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What is Science: Profile of Science, the Scientific Method, How Science Works

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What is Science?:


Distinguishing modern science from other endeavors requires focusing in particular on its methodology — the means by which it achieves results. Fundamentally, then, science can be characterized as a method of obtaining reliable - thought not infallible — knowledge about the universe around us. This knowledge includes both descriptions of what happens and explanations of why it happens. Read More...

What is the Scientific Method?:


The scientific method involves a combination of induction and deduction, each feeding back upon the other. The first part, known as the Method of Induction, is the process by which we take information from our senses and attempt to produce general statements about our world. The deductive aspect of the scientific method moves in just the opposite direction: it involves taking a general principle about the world and deducing what will or should happen in some particular instance. Read More...

Scientific Laws:


The concept "law of science" is an inheritance from the earliest days of science when it was believed that the universe operated in the way it did because God established natural laws which dictated how things should act. Of course, everything but humans followed these laws, and so the movement of objects could be accurately predicted simply by coming to better understand the laws created by God. In this way, science in its infancy was very close to theology. Read More...

Scientific Theories:


Informally, we can say that the criteria of scientific theories can be grouped into a few basic principles: scientific theories should be consistent, parsimonious, correctable, empirically testable/verifiable, useful, and progressive. In most contexts, a theory is a vague and fuzzy idea about how things work - in fact, one with a low probability of being true. For scientists, however, a theory is a conceptual structure which is used to explain existing facts and predict new ones. Read More...

Hypothesis, Theories, and Facts:


The only consistent differentiation between hypothesis and theory that scientists use is that an idea is a hypothesis being actively tested and investigated, but a theory in other contexts. As far as "facts" are concerned, scientists caution that even though they appear to be using the term in the same way as everyone else, they aren't. For scientists, a fact is assumed to be true, at least for the purposes of whatever they are doing at the moment, but which might be refuted later. Read More...

What is the Philosophy of Science?:


The Philosophy of Science is concerned with how science operates, what the goals of science should be, what relationship science should have with the rest of society, the differences between science and other activities, etc. Everything that happens in science has some relationship with the Philosophy of Science and is predicated upon some philosophical position, even though that may be rarely evident. Read More...

What is Metaphysical Naturalism?:


Metaphysical naturalism is the view that nature is reality and that there is no reality beyond the physical, natural world — no supernatural beings, no supernatural powers and no supernatural events. Metaphysical naturalism is a position typically adopted by atheists and, as such, is often a label used in a pejorative manner by people who want to accuse others of atheism. Science does not require metaphysical naturalism, but many religious people assume it does.

What is Methodological Naturalism?:


Methodological naturalism is the basis of scientific work and is the process of assuming that natural explanations can be found for natural events. When operating under methodological naturalism, we act as if metaphysical naturalism is true without also asserting that it definitely is. Science relies on methodological naturalism in the same way that plumbers or electricians do. Tried and true methods are used to find natural causes for events or problems — not supernatural or paranormal causes.

Is Science Anti-Religion?:


There is a long-standing debate over whether science and religion are necessarily in conflict or if they can be compatible. Science is often a threat to religious beliefs simply because reality can be a threat to religious beliefs. Not all religious beliefs a contrary to reality, but any review of history will demonstrate that a great many have and that these beliefs have had to be shed in order to make way for the facts discovered by science.

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