logic, mathematics, theoretical computer science, information theory, systems theory, decision theory, statistics, and some aspects of linguistics....

 and applied science
Applied science
Applied science is the application of scientific knowledge transferred into a physical environment. Examples include testing a theoretical model through the use of formal science or solving a practical problem through the use of natural science....

.

History and etymology




Science existed before the modern era, but modern science is so distinct in its approach and successful in its results that it now defines what science is in the strictest sense of the term. Descriptions of disciplined empirical
Empirical
The word empirical denotes information gained by means of observation or experimentation. Empirical data are data produced by an experiment or observation....

 investigations of the natural world exist from times at least as early as classical antiquity
Classical antiquity
Classical antiquity is a broad term for a long period of cultural history centered on the Mediterranean Sea, comprising the interlocking civilizations of ancient Greece and ancient Rome, collectively known as the Greco-Roman world...

 (for example, by Aristotle
Aristotle
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology...

 and Pliny the Elder
Pliny the Elder
Gaius Plinius Secundus , better known as Pliny the Elder, was a Roman author, naturalist, and natural philosopher, as well as naval and army commander of the early Roman Empire, and personal friend of the emperor Vespasian...

), and scientific method
Scientific method
Scientific method refers to a body of techniques for investigating phenomena, acquiring new knowledge, or correcting and integrating previous knowledge. To be termed scientific, a method of inquiry must be based on gathering empirical and measurable evidence subject to specific principles of...

s have been employed since the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

 (for example, by Alhazen and Roger Bacon
Roger Bacon
Roger Bacon, O.F.M. , also known as Doctor Mirabilis , was an English philosopher and Franciscan friar who placed considerable emphasis on the study of nature through empirical methods...

). However the dawn of modern science is generally traced back to the early modern period
Early modern period
In history, the early modern period of modern history follows the late Middle Ages. Although the chronological limits of the period are open to debate, the timeframe spans the period after the late portion of the Middle Ages through the beginning of the Age of Revolutions...

 during what is known as the Scientific Revolution
Scientific revolution
The Scientific Revolution is an era associated primarily with the 16th and 17th centuries during which new ideas and knowledge in physics, astronomy, biology, medicine and chemistry transformed medieval and ancient views of nature and laid the foundations for modern science...

 of the 16th and 17th centuries. This period was marked by a new way of studying the natural world, by methodical experimentation aimed at defining "laws of nature" while avoiding metaphysical concerns such as Aristotle's theory of causation
Four causes
Four Causes refers to a principle in Aristotelian science that is used to understand change. Aristotle described four different types of causes, or ways in which an object could be explained: "we do not have knowledge of a thing until we have grasped its why, that is to say, its cause", He argued...

.
This modern science developed from an older and broader enterprise. The word "science" is from Old French
Old French
Old French was the Romance dialect continuum spoken in territories that span roughly the northern half of modern France and parts of modern Belgium and Switzerland from the 9th century to the 14th century...

, and in turn from Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

  which was one of several words for "knowledge" in that language. In philosophical contexts, scientia and "science" were used to translate the Greek word epistemē, which had acquired a specific definition in Greek philosophy, especially Aristotle
Aristotle
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology...

, as a type of reliable knowledge which is built up logically from strong premises, and can be communicated and taught. In contrast to modern science, Aristotle's influential emphasis was upon the "theoretical" steps of deducing
Deductive reasoning
Deductive reasoning, also called deductive logic, is reasoning which constructs or evaluates deductive arguments. Deductive arguments are attempts to show that a conclusion necessarily follows from a set of premises or hypothesis...

 universal rules from raw data, and did not treat the gathering of experience and raw data as part of science itself.

From the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

 to the Enlightenment
Age of Enlightenment
The Age of Enlightenment was an elite cultural movement of intellectuals in 18th century Europe that sought to mobilize the power of reason in order to reform society and advance knowledge. It promoted intellectual interchange and opposed intolerance and abuses in church and state...

, science or scientia continued to be used in this broad sense, which was still common until the 20th century. "Science" therefore had the same sort of very broad meaning that philosophy
Philosophy
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational...

had at that time. In other Latin influenced languages, including French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

, Spanish
Spanish language
Spanish , also known as Castilian , is a Romance language in the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several languages and dialects in central-northern Iberia around the 9th century and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castile into central and southern Iberia during the...

, Portuguese
Portuguese language
Portuguese is a Romance language that arose in the medieval Kingdom of Galicia, nowadays Galicia and Northern Portugal. The southern part of the Kingdom of Galicia became independent as the County of Portugal in 1095...

, and Italian
Italian language
Italian is a Romance language spoken mainly in Europe: Italy, Switzerland, San Marino, Vatican City, by minorities in Malta, Monaco, Croatia, Slovenia, France, Libya, Eritrea, and Somalia, and by immigrant communities in the Americas and Australia...

, the word corresponding to science also carried this meaning.

Until the 18th century, the preferred term for the study of nature among English speakers had been "natural philosophy
Natural philosophy
Natural philosophy or the philosophy of nature , is a term applied to the study of nature and the physical universe that was dominant before the development of modern science...

", while other philosophical disciplines (e.g., logic
Logic
In philosophy, Logic is the formal systematic study of the principles of valid inference and correct reasoning. Logic is used in most intellectual activities, but is studied primarily in the disciplines of philosophy, mathematics, semantics, and computer science...

, metaphysics
Metaphysics
Metaphysics is a branch of philosophy concerned with explaining the fundamental nature of being and the world, although the term is not easily defined. Traditionally, metaphysics attempts to answer two basic questions in the broadest possible terms:...

, epistemology, ethics
Ethics
Ethics, also known as moral philosophy, is a branch of philosophy that addresses questions about morality—that is, concepts such as good and evil, right and wrong, virtue and vice, justice and crime, etc.Major branches of ethics include:...

 and aesthetics
Aesthetics
Aesthetics is a branch of philosophy dealing with the nature of beauty, art, and taste, and with the creation and appreciation of beauty. It is more scientifically defined as the study of sensory or sensori-emotional values, sometimes called judgments of sentiment and taste...

) were typically referred to as "moral philosophy". (Today, "moral philosophy
Ethics
Ethics, also known as moral philosophy, is a branch of philosophy that addresses questions about morality—that is, concepts such as good and evil, right and wrong, virtue and vice, justice and crime, etc.Major branches of ethics include:...

" is more-or-less synonymous with "ethics".) Science only became more strongly associated with natural philosophy
Natural philosophy
Natural philosophy or the philosophy of nature , is a term applied to the study of nature and the physical universe that was dominant before the development of modern science...

 than other sciences gradually with the strong promotion of the importance of experimental scientific method
Scientific method
Scientific method refers to a body of techniques for investigating phenomena, acquiring new knowledge, or correcting and integrating previous knowledge. To be termed scientific, a method of inquiry must be based on gathering empirical and measurable evidence subject to specific principles of...

, by people such as Francis Bacon
Francis Bacon
Francis Bacon, 1st Viscount St Albans, KC was an English philosopher, statesman, scientist, lawyer, jurist, author and pioneer of the scientific method. He served both as Attorney General and Lord Chancellor of England...

. With Bacon, begins a more widespread and open criticism of Aristotle's influence which had emphasized theorizing and did not treat raw data collection as part of science itself. An opposed position became common: that what is critical to science at its best is methodical collecting of clear and useful raw data, something which is easier to do in some fields than others.

The word "science" in English was still however used in the 17th century to refer to the Aristotelian
Aristotelianism
Aristotelianism is a tradition of philosophy that takes its defining inspiration from the work of Aristotle. The works of Aristotle were initially defended by the members of the Peripatetic school, and, later on, by the Neoplatonists, who produced many commentaries on Aristotle's writings...

 concept of knowledge which was secure enough to be used as a prescription for exactly how to accomplish a specific task. With respect to the transitional usage of the term "natural philosophy" in this period, the philosopher John Locke
John Locke
John Locke FRS , widely known as the Father of Liberalism, was an English philosopher and physician regarded as one of the most influential of Enlightenment thinkers. Considered one of the first of the British empiricists, following the tradition of Francis Bacon, he is equally important to social...

 wrote in 1690 that "natural philosophy is not capable of being made a science". However, it may be that Locke was not using the word 'science' in the modern sense, but suggesting that 'natural philosophy' could not be deduced in the same way as mathematics and logic.

Locke's assertion notwithstanding, by the early 19th century natural philosophy had begun to separate from philosophy, though it often retained a very broad meaning. In many cases, science continued to stand for reliable knowledge about any topic, in the same way it is still used today in the broad sense (see the introduction to this article) in modern terms such as library science
Library science
Library science is an interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary field that applies the practices, perspectives, and tools of management, information technology, education, and other areas to libraries; the collection, organization, preservation, and dissemination of information resources; and the...

, political science
Political science
Political Science is a social science discipline concerned with the study of the state, government and politics. Aristotle defined it as the study of the state. It deals extensively with the theory and practice of politics, and the analysis of political systems and political behavior...

, computer science
Computer science
Computer science or computing science is the study of the theoretical foundations of information and computation and of practical techniques for their implementation and application in computer systems...

, and the auxiliary sciences of history
Auxiliary sciences of history
Auxiliary sciences of history are scholarly disciplines which help evaluate and use historical sources and are seen as auxiliary for historical research...

. In the narrower sense, as natural philosophy became linked to an expanding set of well-defined laws (beginning with Galileo's laws, Kepler's laws, and Newton
Isaac Newton
Sir Isaac Newton PRS was an English physicist, mathematician, astronomer, natural philosopher, alchemist, and theologian, who has been "considered by many to be the greatest and most influential scientist who ever lived."...

's laws for motion), it became more common to refer to natural philosophy as natural science. Over the course of the 19th century, moreover, there was an increased tendency to associate science with study of the natural world (that is, the non-human world). This move sometimes left the study of human thought and society (what would come to be called social science
Social sciences
Social science is the field of study concerned with society. "Social science" is commonly used as an umbrella term to refer to a plurality of fields outside of the natural sciences usually exclusive of the administrative or managerial sciences...

) in a linguistic limbo by the end of the century and into the next.

Through the 19th century, many English speakers were increasingly differentiating science (i.e., the natural sciences) from all other forms of knowledge in a variety of ways. The now-familiar expression “scientific method
Scientific method
Scientific method refers to a body of techniques for investigating phenomena, acquiring new knowledge, or correcting and integrating previous knowledge. To be termed scientific, a method of inquiry must be based on gathering empirical and measurable evidence subject to specific principles of...

,” which refers to the prescriptive part of how to make discoveries in natural philosophy, was almost unused until then, but became widespread after the 1870s, though there was rarely total agreement about just what it entailed. The word "scientist," meant to refer to a systematically working natural philosopher, (as opposed to an intuitive or empirically minded one) was coined in 1833 by English polymath William Whewell
William Whewell
William Whewell was an English polymath, scientist, Anglican priest, philosopher, theologian, and historian of science. He was Master of Trinity College, Cambridge.-Life and career:Whewell was born in Lancaster...

. Discussion of scientist
Scientist
A scientist in a broad sense is one engaging in a systematic activity to acquire knowledge. In a more restricted sense, a scientist is an individual who uses the scientific method. The person may be an expert in one or more areas of science. This article focuses on the more restricted use of the word...

s as a special group of people, who did science, even if their attributes were up for debate, grew in the last half of the 19th century. Whatever people actually meant by these terms at first, they ultimately depicted science, in the narrow sense of the habitual use of the scientific method and the knowledge derived from it, as something deeply distinguished from all other realms of human endeavor.

By the 20th century, the modern notion of science as a special kind of knowledge about the world, practiced by a distinct group and pursued through a unique method was essentially in place. It was used to give legitimacy to a variety of fields through such titles as "scientific" medicine, engineering, advertising, or motherhood. Over the 20th century, links between science and technology
Technology
Technology is the making, usage, and knowledge of tools, machines, techniques, crafts, systems or methods of organization in order to solve a problem or perform a specific function. It can also refer to the collection of such tools, machinery, and procedures. The word technology comes ;...

 also grew increasingly strong. As Martin Rees explains, progress in scientific understanding and technology have been synergistic and vital to one another.

Richard Feynman
Richard Feynman
Richard Phillips Feynman was an American physicist known for his work in the path integral formulation of quantum mechanics, the theory of quantum electrodynamics and the physics of the superfluidity of supercooled liquid helium, as well as in particle physics...

 described science to his students as: "The principle of science, the definition, almost, is the following: The test of all knowledge is experiment. Experiment is the sole judge of scientific 'truth'. But what is the source of knowledge? Where do the laws that are to be tested come from? Experiment, itself, helps to produce these laws, in the sense that it gives us hints. But also needed is imagination to create from these hints the great generalizations — to guess at the wonderful, simple, but very strange patterns beneath them all, and then to experiment to check again whether we have made the right guess." Feynman also observed, "...there is an expanding frontier of ignorance...things must be learned only to be unlearned again or, more likely, to be corrected."

Philosophy


Working scientists usually take for granted a set of basic assumptions that are needed to justify a scientific method: (1) that there is an objective reality shared by all rational observers; (2) that this objective reality is governed by natural laws; (3) that these laws can be discovered by means of systematic observation and experimentation. Philosophy of science seeks a deep understanding of what these underlying assumptions mean and whether they are valid. Most contributions to the philosophy of science have come from philosophers, who frequently view the beliefs of most scientists as superficial or naive—thus there is often a degree of antagonism between working scientists and philosophers of science.

The belief that all observers share a common reality is known as realism
Realism
Realism, Realist or Realistic are terms that describe any manifestation of philosophical realism, the belief that reality exists independently of observers, whether in philosophy itself or in the applied arts and sciences. In this broad sense it is frequently contrasted with Idealism.Realism in the...

. It can be contrasted with anti-realism
Anti-realism
In analytic philosophy, the term anti-realism is used to describe any position involving either the denial of an objective reality of entities of a certain type or the denial that verification-transcendent statements about a type of entity are either true or false...

, the belief that there is no valid concept of absolute truth such that things that are true for one observer are true for all observers. The most commonly defended form of anti-realism is idealism
Idealism
In philosophy, idealism is the family of views which assert that reality, or reality as we can know it, is fundamentally mental, mentally constructed, or otherwise immaterial. Epistemologically, idealism manifests as a skepticism about the possibility of knowing any mind-independent thing...

, the belief that the mind or spirit is the most basic essence, and that each mind generates its own reality. In an idealistic world-view, what is true for one mind need not be true for other minds.

There are different schools of thought in philosophy of science. The most popular position is empiricism
Empiricism
Empiricism is a theory of knowledge that asserts that knowledge comes only or primarily via sensory experience. One of several views of epistemology, the study of human knowledge, along with rationalism, idealism and historicism, empiricism emphasizes the role of experience and evidence,...

, which claims that knowledge is created by a process involving observation and that scientific theories are the result of generalizations from such observations. Empiricism generally encompasses inductivism
Inductivism
In the philosophy of science inductivism exists both in a classical naive version, which has been highly influential, and in various more sophisticated versions...

, a position that tries to explain the way general theories can be justified by the finite number of observations humans can make and the hence finite amount of empirical evidence available to confirm scientific theories. This is necessary because the number of predictions those theories make is infinite, which means that they cannot be known from the finite amount of evidence using deductive
Deduction
Deduction may refer to:in logic:* Deductive reasoning, inference in which the conclusion is of no greater generality than the premises...

 logic only. Many versions of empiricism exist, with the predominant ones being bayesianism  and the hypothetico-deductive method.

Empiricism has stood in contrast to rationalism
Rationalism
In epistemology and in its modern sense, rationalism is "any view appealing to reason as a source of knowledge or justification" . In more technical terms, it is a method or a theory "in which the criterion of the truth is not sensory but intellectual and deductive"...

, the position originally associated with Descartes, which holds that knowledge is created by the human intellect, not by observation. A significant twentieth century version of rationalism is critical rationalism
Critical rationalism
Critical rationalism is an epistemological philosophy advanced by Karl Popper. Popper wrote about critical rationalism in his works, The Open Society and its Enemies Volume 2, and Conjectures and Refutations.- Criticism, not support :...

, first defined by Austrian-British philosopher Karl Popper
Karl Popper
Sir Karl Raimund Popper, CH FRS FBA was an Austro-British philosopher and a professor at the London School of Economics...

. Popper rejected the way that empiricism describes the connection between theory and observation. He claimed that theories are not generated by observation, but that observation is made in the light of theories and that the only way a theory can be affected by observation is when it comes in conflict with it. Popper proposed falsifiability
Falsifiability
Falsifiability or refutability of an assertion, hypothesis or theory is the logical possibility that it can be contradicted by an observation or the outcome of a physical experiment...

 as the landmark of scientific theories, and falsification as the empirical method to replace verifiability and induction by purely deductive notions. Popper further claimed that there is only one universal method in science, and that this method is not specific to science: The negative method of criticism, trial and error
Trial and error
Trial and error, or trial by error, is a general method of problem solving, fixing things, or for obtaining knowledge."Learning doesn't happen from failure itself but rather from analyzing the failure, making a change, and then trying again."...

. It covers all products of the human mind, including science, mathematics, philosophy, and art

Another approach, instrumentalism
Instrumentalism
In the philosophy of science, instrumentalism is the view that a scientific theory is a useful instrument in understanding the world. A concept or theory should be evaluated by how effectively it explains and predicts phenomena, as opposed to how accurately it describes objective...

, colloquially termed "shut up and calculate", emphasizes the utility of theories as instruments for explaining and predicting phenomena. It claims that scientific theories are black boxes with only their input (initial conditions) and output (predictions) being relevant. Consequences, notions and logical structure of the theories are claimed to be something that should simply be ignored and that scientists shouldn't make a fuss about (see interpretations of quantum mechanics).

Finally, another approach often cited in debates of scientific skepticism
Scientific skepticism
Scientific skepticism is the practice of questioning the veracity of claims lacking empirical evidence or reproducibility, as part of a methodological norm pursuing "the extension of certified knowledge". For example, Robert K...

 against controversial movements like creationism
Creationism
Creationism is the religious beliefthat humanity, life, the Earth, and the universe are the creation of a supernatural being, most often referring to the Abrahamic god. As science developed from the 18th century onwards, various views developed which aimed to reconcile science with the Genesis...

, is methodological naturalism. Its main point is that a difference between natural and supernatural
Supernatural
The supernatural or is that which is not subject to the laws of nature, or more figuratively, that which is said to exist above and beyond nature...

 explanations should be made, and that science should be restricted methodologically to natural explanations. That the restriction is merely methodological (rather than ontological) means that science should not consider supernatural explanations itself, but should not claim them to be wrong either. Instead, supernatural explanations should be left a matter of personal belief outside the scope of science. Methodological naturalism maintains that proper science requires strict adherence to empirical
Empirical
The word empirical denotes information gained by means of observation or experimentation. Empirical data are data produced by an experiment or observation....

 study and independent verification as a process for properly developing and evaluating explanations for observable
Observation
Observation is either an activity of a living being, such as a human, consisting of receiving knowledge of the outside world through the senses, or the recording of data using scientific instruments. The term may also refer to any data collected during this activity...

 phenomena. The absence of these standards, arguments from authority, biased observational studies and other common fallacies
Fallacy
In logic and rhetoric, a fallacy is usually an incorrect argumentation in reasoning resulting in a misconception or presumption. By accident or design, fallacies may exploit emotional triggers in the listener or interlocutor , or take advantage of social relationships between people...

 are frequently cited by supporters of methodological naturalism as criteria for the dubious claims they criticize not to be true science.

Basic and applied research


Although some scientific research is applied research
Applied research
Applied research is a form of systematic inquiry involving the practical application of science. It accesses and uses some part of the research communities' accumulated theories, knowledge, methods, and techniques, for a specific, often state, business, or client driven purpose...

 into specific problems, a great deal of our understanding comes from the curiosity-driven undertaking of basic research
Basic Research
Basic Research is an herbal supplement and cosmetics manufacturer based in Salt Lake City, Utah that distributes products through a large number of subsidiaries. In addition, their products are sold domestically and internationally through a number of high-end retailers. Dennis Gay is the...

. This leads to options for technological advance that were not planned or sometimes even imaginable. This point was made by Michael Faraday when, allegedly in response to the question "what is the use of basic research?" he responded "Sir, what is the use of a new-born child?". For example, research into the effects of red light on the human eye's rod cells did not seem to have any practical purpose; eventually, the discovery that our night vision
Night vision
Night vision is the ability to see in low light conditions. Whether by biological or technological means, night vision is made possible by a combination of two approaches: sufficient spectral range, and sufficient intensity range...

 is not troubled by red light would lead search and rescue
Search and rescue
Search and rescue is the search for and provision of aid to people who are in distress or imminent danger.The general field of search and rescue includes many specialty sub-fields, mostly based upon terrain considerations...

 teams (among others) to adopt red light in the cockpits of jets and helicopters.
In a nutshell: Basic research is the search for knowledge. Applied research is the search for solutions to practical problems using this knowledge. Finally, even basic research can take unexpected turns, and there is some sense in which the scientific method is built to harness luck.

Experimentation and hypothesizing


Based on observations of a phenomenon, scientists may generate a model. This is an attempt to describe or depict the phenomenon in terms of a logical, physical or mathematical representation. As empirical evidence is gathered, scientists can suggest a hypothesis
Hypothesis
A hypothesis is a proposed explanation for a phenomenon. The term derives from the Greek, ὑποτιθέναι – hypotithenai meaning "to put under" or "to suppose". For a hypothesis to be put forward as a scientific hypothesis, the scientific method requires that one can test it...

 to explain the phenomenon. Hypotheses may be formulated using principles such as parsimony (also known as "Occam's Razor
Occam's razor
Occam's razor, also known as Ockham's razor, and sometimes expressed in Latin as lex parsimoniae , is a principle that generally recommends from among competing hypotheses selecting the one that makes the fewest new assumptions.-Overview:The principle is often summarized as "simpler explanations...

") and are generally expected to seek consilience
Consilience
Consilience, or the unity of knowledge , has its roots in the ancient Greek concept of an intrinsic orderliness that governs our cosmos, inherently comprehensible by logical process, a vision at odds with mystical views in many cultures that surrounded the Hellenes...

—fitting well with other accepted facts related to the phenomena. This new explanation is used to make falsifiable predictions that are testable by experiment or observation. When a hypothesis proves unsatisfactory, it is either modified or discarded. Experimentation is especially important in science to help establish causational relationships
Causality
Causality is the relationship between an event and a second event , where the second event is understood as a consequence of the first....

 (to avoid the correlation fallacy
Correlation does not imply causation
"Correlation does not imply causation" is a phrase used in science and statistics to emphasize that correlation between two variables does not automatically imply that one causes the other "Correlation does not imply causation" (related to "ignoring a common cause" and questionable cause) is a...

). Operationalization
Operationalization
In humanities, operationalization is the process of defining a fuzzy concept so as to make the concept clearly distinguishable or measurable and to understand it in terms of empirical observations...

 also plays an important role in coordinating research in/across different fields.

Once a hypothesis has survived testing, it may become adopted into the framework of a scientific theory. This is a logically reasoned, self-consistent model or framework for describing the behavior of certain natural phenomena. A theory typically describes the behavior of much broader sets of phenomena than a hypothesis; commonly, a large number of hypotheses can be logically bound together by a single theory. Thus a theory is a hypothesis explaining various other hypotheses. In that vein, theories are formulated according to most of the same scientific principles as hypotheses.

While performing experiments, scientist
Scientist
A scientist in a broad sense is one engaging in a systematic activity to acquire knowledge. In a more restricted sense, a scientist is an individual who uses the scientific method. The person may be an expert in one or more areas of science. This article focuses on the more restricted use of the word...

s may have a preference for one outcome over another, and so it is important to ensure that science as a whole can eliminate this bias. This can be achieved by careful experimental design
Design of experiments
In general usage, design of experiments or experimental design is the design of any information-gathering exercises where variation is present, whether under the full control of the experimenter or not. However, in statistics, these terms are usually used for controlled experiments...

, transparency, and a thorough peer review
Peer review
Peer review is a process of self-regulation by a profession or a process of evaluation involving qualified individuals within the relevant field. Peer review methods are employed to maintain standards, improve performance and provide credibility...

 process of the experimental results as well as any conclusions. After the results of an experiment are announced or published, it is normal practice for independent researchers to double-check how the research was performed, and to follow up by performing similar experiments to determine how dependable the results might be.

Certainty and science


A scientific theory is empirical
Empirical
The word empirical denotes information gained by means of observation or experimentation. Empirical data are data produced by an experiment or observation....

, and is always open to falsification
Falsifiability
Falsifiability or refutability of an assertion, hypothesis or theory is the logical possibility that it can be contradicted by an observation or the outcome of a physical experiment...

 if new evidence is presented. That is, no theory is ever considered strictly certain
Certainty
Certainty can be defined as either:# perfect knowledge that has total security from error, or# the mental state of being without doubtObjectively defined, certainty is total continuity and validity of all foundational inquiry, to the highest degree of precision. Something is certain only if no...

 as science accepts the concept of fallibilism
Fallibilism
Fallibilism is the philosophical principle that human beings could be wrong about their beliefs, expectations, or their understanding of the world...

. The philosopher of science Karl Popper
Karl Popper
Sir Karl Raimund Popper, CH FRS FBA was an Austro-British philosopher and a professor at the London School of Economics...

 sharply distinguishes truth from certainty. He writes that scientific knowledge "consists in the search for truth", but it "is not the search for certainty ... All human knowledge is fallible and therefore uncertain."

Theories very rarely result in vast changes in our understanding. According to psychologist Keith Stanovich
Keith Stanovich
Keith E. Stanovich is the Canada Research Chair of Applied Cognitive Science at the Department of Human Development and Applied Psychology, University of Toronto. His research areas are the psychology of reasoning and the psychology of reading...

, it may be the media's overuse of words like "breakthrough" that leads the public to imagine that science is constantly proving everything it thought was true to be false. While there are such famous cases as the theory of relativity
Theory of relativity
The theory of relativity, or simply relativity, encompasses two theories of Albert Einstein: special relativity and general relativity. However, the word relativity is sometimes used in reference to Galilean invariance....

 that required a complete reconceptualization, these are extreme exceptions. Knowledge in science is gained by a gradual synthesis of information from different experiments, by various researchers, across different domains of science; it is more like a climb than a leap. Theories vary in the extent to which they have been tested and verified, as well as their acceptance in the scientific community. For example, heliocentric theory
Heliocentrism
Heliocentrism, or heliocentricism, is the astronomical model in which the Earth and planets revolve around a stationary Sun at the center of the universe. The word comes from the Greek . Historically, heliocentrism was opposed to geocentrism, which placed the Earth at the center...

, the theory of evolution
Evolution
Evolution is any change across successive generations in the heritable characteristics of biological populations. Evolutionary processes give rise to diversity at every level of biological organisation, including species, individual organisms and molecules such as DNA and proteins.Life on Earth...

, and germ theory
Germ theory of disease
The germ theory of disease, also called the pathogenic theory of medicine, is a theory that proposes that microorganisms are the cause of many diseases...

 still bear the name "theory" even though, in practice, they are considered fact
Fact
A fact is something that has really occurred or is actually the case. The usual test for a statement of fact is verifiability, that is whether it can be shown to correspond to experience. Standard reference works are often used to check facts...

ual.
Philosopher Barry Stroud
Barry Stroud
Barry Stroud is a philosopher known for his work on philosophical skepticism, David Hume, and Wittgenstein, among other topics. He received a B.A. in philosophy from the University of Toronto, followed by a Ph.D. in philosophy from Harvard University, under the direction of Morton White. Since...

 adds that, although the best definition for "knowledge
Knowledge
Knowledge is a familiarity with someone or something unknown, which can include information, facts, descriptions, or skills acquired through experience or education. It can refer to the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject...

" is contested, being skeptical and entertaining the possibility that one is incorrect is compatible with being correct. Ironically then, the scientist adhering to proper scientific method will doubt themselves even once they possess the truth
Truth
Truth has a variety of meanings, such as the state of being in accord with fact or reality. It can also mean having fidelity to an original or to a standard or ideal. In a common usage, it also means constancy or sincerity in action or character...

. The fallibilist C. S. Peirce argued that inquiry is the struggle to resolve actual doubt and that merely quarrelsome, verbal, or hyperbolic doubt is fruitless—but also that the inquirer should try to attain genuine doubt rather than resting uncritically on common sense. He held that the successful sciences trust, not to any single chain of inference (no stronger than its weakest link), but to the cable of multiple and various arguments intimately connected.

Stanovich also asserts that science avoids searching for a "magic bullet"; it avoids the single-cause fallacy
Fallacy of the single cause
The fallacy of the single cause, also known as causal oversimplification, is a fallacy of questionable cause that occurs when it is assumed that there is a single, simple cause of an outcome when in reality it may have been caused by a number of only jointly sufficient causes.Often after a tragedy...

. This means a scientist would not ask merely "What is the cause of...", but rather "What are the most significant causes of...". This is especially the case in the more macroscopic fields of science (e.g. psychology
Psychology
Psychology is the study of the mind and behavior. Its immediate goal is to understand individuals and groups by both establishing general principles and researching specific cases. For many, the ultimate goal of psychology is to benefit society...

, cosmology
Cosmology
Cosmology is the discipline that deals with the nature of the Universe as a whole. Cosmologists seek to understand the origin, evolution, structure, and ultimate fate of the Universe at large, as well as the natural laws that keep it in order...

). Of course, research often analyzes few factors at once, but these are always added to the long list of factors that are most important to consider. For example: knowing the details of only a person's genetics, or their history and upbringing, or the current situation may not explain a behaviour, but a deep understanding of all these variables combined can be very predictive.

Measurement



In the SI
Si
Si, si, or SI may refer to :- Measurement, mathematics and science :* International System of Units , the modern international standard version of the metric system...

 system, there are seven fundamental units: kilogram
Kilogram
The kilogram or kilogramme , also known as the kilo, is the base unit of mass in the International System of Units and is defined as being equal to the mass of the International Prototype Kilogram , which is almost exactly equal to the mass of one liter of water...

, meter, candela
Candela
The candela is the SI base unit of luminous intensity; that is, power emitted by a light source in a particular direction, weighted by the luminosity function . A common candle emits light with a luminous intensity of roughly one candela...

, second
Second
The second is a unit of measurement of time, and is the International System of Units base unit of time. It may be measured using a clock....

, ampere
Ampere
The ampere , often shortened to amp, is the SI unit of electric current and is one of the seven SI base units. It is named after André-Marie Ampère , French mathematician and physicist, considered the father of electrodynamics...

, kelvin
Kelvin
The kelvin is a unit of measurement for temperature. It is one of the seven base units in the International System of Units and is assigned the unit symbol K. The Kelvin scale is an absolute, thermodynamic temperature scale using as its null point absolute zero, the temperature at which all...

, and mole
Mole (unit)
The mole is a unit of measurement used in chemistry to express amounts of a chemical substance, defined as an amount of a substance that contains as many elementary entities as there are atoms in 12 grams of pure carbon-12 , the isotope of carbon with atomic weight 12. This corresponds to a value...

. Six of these units are artifact-free; the definition of one remaining unit, the kilogram
Kilogram
The kilogram or kilogramme , also known as the kilo, is the base unit of mass in the International System of Units and is defined as being equal to the mass of the International Prototype Kilogram , which is almost exactly equal to the mass of one liter of water...

 is still embodied in an artifact which rests at the BIPM outside Paris. Eventually, it is hoped that new SI definitions
New SI definitions
A committee of the International Committee for Weights and Measures has proposed revised formal definitions of the SI base units, which are being examined by the CIPM and which may be considered by the 25th CGPM, in 2014....

 will be uniformly artifact-free.

New SI definitions
New SI definitions
A committee of the International Committee for Weights and Measures has proposed revised formal definitions of the SI base units, which are being examined by the CIPM and which may be considered by the 25th CGPM, in 2014....

Base quantity Base unit Symbol Current SI constants New SI constants
time second
Second
The second is a unit of measurement of time, and is the International System of Units base unit of time. It may be measured using a clock....

s hyperfine splitting in Cesium-133 same as current SI
length
Length
In geometric measurements, length most commonly refers to the longest dimension of an object.In certain contexts, the term "length" is reserved for a certain dimension of an object along which the length is measured. For example it is possible to cut a length of a wire which is shorter than wire...

meter m speed of light in vacuum, c same as current SI
mass
Mass
Mass can be defined as a quantitive measure of the resistance an object has to change in its velocity.In physics, mass commonly refers to any of the following three properties of matter, which have been shown experimentally to be equivalent:...

kilogram
Kilogram
The kilogram or kilogramme , also known as the kilo, is the base unit of mass in the International System of Units and is defined as being equal to the mass of the International Prototype Kilogram , which is almost exactly equal to the mass of one liter of water...

kg mass of International Prototype Kilogram (IPK) Planck's constant, h
electric current
Electric current
Electric current is a flow of electric charge through a medium.This charge is typically carried by moving electrons in a conductor such as wire...

ampere
Ampere
The ampere , often shortened to amp, is the SI unit of electric current and is one of the seven SI base units. It is named after André-Marie Ampère , French mathematician and physicist, considered the father of electrodynamics...

A permeability of free space, permittivity of free space charge of the electron, e
temperature
Temperature
Temperature is a physical property of matter that quantitatively expresses the common notions of hot and cold. Objects of low temperature are cold, while various degrees of higher temperatures are referred to as warm or hot...

kelvin
Kelvin
The kelvin is a unit of measurement for temperature. It is one of the seven base units in the International System of Units and is assigned the unit symbol K. The Kelvin scale is an absolute, thermodynamic temperature scale using as its null point absolute zero, the temperature at which all...

K triple point of water, absolute zero
Absolute zero
Absolute zero is the theoretical temperature at which entropy reaches its minimum value. The laws of thermodynamics state that absolute zero cannot be reached using only thermodynamic means....

Boltzmann's constant, k
amount of substance mole
Mole
- Animals :* Mole or "true mole", many of the mammals in the family Talpidae, found in Eurasia and North America* Golden moles, southern African mammals, similar to but unrelated to Talpidae moles...

mol molar mass of Carbon
Carbon
Carbon is the chemical element with symbol C and atomic number 6. As a member of group 14 on the periodic table, it is nonmetallic and tetravalent—making four electrons available to form covalent chemical bonds...

-12
Avogadro constant NA
luminous intensity
Luminous intensity
In photometry, luminous intensity is a measure of the wavelength-weighted power emitted by a light source in a particular direction per unit solid angle, based on the luminosity function, a standardized model of the sensitivity of the human eye...

candela
Candela
The candela is the SI base unit of luminous intensity; that is, power emitted by a light source in a particular direction, weighted by the luminosity function . A common candle emits light with a luminous intensity of roughly one candela...

cd luminous efficacy of a 540 THz source same as current SI

Mathematics and formal sciences




Mathematics
Mathematics
Mathematics is the study of quantity, space, structure, and change. Mathematicians seek out patterns and formulate new conjectures. Mathematicians resolve the truth or falsity of conjectures by mathematical proofs, which are arguments sufficient to convince other mathematicians of their validity...

 is essential to the sciences. One important function of mathematics in science is the role it plays in the expression of scientific models. Observing and collecting measurements, as well as hypothesizing and predicting, often require extensive use of mathematics. Arithmetic
Arithmetic
Arithmetic or arithmetics is the oldest and most elementary branch of mathematics, used by almost everyone, for tasks ranging from simple day-to-day counting to advanced science and business calculations. It involves the study of quantity, especially as the result of combining numbers...

, algebra
Algebra
Algebra is the branch of mathematics concerning the study of the rules of operations and relations, and the constructions and concepts arising from them, including terms, polynomials, equations and algebraic structures...

, geometry
Geometry
Geometry arose as the field of knowledge dealing with spatial relationships. Geometry was one of the two fields of pre-modern mathematics, the other being the study of numbers ....

, trigonometry
Trigonometry
Trigonometry is a branch of mathematics that studies triangles and the relationships between their sides and the angles between these sides. Trigonometry defines the trigonometric functions, which describe those relationships and have applicability to cyclical phenomena, such as waves...

 and calculus
Calculus
Calculus is a branch of mathematics focused on limits, functions, derivatives, integrals, and infinite series. This subject constitutes a major part of modern mathematics education. It has two major branches, differential calculus and integral calculus, which are related by the fundamental theorem...

, for example, are all essential to physics
Physics
Physics is a natural science that involves the study of matter and its motion through spacetime, along with related concepts such as energy and force. More broadly, it is the general analysis of nature, conducted in order to understand how the universe behaves.Physics is one of the oldest academic...

. Virtually every branch of mathematics has applications in science, including "pure" areas such as number theory
Number theory
Number theory is a branch of pure mathematics devoted primarily to the study of the integers. Number theorists study prime numbers as well...

 and topology
Topology
Topology is a major area of mathematics concerned with properties that are preserved under continuous deformations of objects, such as deformations that involve stretching, but no tearing or gluing...

.

Statistical methods
Statistics
Statistics is the study of the collection, organization, analysis, and interpretation of data. It deals with all aspects of this, including the planning of data collection in terms of the design of surveys and experiments....

, which are mathematical techniques for summarizing and analyzing data, allow scientists to assess the level of reliability and the range of variation in experimental results. Statistical analysis plays a fundamental role in many areas of both the natural sciences and social sciences.

Computational science
Computational science
Computational science is the field of study concerned with constructing mathematical models and quantitative analysis techniques and using computers to analyze and solve scientific problems...

 applies computing power to simulate real-world situations, enabling a better understanding of scientific problems than formal mathematics alone can achieve. According to the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics
Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics
The Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics was founded by a small group of mathematicians from academia and industry who met in Philadelphia in 1951 to start an organization whose members would meet periodically to exchange ideas about the uses of mathematics in industry. This meeting led...

, computation is now as important as theory and experiment in advancing scientific knowledge.

Whether mathematics itself is properly classified as science has been a matter of some debate. Some thinkers see mathematicians as scientists, regarding physical experiments as inessential or mathematical proofs as equivalent to experiments. Others do not see mathematics as a science, since it does not require an experimental test of its theories and hypotheses. Mathematical theorem
Theorem
In mathematics, a theorem is a statement that has been proven on the basis of previously established statements, such as other theorems, and previously accepted statements, such as axioms...

s and formula
Formula
In mathematics, a formula is an entity constructed using the symbols and formation rules of a given logical language....

s are obtained by logical
Mathematical logic
Mathematical logic is a subfield of mathematics with close connections to foundations of mathematics, theoretical computer science and philosophical logic. The field includes both the mathematical study of logic and the applications of formal logic to other areas of mathematics...

 derivations which presume axiom
Axiom
In traditional logic, an axiom or postulate is a proposition that is not proven or demonstrated but considered either to be self-evident or to define and delimit the realm of analysis. In other words, an axiom is a logical statement that is assumed to be true...

atic systems, rather than the combination of empirical
Empirical
The word empirical denotes information gained by means of observation or experimentation. Empirical data are data produced by an experiment or observation....

 observation and logical reasoning that has come to be known as scientific method
Scientific method
Scientific method refers to a body of techniques for investigating phenomena, acquiring new knowledge, or correcting and integrating previous knowledge. To be termed scientific, a method of inquiry must be based on gathering empirical and measurable evidence subject to specific principles of...

. In general, mathematics is classified as formal science
Formal science
The formal sciences are the branches of knowledge that are concerned with formal systems, such as logic, mathematics, theoretical computer science, information theory, systems theory, decision theory, statistics, and some aspects of linguistics....

, while natural and social sciences are classified as empirical
Empirical
The word empirical denotes information gained by means of observation or experimentation. Empirical data are data produced by an experiment or observation....

 sciences.

Scientific method



A scientific method
Scientific method
Scientific method refers to a body of techniques for investigating phenomena, acquiring new knowledge, or correcting and integrating previous knowledge. To be termed scientific, a method of inquiry must be based on gathering empirical and measurable evidence subject to specific principles of...

 seeks to explain the events of nature
Nature
Nature, in the broadest sense, is equivalent to the natural world, physical world, or material world. "Nature" refers to the phenomena of the physical world, and also to life in general...

 in a reproducible way. An explanatory thought experiment
Thought experiment
A thought experiment or Gedankenexperiment considers some hypothesis, theory, or principle for the purpose of thinking through its consequences...

 or hypothesis
Hypothesis
A hypothesis is a proposed explanation for a phenomenon. The term derives from the Greek, ὑποτιθέναι – hypotithenai meaning "to put under" or "to suppose". For a hypothesis to be put forward as a scientific hypothesis, the scientific method requires that one can test it...

 is put forward, as explanation, from which stem prediction
Prediction
A prediction or forecast is a statement about the way things will happen in the future, often but not always based on experience or knowledge...

s. The predictions are to be posted before a confirming experiment or observation is sought, as proof that no tampering has occurred. Disproof of a prediction is evidence of progress. This is done partly through observation of natural phenomena, but also through experimentation, that tries to simulate natural events under controlled conditions, as appropriate to the discipline (in the observational sciences, such as astronomy or geology, an predicted observation might take the place of a controlled experiment). Taken in its entirety, a scientific method allows for highly creative problem solving while minimizing any effects of subjective bias on the part of its users (namely the confirmation bias
Confirmation bias
Confirmation bias is a tendency for people to favor information that confirms their preconceptions or hypotheses regardless of whether the information is true.David Perkins, a geneticist, coined the term "myside bias" referring to a preference for "my" side of an issue...

).

In the nineteenth century, the measurement of Earth's gravity was primarily dependent on pendulums for gravimetric surveys. An improved pendulum, designed by Friedrich Bessel
Friedrich Bessel
-References:* John Frederick William Herschel, A brief notice of the life, researches, and discoveries of Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel, London: Barclay, 1847 -External links:...

, was manufactured by Repsold and Sons, Hamburg, Germany. The American C.S. Peirce was tasked with gravimetric research by the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey. Peirce developed a theory of the systematic errors in the mount of the Repsold pendulum. He was asked to present his theory for improving pendulums to a Special Committee of the International Geodetic Association. While underway to a conference of the IGA in Europe, September 1877, Peirce wrote an essay in French on scientific method, "How to Make Our Ideas Clear" and translated "The Fixation of Belief" into French. In these essays, he notes that our beliefs clash with real life, causing what Peirce denotes as the "irritation of doubt", for which he then lists multiple methods of coping, among them, scientific method.

Scientific community




The scientific community consists of the total body of scientists, its relationships and interactions. It is normally divided into "sub-communities" each working on a particular field within science.

Branches and fields



Scientific fields
Branches of science
The branches of science are commonly divided into two major groups: natural sciences, which study natural phenomena , and social sciences, which study human behavior and societies...

 are commonly divided into two major groups: natural science
Natural science
The natural sciences are branches of science that seek to elucidate the rules that govern the natural world by using empirical and scientific methods...

s, which study natural phenomena (including biological life
Biology
Biology is a natural science concerned with the study of life and living organisms, including their structure, function, growth, origin, evolution, distribution, and taxonomy. Biology is a vast subject containing many subdivisions, topics, and disciplines...

), and social sciences, which study human behavior
Human behavior
Human behavior refers to the range of behaviors exhibited by humans and which are influenced by culture, attitudes, emotions, values, ethics, authority, rapport, hypnosis, persuasion, coercion and/or genetics....

 and societies
Society
A society, or a human society, is a group of people related to each other through persistent relations, or a large social grouping sharing the same geographical or virtual territory, subject to the same political authority and dominant cultural expectations...

. These groupings are empirical
Empirical
The word empirical denotes information gained by means of observation or experimentation. Empirical data are data produced by an experiment or observation....

 sciences, which means the knowledge must be based on observable phenomena
Phenomenon
A phenomenon , plural phenomena, is any observable occurrence. Phenomena are often, but not always, understood as 'appearances' or 'experiences'...

 and capable of being tested for its validity by other researchers working under the same conditions. There are also related disciplines that are grouped into interdisciplinary and applied sciences, such as engineering
Engineering
Engineering is the discipline, art, skill and profession of acquiring and applying scientific, mathematical, economic, social, and practical knowledge, in order to design and build structures, machines, devices, systems, materials and processes that safely realize improvements to the lives of...

 and medicine
Medicine
Medicine is the science and art of healing. It encompasses a variety of health care practices evolved to maintain and restore health by the prevention and treatment of illness....

. Within these categories are specialized scientific fields that can include parts of other scientific disciplines but often possess their own terminology and expertise.

Mathematics
Mathematics
Mathematics is the study of quantity, space, structure, and change. Mathematicians seek out patterns and formulate new conjectures. Mathematicians resolve the truth or falsity of conjectures by mathematical proofs, which are arguments sufficient to convince other mathematicians of their validity...

, which is classified as a formal science
Formal science
The formal sciences are the branches of knowledge that are concerned with formal systems, such as logic, mathematics, theoretical computer science, information theory, systems theory, decision theory, statistics, and some aspects of linguistics....

, has both similarities and differences with the empirical sciences (the natural and social sciences). It is similar to empirical sciences in that it involves an objective, careful and systematic study of an area of knowledge; it is different because of its method of verifying its knowledge, using a priori rather than empirical methods. The formal sciences, which also include statistics
Statistics
Statistics is the study of the collection, organization, analysis, and interpretation of data. It deals with all aspects of this, including the planning of data collection in terms of the design of surveys and experiments....

 and logic
Logic
In philosophy, Logic is the formal systematic study of the principles of valid inference and correct reasoning. Logic is used in most intellectual activities, but is studied primarily in the disciplines of philosophy, mathematics, semantics, and computer science...

, are vital to the empirical sciences. Major advances in formal science have often led to major advances in the empirical sciences. The formal sciences are essential in the formation of hypotheses
Hypothesis
A hypothesis is a proposed explanation for a phenomenon. The term derives from the Greek, ὑποτιθέναι – hypotithenai meaning "to put under" or "to suppose". For a hypothesis to be put forward as a scientific hypothesis, the scientific method requires that one can test it...

, theories
Theory
The English word theory was derived from a technical term in Ancient Greek philosophy. The word theoria, , meant "a looking at, viewing, beholding", and referring to contemplation or speculation, as opposed to action...

, and laws
Physical law
A physical law or scientific law is "a theoretical principle deduced from particular facts, applicable to a defined group or class of phenomena, and expressible by the statement that a particular phenomenon always occurs if certain conditions be present." Physical laws are typically conclusions...

, both in discovering and describing how things work (natural sciences) and how people think and act (social sciences).

The word field has a technical meaning in physics
Physics
Physics is a natural science that involves the study of matter and its motion through spacetime, along with related concepts such as energy and force. More broadly, it is the general analysis of nature, conducted in order to understand how the universe behaves.Physics is one of the oldest academic...

, as occupying space (see Field (physics)
Field (physics)
In physics, a field is a physical quantity associated with each point of spacetime. A field can be classified as a scalar field, a vector field, a spinor field, or a tensor field according to whether the value of the field at each point is a scalar, a vector, a spinor or, more generally, a tensor,...

, which uses the word spacetime, rather than space); that is the reason that a branch of science is taken as the meaning of field. Science divides into categories of specialized expertise, each typically embodying their own terminology
Terminology
Terminology is the study of terms and their use. Terms are words and compound words that in specific contexts are given specific meanings, meanings that may deviate from the meaning the same words have in other contexts and in everyday language. The discipline Terminology studies among other...

 and nomenclature
Nomenclature
Nomenclature is a term that applies to either a list of names or terms, or to the system of principles, procedures and terms related to naming - which is the assigning of a word or phrase to a particular object or property...

. Each field will commonly be represented by one or more scientific journal
Scientific journal
In academic publishing, a scientific journal is a periodical publication intended to further the progress of science, usually by reporting new research. There are thousands of scientific journals in publication, and many more have been published at various points in the past...

s, where peer reviewed research will be published.

Institutions



Learned societies
Learned society
A learned society is an organization that exists to promote an academic discipline/profession, as well a group of disciplines. Membership may be open to all, may require possession of some qualification, or may be an honor conferred by election, as is the case with the oldest learned societies,...

 for the communication and promotion of scientific thought and experimentation have existed since the Renaissance
Renaissance
The Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned roughly the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. The term is also used more loosely to refer to the historical era, but since the changes of the Renaissance were not...

 period. The oldest surviving institution is the Italian which was established in 1603. The respective National Academies of Science
Academy of Sciences
An Academy of Sciences is a national academy or another learned society dedicated to sciences.In non-English speaking countries, the range of academic fields of the members of a national Academy of Science often includes fields which would not normally be classed as "science" in English...

 are distinguished institutions that exist in a number of countries, beginning with the British Royal Society
Royal Society
The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge, known simply as the Royal Society, is a learned society for science, and is possibly the oldest such society in existence. Founded in November 1660, it was granted a Royal Charter by King Charles II as the "Royal Society of London"...

 in 1660 and the French in 1666.

International scientific organizations, such as the International Council for Science
International Council for Science
The International Council for Science , formerly the International Council of Scientific Unions, was founded in 1931 as an international non-governmental organization devoted to international co-operation in the advancement of science...

, have since been formed to promote cooperation between the scientific communities of different nations. More recently, influential government agencies have been created to support scientific research, including the National Science Foundation
National Science Foundation
The National Science Foundation is a United States government agency that supports fundamental research and education in all the non-medical fields of science and engineering. Its medical counterpart is the National Institutes of Health...

 in the U.S.
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...



Other prominent organizations include the National Scientific and Technical Research Council in Argentina, the academies of science
Academy of Sciences
An Academy of Sciences is a national academy or another learned society dedicated to sciences.In non-English speaking countries, the range of academic fields of the members of a national Academy of Science often includes fields which would not normally be classed as "science" in English...

 of many nations, CSIRO in Australia, in France, Max Planck Society
Max Planck Society
The Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science is a formally independent non-governmental and non-profit association of German research institutes publicly funded by the federal and the 16 state governments of Germany....

 and in Germany, and in Spain, CSIC
CSIC
The Spanish National Research Council is the largest public institution dedicated to research in Spain and the third largest in Europe...

.

Literature


An enormous range of scientific literature
Scientific literature
Scientific literature comprises scientific publications that report original empirical and theoretical work in the natural and social sciences, and within a scientific field is often abbreviated as the literature. Academic publishing is the process of placing the results of one's research into the...

 is published. Scientific journal
Scientific journal
In academic publishing, a scientific journal is a periodical publication intended to further the progress of science, usually by reporting new research. There are thousands of scientific journals in publication, and many more have been published at various points in the past...

s communicate and document the results of research carried out in universities and various other research institutions, serving as an archival record of science. The first scientific journals, Journal des Sçavans
Journal des sçavans
The Journal des sçavans , founded by Denis de Sallo, was the earliest academic journal published in Europe, that from the beginning also carried a proportion of material that would not now be considered scientific, such as obituaries of famous men, church history, and legal reports...

followed by the Philosophical Transactions
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society
The Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society is a scientific journal published by the Royal Society of London. It was established in 1665, making it the first journal in the world exclusively devoted to science, and it has remained in continuous publication ever since, making it the world's...

, began publication in 1665. Since that time the total number of active periodicals has steadily increased. As of 1981, one estimate for the number of scientific and technical journals in publication was 11,500. The United States National Library of Medicine
United States National Library of Medicine
The United States National Library of Medicine , operated by the United States federal government, is the world's largest medical library. Located in Bethesda, Maryland, the NLM is a division of the National Institutes of Health...

 currently indexes 5,516 journals that contain articles on topics related to the life sciences. Although the journals are in 39 languages, 91 percent of the indexed articles are published in English.

Most scientific journals cover a single scientific field and publish the research within that field; the research is normally expressed in the form of a scientific paper. Science has become so pervasive in modern societies that it is generally considered necessary to communicate the achievements, news, and ambitions of scientists to a wider populace.

Science magazine
Science Magazine
Science Magazine was a half-hour television show produced by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation from 1975 to 1979.The show was hosted by geneticist David Suzuki, who previously hosted the daytime youth programme Suzuki On Science...

s such as New Scientist, Science & Vie
Science & Vie
Science & Vie is a monthly science magazine issued in France since 1913 when its name was La Science et la Vie. In 1982, a spinoff computer magazine, Science & Vie Micro was launched. Another spinoff for teenagers, Science & Vie Junior was started in 1986...

 and Scientific American
Scientific American
Scientific American is a popular science magazine. It is notable for its long history of presenting science monthly to an educated but not necessarily scientific public, through its careful attention to the clarity of its text as well as the quality of its specially commissioned color graphics...

 cater to the needs of a much wider readership and provide a non-technical summary of popular areas of research, including notable discoveries and advances in certain fields of research. Science book
Science book
A science book is a work of nonfiction, usually written by a scientist, researcher, or professor like Stephen Hawking , or sometimes by a non-scientist such as Bill Bryson...

s engage the interest of many more people. Tangentially, the science fiction
Science fiction
Science fiction is a genre of fiction dealing with imaginary but more or less plausible content such as future settings, futuristic science and technology, space travel, aliens, and paranormal abilities...

 genre, primarily fantastic in nature, engages the public imagination and transmits the ideas, if not the methods, of science.

Recent efforts to intensify or develop links between science and non-scientific disciplines such as Literature
Literature
Literature is the art of written works, and is not bound to published sources...

 or, more specifically, Poetry
Poetry
Poetry is a form of literary art in which language is used for its aesthetic and evocative qualities in addition to, or in lieu of, its apparent meaning...

, include the Creative Writing Science resource developed through the Royal Literary Fund
Royal Literary Fund
The Royal Literary Fund is a benevolent fund set up to help published British writers in financial difficulties. It was founded by Reverend David Williams in 1790 and has received bequests and donations, including royal patronage, ever since...

.

Women in science


Science is, in general, a male-dominated field. Evidence suggests that this is due to stereotypes (e.g. science as "manly") as well as self-fulfilling prophecies. Experiments have shown that parents challenge and explain more to boys than girls, asking them to reflect more deeply and logically. Physicist Evelyn Fox Keller
Evelyn Fox Keller
Evelyn Fox Keller is an American physicist, author and feminist. She is currently a Professor of History and Philosophy of Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Keller has also taught at the State University of New York at Purchase, New York University and in the department of...

 argues that science may suffer for its manly stereotypes when ego and competitiveness obstruct progress, since these tendencies prevent collaboration and sharing of information.

Science policy


Science policy is an area of public policy
Public policy
Public policy as government action is generally the principled guide to action taken by the administrative or executive branches of the state with regard to a class of issues in a manner consistent with law and institutional customs. In general, the foundation is the pertinent national and...

 concerned with the policies that affect the conduct of the science and research enterprise, including research funding
Research funding
Research funding is a term generally covering any funding for scientific research, in the areas of both "hard" science and technology and social science. The term often connotes funding obtained through a competitive process, in which potential research projects are evaluated and only the most...

, often in pursuance of other national policy goals such as technological innovation to promote commercial product development, weapons development, health care and environmental monitoring. Science policy also refers to the act of applying scientific knowledge and consensus to the development of public policies. Science policy thus deals with the entire domain of issues that involve the natural sciences. Is accordance with public policy
Public policy
Public policy as government action is generally the principled guide to action taken by the administrative or executive branches of the state with regard to a class of issues in a manner consistent with law and institutional customs. In general, the foundation is the pertinent national and...

 being concerned about the well-being of its citizens, science policy's goal is to consider how science and technology can best serve the public.

State
State (polity)
A state is an organized political community, living under a government. States may be sovereign and may enjoy a monopoly on the legal initiation of force and are not dependent on, or subject to any other power or state. Many states are federated states which participate in a federal union...

 policy
Policy
A policy is typically described as a principle or rule to guide decisions and achieve rational outcome. The term is not normally used to denote what is actually done, this is normally referred to as either procedure or protocol...

 has influenced the funding of public works
Public works
Public works are a broad category of projects, financed and constructed by the government, for recreational, employment, and health and safety uses in the greater community...

 and science for thousands of years, dating at least from the time of the Mohists, who inspired the study of logic during the period of the Hundred Schools of Thought
Hundred Schools of Thought
The Hundred Schools of Thought were philosophers and schools that flourished from 770 to 221 BC during the Spring and Autumn period and the Warring States period , an era of great cultural and intellectual expansion in China...

, and the study of defensive fortifications during the Warring States Period
Warring States Period
The Warring States Period , also known as the Era of Warring States, or the Warring Kingdoms period, covers the Iron Age period from about 475 BC to the reunification of China under the Qin Dynasty in 221 BC...

 in China. In Great Britain
Great Britain
Great Britain or Britain is an island situated to the northwest of Continental Europe. It is the ninth largest island in the world, and the largest European island, as well as the largest of the British Isles...

, governmental approval of the Royal Society in the seventeenth century recognized a scientific community
Scientific community
The scientific community consists of the total body of scientists, its relationships and interactions. It is normally divided into "sub-communities" each working on a particular field within science. Objectivity is expected to be achieved by the scientific method...

 which exists to this day. The professionalization of science, begun in the nineteenth century, was partly enabled by the creation of scientific organizations such as the National Academy of Sciences
United States National Academy of Sciences
The National Academy of Sciences is a corporation in the United States whose members serve pro bono as "advisers to the nation on science, engineering, and medicine." As a national academy, new members of the organization are elected annually by current members, based on their distinguished and...

, the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute
Kaiser Wilhelm Institute
The Kaiser Wilhelm Society for the Advancement of Science was a German scientific institution established in 1911. It was implicated in Nazi science, and after the Second World War was wound up and its functions replaced by the Max Planck Society...

, and State funding of universities of their respective nations. Public policy can directly affect the funding of capital equipment, intellectual infrastructure for industrial research, by providing tax incentives to those organizations that fund research. Vannevar Bush
Vannevar Bush
Vannevar Bush was an American engineer and science administrator known for his work on analog computing, his political role in the development of the atomic bomb as a primary organizer of the Manhattan Project, the founding of Raytheon, and the idea of the memex, an adjustable microfilm viewer...

, director of the office of scientific research and development for the United States government, the forerunner of the National Science Foundation
National Science Foundation
The National Science Foundation is a United States government agency that supports fundamental research and education in all the non-medical fields of science and engineering. Its medical counterpart is the National Institutes of Health...

, wrote in July 1945 that "Science is a proper concern of government"

Science and technology research is often funded through a competitive process, in which potential research projects are evaluated and only the most promising receive funding. Such processes, which are run by government, corporations or foundations, allocate scarce funds. Total research funding in most developed countries
Developed country
A developed country is a country that has a high level of development according to some criteria. Which criteria, and which countries are classified as being developed, is a contentious issue...

 is between 1.5% and 3% of GDP
Gross domestic product
Gross domestic product refers to the market value of all final goods and services produced within a country in a given period. GDP per capita is often considered an indicator of a country's standard of living....

. In the OECD, around two-thirds of research and development
Research and development
The phrase research and development , according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, refers to "creative work undertaken on a systematic basis in order to increase the stock of knowledge, including knowledge of man, culture and society, and the use of this stock of...

 in scientific and technical fields is carried out by industry, and 20% and 10% respectively by universities and government. The government funding proportion in certain industries is higher, and it dominates research in social science and humanities
Humanities
The humanities are academic disciplines that study the human condition, using methods that are primarily analytical, critical, or speculative, as distinguished from the mainly empirical approaches of the natural sciences....

. Similarly, with some exceptions (e.g. biotechnology
Biotechnology
Biotechnology is a field of applied biology that involves the use of living organisms and bioprocesses in engineering, technology, medicine and other fields requiring bioproducts. Biotechnology also utilizes these products for manufacturing purpose...

) government provides the bulk of the funds for basic scientific research. In commercial research and development, all but the most research-oriented corporations focus more heavily on near-term commercialisation possibilities rather than "blue-sky
Blue skies research
Blue skies research is scientific research in domains where "real-world" applications are not immediately apparent...

" ideas or technologies (such as nuclear fusion
Nuclear fusion
Nuclear fusion is the process by which two or more atomic nuclei join together, or "fuse", to form a single heavier nucleus. This is usually accompanied by the release or absorption of large quantities of energy...

).

Pseudoscience, fringe science, and junk science


An area of study or speculation that masquerades as science in an attempt to claim a legitimacy that it would not otherwise be able to achieve is sometimes referred to as pseudoscience
Pseudoscience
Pseudoscience is a claim, belief, or practice which is presented as scientific, but which does not adhere to a valid scientific method, lacks supporting evidence or plausibility, cannot be reliably tested, or otherwise lacks scientific status...

, fringe science
Fringe science
Fringe science is scientific inquiry in an established field of study that departs significantly from mainstream or orthodox theories, and is classified in the "fringes" of a credible mainstream academic discipline....

, or "alternative science". Another term, junk science
Junk science
Junk science is a term used in U.S. political and legal disputes that brands an advocate's claims about scientific data, research, or analyses as spurious. The term may convey a pejorative connotation that the advocate is driven by political, ideological, financial, or other unscientific...

, is often used to describe scientific hypotheses or conclusions which, while perhaps legitimate in themselves, are believed to be used to support a position that is seen as not legitimately justified by the totality of evidence. Physicist Richard Feynman
Richard Feynman
Richard Phillips Feynman was an American physicist known for his work in the path integral formulation of quantum mechanics, the theory of quantum electrodynamics and the physics of the superfluidity of supercooled liquid helium, as well as in particle physics...

 coined the term "cargo cult science
Cargo cult science
Cargo cult science refers to practices that have the semblance of being scientific, but are missing "a kind of scientific integrity, a principle of scientific thought that corresponds to a kind of utter honesty". The term was first used by the physicist Richard Feynman during his commencement...

" in reference to pursuits that have the formal trappings of science but lack "a principle of scientific thought that corresponds to a kind of utter honesty" that allows their results to be rigorously evaluated. Various types of commercial advertising, ranging from hype to fraud, may fall into these categories.

There also can be an element of political or ideological bias on all sides of such debates. Sometimes, research may be characterized as "bad science", research that is well-intentioned but is seen as incorrect, obsolete, incomplete, or over-simplified expositions of scientific ideas. The term "scientific misconduct
Scientific misconduct
Scientific misconduct is the violation of the standard codes of scholarly conduct and ethical behavior in professional scientific research. A Lancet review on Handling of Scientific Misconduct in Scandinavian countries provides the following sample definitions: *Danish definition: "Intention or...

" refers to situations such as where researchers have intentionally misrepresented their published data or have purposely given credit for a discovery to the wrong person.

Philosophical critiques


Historian Jacques Barzun
Jacques Barzun
Jacques Martin Barzun is a French-born American historian of ideas and culture. He has written on a wide range of topics, but is perhaps best known as a philosopher of education, his Teacher in America being a strong influence on post-WWII training of schoolteachers in the United...

 termed science "a faith as fanatical as any in history" and warned against the use of scientific thought to suppress considerations of meaning as integral to human existence. Many recent thinkers, such as Carolyn Merchant
Carolyn Merchant
Carolyn Merchant is an American ecofeminist philosopher and historian of science most famous for her theory on 'The Death of Nature', whereby she identifies the Enlightenment as the period when science began to atomize, objectify and dissect nature, foretelling its eventual conception as inert...

, Theodor Adorno and E. F. Schumacher
E. F. Schumacher
Ernst Friedrich "Fritz" Schumacher was an internationally influential economic thinker, statistician and economist in Britain, serving as Chief Economic Advisor to the UK National Coal Board for two decades. His ideas became popularized in much of the English-speaking world during the 1970s...

 considered that the 17th century scientific revolution
Scientific revolution
The Scientific Revolution is an era associated primarily with the 16th and 17th centuries during which new ideas and knowledge in physics, astronomy, biology, medicine and chemistry transformed medieval and ancient views of nature and laid the foundations for modern science...

 shifted science from a focus on understanding nature
Nature
Nature, in the broadest sense, is equivalent to the natural world, physical world, or material world. "Nature" refers to the phenomena of the physical world, and also to life in general...

, or wisdom, to a focus on manipulating nature, i.e. power
Power (sociology)
Power is a measurement of an entity's ability to control its environment, including the behavior of other entities. The term authority is often used for power perceived as legitimate by the social structure. Power can be seen as evil or unjust, but the exercise of power is accepted as endemic to...

, and that science's emphasis on manipulating nature leads it inevitably to manipulate people, as well. Science's focus on quantitative measures has led to critiques that it is unable to recognize important qualitative aspects of the world.

Philosopher of science Paul K Feyerabend advanced the idea of epistemological anarchism
Epistemological anarchism
Epistemological anarchism is an epistemological theory advanced by Austrian philosopher of science Paul Feyerabend which holds that there are no useful and exception-free methodological rules governing the progress of science or the growth of knowledge...

, which holds that there are no useful and exception-free methodological rules
Methodology
Methodology is generally a guideline for solving a problem, with specificcomponents such as phases, tasks, methods, techniques and tools . It can be defined also as follows:...

 governing the progress of science
Scientific progress
Scientific progress is the idea that science increases its problem solving ability through the application of some scientific method.-Discontinuous Model of Scientific Progress:...

 or the growth of knowledge
Knowledge
Knowledge is a familiarity with someone or something unknown, which can include information, facts, descriptions, or skills acquired through experience or education. It can refer to the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject...

, and that the idea that science can or should operate according to universal and fixed rules is unrealistic, pernicious and detrimental to science itself. Feyerabend advocates treating science as an ideology
Ideology
An ideology is a set of ideas that constitutes one's goals, expectations, and actions. An ideology can be thought of as a comprehensive vision, as a way of looking at things , as in common sense and several philosophical tendencies , or a set of ideas proposed by the dominant class of a society to...

 alongside others such as religion
Religion
Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to...

, magic
Magic (paranormal)
Magic is the claimed art of manipulating aspects of reality either by supernatural means or through knowledge of occult laws unknown to science. It is in contrast to science, in that science does not accept anything not subject to either direct or indirect observation, and subject to logical...

 and mythology
Mythology
The term mythology can refer either to the study of myths, or to a body or collection of myths. As examples, comparative mythology is the study of connections between myths from different cultures, whereas Greek mythology is the body of myths from ancient Greece...

, and considers the dominance of science in society authoritarian and unjustified. He also contended (along with Imre Lakatos
Imre Lakatos
Imre Lakatos was a Hungarian philosopher of mathematics and science, known for his thesis of the fallibility of mathematics and its 'methodology of proofs and refutations' in its pre-axiomatic stages of development, and also for introducing the concept of the 'research programme' in his...

) that the demarcation problem
Demarcation problem
The demarcation problem in the philosophy of science is about how and where to draw the lines around science. The boundaries are commonly drawn between science and non-science, between science and pseudoscience, between science and philosophy and between science and religion...

 of distinguishing science from pseudoscience
Pseudoscience
Pseudoscience is a claim, belief, or practice which is presented as scientific, but which does not adhere to a valid scientific method, lacks supporting evidence or plausibility, cannot be reliably tested, or otherwise lacks scientific status...

 on objective grounds is not possible and thus fatal to the notion of science running according to fixed, universal rules.

Feyerabend also criticized science for not having evidence for its own philosophical precepts. Particularly the notion of Uniformity of Law and the Uniformity of Process across time and space. "We have to realize that a unified theory of the physical world simply does not exist" says Feyerabend, "We have theories that work in restricted regions, we have purely formal attempts to condense them into a single formula, we have lots of unfounded claims (such as the claim that all of chemistry can be reduced to physics), phenomena that do not fit into the accepted framework are suppressed; in physics, which many scientists regard as the one really basic science, we have now at least three different points of view...without a promise of conceptual (and not only formal) unification".

Sociologist Stanley Aronowitz
Stanley Aronowitz
Stanley Aronowitz is professor of sociology, cultural studies, and urban education at the CUNY Graduate Center. He is also a veteran political activist and cultural critic and an advocate for organized labor.-Social Text:...

 scrutinizes science for operating with the presumption that the only acceptable criticisms of science are those conducted within the methodological framework that science has set up for itself. That science insists that only those who have been inducted into its community, through means of training and credentials, are qualified to make these criticisms. Aronowitz also alleges that while scientists consider it absurd that Fundamentalist Christianity
Fundamentalist Christianity
Christian fundamentalism, also known as Fundamentalist Christianity, or Fundamentalism, arose out of British and American Protestantism in the late 19th century and early 20th century among evangelical Christians...

 uses biblical references to bolster their claim that the Bible
Bible
The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...

 is true, scientists pull the same tactic by using the tools of science to settle disputes concerning its own validity.

Psychologist Carl Jung
Carl Jung
Carl Gustav Jung was a Swiss psychiatrist and the founder of Analytical Psychology. Jung is considered the first modern psychiatrist to view the human psyche as "by nature religious" and make it the focus of exploration. Jung is one of the best known researchers in the field of dream analysis and...

 believed that though science attempted to understand all of nature, the experimental method imposed artificial and conditional questions that evoke equally artificial answers. Jung encouraged, instead of these 'artificial' methods, empirically testing the world in a holistic
Holism
Holism is the idea that all the properties of a given system cannot be determined or explained by its component parts alone...

 manner. David Parkin compared the epistemological stance of science to that of divination
Divination
Divination is the attempt to gain insight into a question or situation by way of an occultic standardized process or ritual...

. He suggested that, to the degree that divination is an epistemologically specific means of gaining insight into a given question, science itself can be considered a form of divination that is framed from a Western view of the nature (and thus possible applications) of knowledge.

Several academics have offered critiques concerning ethics
Ethics
Ethics, also known as moral philosophy, is a branch of philosophy that addresses questions about morality—that is, concepts such as good and evil, right and wrong, virtue and vice, justice and crime, etc.Major branches of ethics include:...

 in science. In Science and Ethics, for example, the philosopher Bernard Rollin
Bernard Rollin
Bernard E. Rollin is an American philosopher who specializes in animal rights and animal consciousness. He is a professor of philosophy, animal sciences, and biomedical sciences at Colorado State University....

 examines the relevance of ethics to science, and argues in favor of making education in ethics part and parcel of scientific training.

Media perspectives


The mass media
Mass media
Mass media refers collectively to all media technologies which are intended to reach a large audience via mass communication. Broadcast media transmit their information electronically and comprise of television, film and radio, movies, CDs, DVDs and some other gadgets like cameras or video consoles...

 face a number of pressures that can prevent them from accurately depicting competing scientific claims in terms of their credibility within the scientific community as a whole. Determining how much weight to give different sides in a scientific debate may require considerable expertise regarding the matter. Few journalists have real scientific knowledge, and even beat reporters who know a great deal about certain scientific issues may be ignorant about other scientific issues that they are suddenly asked to cover.

Politics and public perception of science


Many issues damage the relationship of science to the media and the use of science and scientific arguments by politician
Politician
A politician, political leader, or political figure is an individual who is involved in influencing public policy and decision making...

s. As a very broad generalisation, many politicians seek certainties and facts whilst scientists typically offer probabilities and caveats. However, politicians' ability to be heard in the mass media
Mass media
Mass media refers collectively to all media technologies which are intended to reach a large audience via mass communication. Broadcast media transmit their information electronically and comprise of television, film and radio, movies, CDs, DVDs and some other gadgets like cameras or video consoles...

 frequently distorts the scientific understanding by the public. Examples in Britain
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 include the controversy over the MMR
MMR vaccine
The MMR vaccine is an immunization shot against measles, mumps, and rubella . It was first developed by Maurice Hilleman while at Merck in the late 1960s....

 inoculation
Inoculation
Inoculation is the placement of something that will grow or reproduce, and is most commonly used in respect of the introduction of a serum, vaccine, or antigenic substance into the body of a human or animal, especially to produce or boost immunity to a specific disease...

, and the 1988 forced resignation of a Government Minister, Edwina Currie
Edwina Currie
Edwina Jonesnée Cohen is a former British Member of Parliament. First elected as a Conservative Party MP in 1983, she was a Junior Health Minister for two years, before resigning in 1988 over the controversy over salmonella in eggs...

 for revealing the high probability that battery
Battery cage
In poultry farming, battery cages are an industrial agricultural confinement system used primarily for egg-laying hens...

 farmed eggs were contaminated with Salmonella
Salmonella
Salmonella is a genus of rod-shaped, Gram-negative, non-spore-forming, predominantly motile enterobacteria with diameters around 0.7 to 1.5 µm, lengths from 2 to 5 µm, and flagella which grade in all directions . They are chemoorganotrophs, obtaining their energy from oxidation and reduction...

.

See also


  • Protoscience
    Protoscience
    In the philosophy of science, a protoscience is an area of scientific endeavor that is in the process of becoming established. Protoscience is distinguished from pseudoscience by its standard practices of good science, such as a willingness to be disproven by new evidence, or to be replaced by a...

  • Outline of science
    Outline of science
    The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to science:Science – in the broadest sense refers to any system of objective knowledge...

  • Science wars
    Science wars
    The science wars were a series of intellectual exchanges, between scientific realists and postmodernist critics, about the nature of scientific theory which took place principally in the US in the 1990s...

  • Antiquarian science books

Further reading

  • Augros, Robert M., Stanciu, George N., "The New Story of Science: mind and the universe", Lake Bluff, Ill.: Regnery Gateway, c1984. ISBN 0-89526-833-7
  • Baxter, Charles
  • Cole, K. C., Things your teacher never told you about science: Nine shocking revelations Newsday
    Newsday
    Newsday is a daily American newspaper that primarily serves Nassau and Suffolk counties and the New York City borough of Queens on Long Island, although it is sold throughout the New York metropolitan area...

    , Long Island, New York, March 23, 1986, pg 21+
  • Feynman, Richard "Cargo Cult Science"
  • Gopnik, Alison, "Finding Our Inner Scientist", Daedalus
    Daedalus (journal)
    Dædalus is a peer-reviewed academic journal founded in 1955 as the Journal of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. It is published by MIT Press on behalf of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Each issue addresses a theme with essays on the arts, sciences, and humanities. Special...

    , Winter 2004.
  • Krige, John, and Dominique Pestre, eds., Science in the Twentieth Century, Routledge 2003, ISBN 0-415-28606-9
  • Levin, Yuval
    Yuval Levin
    Yuval Levin is an American political analyst, academic and journalist who is the founding Editor of National Affairs. Levin is also a fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, a conservative think tank in Washington, D.C. In 2005 and 2006, he was a member of the White House domestic policy...

     (2008). Imagining the Future: Science and American Democracy. New York, Encounter Books. ISBN 1-59403-209-2
  • Kuhn, Thomas, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions
    The Structure of Scientific Revolutions
    The Structure of Scientific Revolutions , by Thomas Kuhn, is an analysis of the history of science. Its publication was a landmark event in the history, philosophy, and sociology of scientific knowledge and it triggered an ongoing worldwide assessment and reaction in — and beyond — those scholarly...

    , 1962.
  • McComas, William F. Rossier School of Education, University of Southern California
    University of Southern California
    The University of Southern California is a private, not-for-profit, nonsectarian, research university located in Los Angeles, California, United States. USC was founded in 1880, making it California's oldest private research university...

    . Direct Instruction News. Spring 2002 24–30.

External links


Publications
  • "GCSE Science textbook". Wikibooks
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