Difference between revisions of "Science"

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'''Science''' is "the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behaviour of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment."<ref>Soanes,C. and Stevenson, A. (eds.) (2005) 'The Oxford Dictionary of English (revised edition)' Oxford University Press, Oxford, U.K.</ref> Science can be divided into two areas: [[natural science]], dealing with the [[physical]], [[natural]] world, and [[social science]], dealing with society and human nature.
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{{Science}}
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'''Science''' (from the [[Latin]] ''scientia'', meaning "knowledge") is in its broadest sense to any [[system]]atic knowledge-base or prescriptive practice that is capable of resulting in a prediction or predictable type of outcome. In this sense, ''science'' may refer to a highly skilled technique or [[praxis (process)|practice]].<ref>{{cite web |url=http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/science |quote= a department of systematized knowledge as an object of study<the science of theology> '''. . .''' something (as a sport or technique) that may be studied or learned like systematized knowledge <have it down to a science> '''. . .''' a system or method reconciling practical ends with scientific laws <cooking is both a science and an art> |publisher=Merriam-Webster |title=Online dictionary |accessdate=2000-05-22}}</ref>
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In its more restricted contemporary sense, science is a system of acquiring knowledge based on [[scientific method]], and to the organized body of knowledge gained through such [[research]].<ref>{{cite web |url=http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/science |quote= knowledge or a system of knowledge covering general truths or the operation of general laws especially as obtained and tested through scientific method '''. . .''' such knowledge or such a system of knowledge concerned with the physical world and its phenomena |publisher=Merriam-Webster |title=Online dictionary |accessdate=2009-05-22}}</ref><ref name="Popper">{{cite book |last=Popper |first=Karl |authorlink=Karl Popper |title=The Logic of Scientific Discovery |origyear=1959 |edition=2nd English |year=2002 |publisher=Routledge Classics |location=New York, NY |isbn=0-415-27844-9 |oclc=59377149 |page=3}}</ref> This article focuses on the more restricted use of the word. Science as discussed in this article is sometimes called [[experimental science]] to differentiate it from [[applied science]], which is the application of scientific research to specific human needs&mdash;although the two are commonly interconnected.
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Science differs from other methodologies of classifying knowledge in that a scientific theory is a description of the world which in principle is cabable of being disproved; this is known as [[falsifiability]].  It is this property which distinguishes science from other possible methods of discovering knowledge.
  
Science is a continuing effort to discover and increase human [[knowledge]] and understanding through disciplined research. Using controlled methods, scientists collect [[empirical|observable]] evidence of natural or social [[phenomena]], record measurable [[data]] relating to the [[observations]], and analyze this information to construct [[theory|theoretical]] explanations of how things work. The methods of scientific research include the generation of [[hypotheses]] about how phenomena work, and [[experimentation]] that tests these hypotheses under controlled conditions. Scientists are also expected to publish their information so other scientists can do similar experiments to double-check their conclusions. The results of this process enable better understanding of past events, and better ability to predict future events of the same kind as those that have been tested.
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[[Epicurus]] is an important figure in the development of the [[scientific method]]. He insisted that nothing should be accepted except that which has been sufficiently tested through direct observation and logical deduction. [[Roger Bacon]] is hailed by many as the father of modern science. His focus on empirical approaches to science was influential. He wrote an encyclopedia, his ''Opus Majus''.
  
==Basic classifications==
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People who study science are called [[scientist]]s. Most of the early scientists who started many of the scientific fields, and some of history's greatest thinkers, such as [[Galileo Galilei]] and [[Isaac Newton]], believed in [[God]], or some other higher power, and many were [[creationists]].
[[Fields of science|Scientific fields]] are commonly divided into two major groups: [[natural science]]s, which study natural phenomena (including [[Biology|biological life]]), and [[social sciences]], which study [[human behavior]] and [[Society|societies]]. These groupings are [[empirical]] sciences, which means the knowledge must be based on observable [[phenomena]] and capable of being tested for its validity by other researchers working under the same conditions.<ref name=Popper>{{cite book | last = Popper | first = Karl | authorlink = Karl Popper | title = The Logic of Scientific Discovery | origyear = 1959 | edition = 2nd English | year = 2002 | publisher = Routledge Classics | location = New York, NY | isbn = 0-415-27844-9 | oclc =59377149 }}</ref><!-- p. 20 --> There are also related disciplines that are grouped into interdisciplinary and applied sciences, such as [[engineering]] and [[health science]]. Within these categories are specialized scientific fields that can include elements of other scientific disciplines but often possess their own terminology and body of expertise.<ref>See: {{cite web | author=Editorial Staff | date=March 7, 2008 | url=http://www.seedmagazine.com/news/2007/03/scientific_method_relationship.php | title=Scientific Method: Relationships among Scientific Paradigms | publisher=Seed magazine | accessdate=2007-09-12 }}</ref>
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In addition, [[Christianity]] [[Christianity and Science|played a pivotal role in the development of modern science]]. However, in recent years, American scientists have been much more [[atheism|atheistic]] as a group than the general public. <ref>http://www.atheists.org/flash.line/atheism1.htm</ref>
  
[[Mathematics]], which is classified as a [[formal science]], has both similarities and differences with 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 and a posteriori (philosophy)|''a priori'']] rather than empirical methods.<ref name=Popper/><!-- p. 10-11 --> Formal science, which also includes [[statistics]] and [[logic]], is 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]], [[theories]], and [[physical law|laws]],<ref name=Popper/><!-- p. 79-82 --> both in discovering and describing how things work (natural sciences) and how people think and act (social sciences).
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== Principles of science ==
  
==History and etymology==
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The basis of modern science is observation and hypothesis.  It involves constructing the best theory to explain an occurrence based on the evidence at the time.  
{{main|History of science}}
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While [[empirical]] investigations of the natural world have been described since [[Ancient history|antiquity]] (for example, by [[Aristotle]], [[Theophrastus]] and [[Pliny the Elder]]), and [[scientific method]]s have been employed since the [[Middle Ages]] (for example, by [[Ibn al-Haytham]], [[Abu Rayhan Biruni]] and [[Roger Bacon]]), the dawn of modern science is generally traced back to the [[early modern period]], during what is known as the [[Scientific Revolution]] of the 16th and 17th centuries.<ref>[http://www.wsu.edu/~dee/ENLIGHT/SCIREV.HTM "The Scientific Revolution"]. Washington State University</ref>
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The word "science" comes through the [[Old French]], and is derived in turn from the [[Latin]] {{lang|la|''scientia''}}, "knowledge", the nominal form of the verb {{lang|la|''scire''}}, "to know". The [[Proto-Indo-European root|Proto-Indo-European]] (PIE) root that yields ''scire'' is ''*skei-'', meaning to "cut, separate, or discern".<ref>[http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?search=science&searchmode=none Etymology of "science" at Etymology Online]. See also details of the PIE root at [http://www.bartleby.com/61/roots/IE464.html American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language'', 4th edition, 2000.].</ref> Similarly, the Greek word for science is 'επιστήμη', deriving from the verb 'επίσταμαι', 'to know'. From the [[Middle Ages]] to the [[Age of Enlightenment|Enlightenment]], ''science'' or ''scientia'' meant any systematic recorded knowledge.<ref>{{cite book | first=Neville | last=MacMorris | year=1989 | title=The Natures of Science | pages=31–33 | publisher=Fairleigh Dickinson University Press | location=New York | isbn=0838633218 }}</ref> ''Science'' therefore had the same sort of very broad meaning that ''[[philosophy]]'' had at that time. In other languages, including French, Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian, the word corresponding to ''science'' also carries this meaning.
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Economist [[Milton Friedman]] said, "In all of science, progress comes through people proposing hypotheses which are subject to test and rejected and replaced by better hypotheses." [http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/commandingheights/shared/minitext/int_miltonfriedman.html#10]
  
Prior to the 1700s, the preferred term for the study of nature was [[natural philosophy]], while English speakers most typically referred to other philosophical disciplines (such as [[logic]], [[metaphysics]], [[epistemology]], [[ethics]] and [[aesthetics]]) as [[moral philosophy]]. Today, "moral philosophy" is more-or-less synonymous with "ethics".  Far into the 1700s, science and [[natural philosophy]] were not quite synonymous, but only became so later with the direct use of what would become known formally as the [[scientific method]]. By contrast, the word "science" in English was still used in the 17th century (1600s) to refer to the [[Aristotelianism|Aristotelian]] concept of knowledge which was secure enough to be used as a sure prescription for exactly how to do something. In this differing sense of the two words, the philosopher [[John Locke]] wrote disparagingly in 1690 that "natural philosophy [the study of nature] is not capable of being made a science".<ref name=Locke1838> {{cite book
 
| last=Locke | first=J. | authorlink=John Locke | year = 1838
 
| title = [[An Essay Concerning Human Understanding]]
 
| publisher = Printed by Thomas Davison
 
| isbn=0140434828 }}''[[An Essay Concerning Human Understanding]]''</ref>
 
  
Locke was to be proven wrong, however. By the early 1800s, 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 in the broad sense (see the introduction to this article) in modern terms such as [[library science]], [[political science]], and [[computer science]]. In the more narrow sense of ''science'', as natural philosophy became linked to an expanding set of well-defined laws (beginning with Galileo's laws, Kepler's laws, and Newton's laws for motion), it became more popular to refer to natural philosophy as natural science. Over the course of the nineteenth 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]]) in a linguistic limbo by the end of the century and into the next.<ref name = Thurs>{{cite book | first=Daniel Patrick | last=Thurs | year=2007 | title=Science Talk: Changing Notions of Science in American Popular Culture| publisher=Rutgers University Press | location=New Brunswick, NJ | isbn = 978-0813540733 | oclc=170031241}}</ref><!-- p. 22-55 -->
 
  
Through the 1800s, 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]],” 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.<ref name = Thurs/><!-- p. 74-79 --> 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 William Whewell.<ref name=Ross1962>{{cite journal | format = PDF | author = Ross, S. | year = 1962 | title = Scientist: The story of a word | journal = Annals of Science | volume = 18 | issue = 2 | pages = 65–85 | url = http://www.informaworld.com/index/739364907.pdf | accessdate = 2008-02-08 | doi = 10.1080/00033796200202722}}</ref> Discussion of [[scientist]]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.<ref name = Thurs/><!-- p. 69-74, 79-84 --> 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.
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The generally accepted scientific procedure is:
  
By the twentieth century (1900s), 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.<ref name = Thurs/><!-- p. 95 --> Over the 1900s, links between science and [[technology]] also grew increasingly strong.
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* Observations of an unknown phenomenon are made
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* A hypothesis is made to explain the observations
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* A experiment or experiments are carried out to test the hypothesis.
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** If multiple experiments support the hypothesis it is considered a theory
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** If the experiment does not support the hypothesis it is either rewritten or discarded
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* If at a later date evidence is produced which contradicts the theory, it is modified or discarded and a new hypothesis is developed
  
==Scientific method==
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One of the fundamental tenets of science is that no theory is absolute; theories are constantly changing in response to the observation of new evidence. Hence, a scientific theory that begins with an immutable conclusion and attempts to "fit the facts" to that argument does not fall within the realm of true scientific research.<ref>Examples would include the claims that God created the world and that all living things evolved from a common ancestor.</ref>
[[Image:DNA Overview2.png|thumb|right|upright|[[DNA]] determines the genetic structure of all life]]
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{{main|Scientific method}}
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[[File:Bohr model.svg|thumb|left|The [[Bohr model]] of the [[atom]], like many ideas in the [[history of science]], was at first prompted by and later partially disproved by experiment]]
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A [[scientific method]] seeks to explain the events of [[nature]] in a [[reproducible]] way, and to use these reproductions to make useful [[prediction]]s. It is done through observation of natural phenomena, and/or through experimentation that tries to simulate natural events under controlled conditions. It provides an objective process to find solutions to problems in a number of scientific and technological fields.<ref name=backer>{{cite web
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When repeatable experiments for a phenomenon cannot be performed directly (e.g. the origins of the universe), scientists rely on devising experiments which simulate related or partial phenomena in order to build a supporting framework for an overall theory.
| last=Backer | first=Patricia Ryaby
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| date=October 29, 2004
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| url=http://www.engr.sjsu.edu/pabacker/scientific_method.htm
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| title=What is the scientific method?
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| publisher=San Jose State University
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| accessdate=2008-03-28 }}</ref>
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Based on observations of a phenomenon, a scientist may generate a [[Scientific modeling|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, a scientist can suggest a [[hypothesis]] to explain the phenomenon. This description can be used to make predictions that are testable by experiment or observation using scientific method. When a hypothesis proves unsatisfactory, it is either modified or discarded.
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==Naturalism and science==
[[File:SciencePersonificationBoston.jpg|thumb|[[Personification]] of "Science" in front of the [[Boston Public Library]]]]
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Since the beginning of modern science, scientists have worked under the assumption that their subjects of study have been controlled by consistent natural laws.
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There is good evidence that this assumption was based on the [[Christianity|Christian]] view that the laws were created by a consistent creator Who didn't change those laws on a whim.<ref>See [[Natural science#Beginnings]]</ref>
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This assumption is seen as a prerequisite for logical deduction to act on the observations made. Without the assumption that the universe is consistent we cannot apply the lessons drawn from an observation to any area other than the observations themselves. If a [[chemical reaction]] occurs in a given solution in a laboratory in one city it is assumed that the same reaction can occur in a different laboratory in a different city on a different day because the chemical [[solution]] and situations will be the same.
  
While performing experiments, [[scientist]]s may have a preference for one outcome over another, and it is important to ensure that this tendency does not bias their interpretation.<ref>{{cite web
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If a capricious supernatural force was to enter the equation they could not be controlled for and could not be studied.
| last=van Gelder | first=Tim | year=1999
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| url=http://www.philosophy.unimelb.edu.au/tgelder/papers/HeadsIWin.pdf
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| format=PDF
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| title="Heads I win, tails you lose": A Foray Into the Psychology of Philosophy
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| publisher=University of Melbourne
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| accessdate=2008-03-28
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}}</ref><ref>{{cite web
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| last=Pease | first=Craig
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| date=September 6, 2006
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| url=http://law-and-science.net/Science4BLJ/Scientific_Method/Deliberate.bias/Text.htm
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| title=Chapter 23. Deliberate bias: Conflict creates bad science
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| work=Science for Business, Law and Journalism
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| publisher=Vermont Law School
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| accessdate=2008-03-28
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}}</ref> A strict following of a scientific method attempts to minimize the influence of a scientist's bias on the outcome of an experiment. This can be achieved by correct [[Design of experiments|experimental design]], and a thorough [[peer review]] of the experimental results as well as conclusions of a study.<ref>{{cite book
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| first=David | last=Shatz | year=2004
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| title=Peer Review: A Critical Inquiry
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| publisher=Rowman & Littlefield | isbn=074251434X
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| oclc=54989960
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}}</ref><ref>{{cite book
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| first=Sheldon | last=Krimsky | year=2003
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| title=Science in the Private Interest: Has the Lure of Profits Corrupted the Virtue of Biomedical Research
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| publisher=Rowman & Littlefield | isbn=074251479X
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| oclc=185926306 }}</ref> 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.<ref>{{cite book
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| first=Ruth Ellen | last=Bulger | year=2002
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| coauthors=Heitman, Elizabeth; Reiser, Stanley Joel
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| title=The Ethical Dimensions of the Biological and Health Sciences
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| edition=2nd | isbn=0521008867
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| publisher=Cambridge University Press
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| oclc=47791316 }}</ref>
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Once a hypothesis has survived testing, it may become adopted into the framework of a [[theory (science)|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. These broader theories may be formulated using principles such as [[parsimony]] (traditionally known as "[[Occam's Razor]]"). They are then repeatedly tested by analyzing how the collected evidence ([[fact]]s) compares to the theory. When a theory survives a sufficiently large number of empirical observations, it then becomes a scientific generalization that can be taken as fully verified.  
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The physical sciences largely concern themselves with questions involving the natural, not the supernatural, but this is not the same as assuming that the supernatural does not exist. In addition, there are also the social sciences like [[history]][[Christian apologetics|Christian apologists]] maintain that history testifies to the supernatural existing and that the physical sciences (such as [[Biblical archaeology]]) can aid in historical determinations and testify to the existence of God and the truth of biblical Christianity.
  
Unlike a mathematical proof, a scientific theory is [[empirical]], and is always open to [[falsifiability|falsification]] if new evidence is presented. Even the most basic and fundamental theories may turn out to be imperfect if new observations are inconsistent with them. Critical to this process is making every relevant aspect of research publicly available, which allows ongoing review and repeating of experiments and observations by multiple researchers operating independently of one another. Only by fulfilling these expectations can it be determined how reliable the experimental results are for potential use by others.
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Three broad philosophies have developed in the scientific community.
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* "[[Methodological naturalism]]" adheres to [[naturalism]] insofar as it concerns scientific experiments and observations, but does not rule out a personal deity.  It does, however, ''a priori'' rule out the supernatural being an explanation for observations.
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* "[[Philosophical naturalism]]" adheres to the belief that there is no beings or forces beyond what can be observed; this [[atheism|atheistic]] view rejects the supernatural, or is skeptical of such beliefs.
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* The third approach is to follow the inference to the best explanation regarding whether or not a supernatural or natural cause best explains a past or present observation.<ref>http://creationontheweb.com/content/view/1315/</ref><ref>http://www.cgst.edu/publication/journal/43/J43_203_Forum04Abstract.pdf</ref>  For example, this third approach is advocated by [[creation science|creation scientists]] and [[intelligent design]] theorists when it comes to the origins of the natural world.  Creation scientists and intelligent design theorists rightfully maintain the falsity of the [[evolution|evolutionary]] position given the lack of evidence for evolutionary position and the many lines of evidence against the evolutionary position. Another example is that the [[First Law of Thermodynamics|first]] and [[Second law of thermodynamics|second]] laws of thermodynamics argue against an eternal [[universe]], and [[creation science|creation scientists]] claim that these laws point to the universe being supernaturally created.<ref>[http://godevidences.net/space/lawsofscience.php Evidences for God From Space&mdash;Laws of Science]</ref><ref>Thompson, Bert, [http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2329 So Long, Eternal Universe; Hello Beginning, Hello End!], 2001 (Apologetics Press)</ref><ref>http://www.creationscience.com/onlinebook/AstroPhysicalSciences14.html</ref>  But in other respects, such as why [[Krakatoa]] exploded, a natural explanation would be considered the best explanation.
  
===Mathematics===
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==Religious cultivation of early modern science==
[[File:Michelsonmorley-boxplot.svg|thumb|300px|Data from the famous [[Michelson–Morley experiment]]]]
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''See also:'' [[Christianity and Science]]
[[Mathematics]] 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]], [[algebra]], [[geometry]], [[trigonometry]] and [[calculus]], for example, all are essential to [[physics]]. Virtually every branch of mathematics has applications in science, including "pure" areas such as [[number theory]] and [[topology]].
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[[Statistics|Statistical methods]], 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.
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According to the historian [[H. Floris Cohen]], there exists two distinct levels of argument along this line of historical scholarship. <ref> [http://books.google.com/books?id=wu8b2NAqnb0C The Scientific Revolution: A Historiographical Inquiry], [[H. Floris Cohen]], University of Chicago Press 1994, 680 pages, ISBN 0-2261-1280-2, pages 308-321 </ref>  The first to be proposed was the [[Merton thesis]] in the late 1930's, which parallels the [[The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism|Weber thesis]] in suggesting that the rise of science was due, at first, to a [[protestant work ethic]] but later extended to a more general biblical ethic. The second to be proposed was that of [[Reijer Hooykaas]], who held the rise of early modern science was due to a unique combination of Greek and biblical thought.  One of the main aspects of Hooykaas's argument was that the Greek disrepect for manual work prevented an experimental science from truly developing until the biblical view of honoring work with one's hands was socially sanctioned.  Hooykaas reaches the conclusion that "Metaphorically speaking, whereas the bodily ingredients of science may have been greek, its vitamins and hormones were biblical." <ref> * [http://books.google.com/books?id=c6TEDHvAbXAC ''Religion and the Rise of Modern Science''], Regent College Publishing, 2000. ISBN 1-5738-3018-6 </ref>
  
[[Computational science]] 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]], computation is now as important as theory and experiment in advancing scientific knowledge.<ref>[http://www.siam.org/students/resources/report.php Graduate Education for Computational Science and Engineering], SIAM Working Group on CSE Education. Retrieved 2008-04-27.</ref>
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Historian and professor of religion [[Eugene Marion Klaaren|Eugene M Klaaren]] holds that "a belief in divine creation" was central to an emergence of science in seventeenth-century England. The philosopher [[Michael B. Foster]] has published influential analytical philosophy connecting Christian doctrines of creation with empiricism. Historian William B. Ashworth has argued against the historical notion of distinctive mind-sets and the idea of Catholic and Protestant sciences in "Catholicism and early modern science."<ref> [http://books.google.com/books?id=hs2edDIGCqEC ''God and nature''], Lindberg and Numbers Ed., 1986, pp. 136-66; see also [http://cas.umkc.edu/history/faculty/AshworthW/pub.html William B. Ashworth Jr.'s publication list]; this is noted on page 366 of ''Science and Religion'', [[John Hedley Brooke]], 1991, [[Cambridge University Press]]</ref> Historians James R. Jacob and Margaret C. Jacob have published the paper "The Anglican Origins of Modern Science," which endeavors to show a linkage between seventeenth century [[Anglican]] intellectual transformations and influential English scientists (e.g., [[Robert Boyle]] and [[Isaac Newton]]).<ref> [http://www.compilerpress.atfreeweb.com/Anno%20Jacob%20&%20Jacob%20Anglican%20Fdn%20of%20Modern%20Science.htm The Anglican Origins of Modern Science], [[Isis (journal)|Isis]], Volume 71, Issue 2, June 1980, 251-267; this is also noted on page 366 of ''Science and Religion'', [[John Hedley Brooke]], 1991, [[Cambridge University Press]]</ref>
  
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]]s and [[formula]]s are obtained by [[Mathematical logic|logical]] derivations which presume [[axiom]]atic systems, rather than the combination of [[empirical]] observation and logical reasoning that has come to be known as [[scientific method]]. In general, mathematics is classified as [[formal science]], while natural and social sciences are classified as [[empirical]] sciences.<ref>{{cite book | title = Philosophy of Science: From Problem to Theory | author = Bunge, Mario Augusto | year = 1998 | publisher = Transaction Publishers | isbn = 0-765-80413-1 | page = 24}}</ref>
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Two well-respected theological surveys, which also illustrate other historical interactions between religion and science occurring in the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries, are [[John Dillenberger]]'s ''Protestant Thought and Natural Science'' ([[Doubleday]], 1960) and [[Christopher B. Kaiser]]'s ''Creation and the History of Science'' ([[Eerdmans]], 1991).
  
==Scientific community==
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{{quotation|When natural philosophers referred to ''laws'' of nature, they were not glibly choosing that metaphor. Laws were the result of legislation by an intelligent deity. Thus the philosopher Rene Descartes (1596-1650) insisted that he was discovering the "laws that God has put into nature." Later Newton would declare that the regulation of the solar system presupposed the "counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being."<ref> [[John Hedley Brooke]], ''Science and Religion: Some Historical Perspectives'', 1991, [[Cambridge University Press]], ISBN 0-521-23961-3, page 19 </ref>
{{main|Scientific community}}
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|Historian and [[Oxford University]] [[Science and Religion]] theologian [[John Hedley Brooke]]}}
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.
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===Fields===
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[[University of California at Berkeley]]-educated historian [[Ronald L. Numbers]] has stated that this thesis "received a boost" from mathematician and philosopher[[Alfred North Whitehead]]'s ''[[Science and the Modern World]]'' (1925). Numbers has also claimed "Despite the manifest shortcomings of the claim that Christianity gave birth to science&mdash;most glaringly, it ignores or minimizes the contributions of ancient Greeks and medieval Muslims&mdash;it too, refuses to succumb to the death it deserves. The sociologist [[Rodney Stark]] at [[Baylor University]], a [[Southern Baptist]] institution, is only the latest in a long line of Christian apologists to insist that 'Christian theology was essential for the rise of science.'"<ref> ''Science and Christianity in pulpit and pew'', [[Oxford University Press]], 2007, [[Ronald L. Numbers]], p. 4, and p.138 n. 3 where Numbers specifically raises his concerns with regards to the works of [[Michael B. Foster]], [[Reijer Hooykaas]], [[Eugene M. Klaaren]], and [[Stanley L. Jaki]] </ref>
{{main|Fields of science}}
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[[File:Meissner effect p1390048.jpg|thumb|The [[Meissner effect]] causes a [[magnet]] to levitate above a [[superconductor]]]]
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<!-- The organizational tables have been moved to the main article "Fields of science" -->
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Fields of science are widely-recognized categories of specialized expertise, and typically embody their own [[terminology]] and [[nomenclature]]. Each field will commonly be represented by one or more [[scientific journal]], where [[peer reviewed]] research will be published.
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===Institutions===
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==Notes==
[[File:Académie des Sciences 1671.jpg|thumb|upright|[[Louis XIV]] visiting the {{lang|fr|[[French Academy of Sciences|Académie des sciences]]}} in 1671]]
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[[Learned society|Learned societies]] for the communication and promotion of scientific thought and experimentation have existed since the [[Renaissance]] period.<ref>{{cite web | last=Parrott | first=Jim | date=August 9, 2007 | url=http://www.scholarly-societies.org/1599andearlier.html | title=Chronicle for Societies Founded from 1323 to 1599 | publisher=Scholarly Societies Project | accessdate=2007-09-11}}</ref> The oldest surviving institution is the {{lang|it|''[[Accademia dei Lincei]]''}} in [[Italy]].<ref>{{cite web | year=2006 | url=http://positivamente.lincei.it/ | title=Benvenuto nel sito dell'Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei | language=Italian | publisher=Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei | accessdate=2007-09-11}}</ref> National [[Academy of Sciences]] are distinguished institutions that exist in a number of countries, beginning with the British ''[[Royal Society]]'' in 1660<ref>{{cite web | url=http://www.royalsoc.ac.uk/page.asp?id=2176 | title=Brief history of the Society | publisher=The Royal Society | accessdate=2007-09-11}}</ref> and the French {{lang|fr|''[[Académie des Sciences]]''}} in 1666.<ref>{{cite web | first=G.G. | last=Meynell | url=http://www.royalsoc.ac.uk/page.asp?id=2176 | title=The French Academy of Sciences, 1666-91: A reassessment of the French Académie royale des sciences under Colbert (1666-83) and Louvois (1683-91) | publisher=Topics in Scientific & Medical History | accessdate=2007-09-11}}</ref>
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International scientific organizations, such as the ''[[International Council for 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]]'' in the [[United States|U.S.]]
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{{reflist}}
 
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Other prominent organizations include the [[CONICET|National Scientific and Technical Research Council]] in Argentina, the [[academy of sciences|academies of science]] of many nations, [[CSIRO]] in Australia, {{lang|fr|[[Centre national de la recherche scientifique]]}} in France, [[Max Planck Society]] and {{lang|de|[[Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft]]}} in Germany, and in Spain, [[CSIC]].
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===Literature===
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{{main|Scientific literature}}
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An enormous range of [[scientific literature]] is published.<ref>{{cite journal
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| last=Ziman | first=Bhadriraju
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| journal=Science
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| title=The proliferation of scientific literature: a natural process
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| year=1980 | volume=208 | issue=4442
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| pages=369–371
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| doi= 10.1126/science.7367863
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| pmid=7367863 }}</ref> [[Scientific journal]]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]]'' followed by the ''[[Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society|Philosophical Transactions]]'', 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.<ref>{{cite book
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| first=Krishna | last=Subramanyam
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| coauthors=Subramanyam, Bhadriraju | year=1981
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| title=Scientific and Technical Information Resources
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| publisher=CRC Press | isbn=0824782976
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| oclc=232950234 }}</ref> Today [[Pubmed]] lists almost 40,000, related to the medical sciences only.<ref>ftp://ftp.ncbi.nih.gov/pubmed/J_Entrez.txt</ref>
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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.
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[[Science magazine]]s such as [[NewScientist|New Scientist]], [[Science & Vie]] and [[Scientific American]] 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]]s engage the interest of many more people. Tangentially, the [[science fiction]] genre, primarily fantastic in nature, engages the public imagination and transmits the ideas, if not the methods, of science.
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Recent efforts to intensify or develop links between science and non-scientific disciplines such as [[Literature]] or, more specifically, [[Poetry]], include the ''Creative Writing Science'' resource developed through the [[Royal Literary Fund]].<ref>{{cite web | first=Mario | last=Petrucci
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| url=http://writeideas.org.uk/creativescience/index.htm | title=Creative Writing <-> Science
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| accessdate=2008-04-27 }}</ref>
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==Philosophy of science==
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{{main|Philosophy of science}}
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[[File:Bose Einstein condensate.png|thumb|Velocity-distribution data of a gas of [[rubidium]] atoms, confirming the discovery of a new phase of matter, the [[Bose–Einstein condensate]]]]
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The philosophy of science seeks to understand the nature and justification of scientific knowledge. It has proven difficult to provide a definitive [[Scientific method#Philosophical issues|account of scientific method]] that can decisively serve to distinguish science from non-science. Thus there are legitimate arguments about exactly where the borders are, which is known as the [[problem of demarcation]]. There is nonetheless a set of core precepts that have broad consensus among published philosophers of science and within the [[scientific community]] at large. For example, it is universally agreed that scientific hypotheses and theories must be capable of being independently tested and verified by other scientists in order to become accepted by the scientific community.
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There are different schools of thought in the philosophy of scientific method. [[Methodological naturalism]] maintains that scientific investigation must adhere to [[empirical]] study and independent verification as a process for properly developing and evaluating natural explanations for [[observation|observable]] phenomena.<ref>{{cite journal|journal = The Review of Metaphysics|title = Casebeer, William D. Natural Ethical Facts: Evolution, Connectionism, and Moral Cognition|author = Brugger, E. Christian|volume = 58| issue = 2|year = 2004}}</ref> Methodological naturalism, therefore, rejects [[supernatural]] explanations, [[Appeal to authority|arguments from authority]] and biased [[observational studies]]. [[Critical rationalism]] instead holds that unbiased observation is not possible and a demarcation between natural and supernatural explanations is arbitrary; it instead proposes [[falsifiability]] as the landmark of empirical theories and falsification as the universal empirical method. Critical rationalism argues for the ability of science to increase the scope of testable knowledge, but at the same time against its [[authority]], by emphasizing its inherent [[fallibilism|fallibility]]. It proposes that science should be content with the rational elimination of errors in its theories, not in seeking for their verification (such as claiming certain or probable proof or disproof; both the proposal and falsification of a theory are only of methodological, conjectural, and tentative character in critical rationalism).<ref>{{cite book | title = Conjectures and Refutations: The Growth of Scientific Knowledge | author = Popper, Karl | publisher = Routledge | year = 2002 | isbn = 0061313769}}</ref> [[Instrumentalism]] rejects the concept of truth and emphasizes merely the utility of theories as instruments for explaining and predicting phenomena.<ref>{{cite book|title = The Rationality of Science | author = Newton-Smith, W. H. | location = London | publisher = Routledge | year = 1994 | page = 30|isbn = 0710009135}}</ref>
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Another aspect is that philosophy is at least implicitly at the core of every decision made.  The schools of philosophical thought determine what is a necessity for scientific inquiry to take place.<ref name=Kate >{{cite web
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  | last = A.
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  | first = Kate
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  | coauthors = Sergei, Vitaly
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  | title = Evolution and Philosophy: Science and Philosophy
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  | publisher = Think Quest
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  | date = 2000
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  | url = http://library.thinkquest.org/C004367/ph1.shtml
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  | accessdate = 19 January 2009}}</ref>
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For instance, there are basic philosophical assumptions implicit at the foundation of science - namely, 1) that reality is objective and consistent, 2) that humans have the capacity to perceive reality accurately, and 3) that rational explanations exist for elements of the real world. These assumptions are based in naturalism, critical rationalism, and instrumentalism, within which science is done.<ref name=Kate />  Biologist [[Stephen J. Gould]] maintained that certain philosophical propositions--i.e., 1) Uniformity of law and 2) uniformity of processes across time and space--must first be assumed before you can proceed as a scientist doing science.  Gould summarized this view as follows: "You cannot go to a rocky outcrop and observe either the constancy of nature's laws nor the working of unknown processes.  It works the other way around." You first assume these propositions and "then you go to the out crop of rock."<ref>{{cite book
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  | last = Gould
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  | first = Stephen J
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  | title = [[Time's Arrow, Time's Cycle]]: Myth and Metaphor in the Discovery of Geological Time
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  | publisher = Harvard University Press
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  | date = 1987
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  | location = Cambridge, MA
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  | pages = 120
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  | isbn = 0674891988}}</ref>
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==Pseudoscience, fringe science, and junk science==
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{{main| Pseudoscience|Fringe science|Junk science|Cargo cult science|Scientific misconduct}}
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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]], [[fringe science]], or "alternative science". Another term, [[junk science]], 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. A variety of commercial advertising, ranging from hype to fraud, may fall into this category. 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]]" 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.
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==Critiques==
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===Philosophical critiques===
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Historian [[Jacques Barzun]] termed science "a [[faith]] as [[fanaticism|fanatical]] as any in [[history]]" and warned against the use of scientific thought to suppress considerations of [[meaning]] as integral to [[human]] existence.<ref>Jacques Barzun, ''Science: The Glorious Entertainment'', Harper and Row: 1964. p. 15. (quote) and Chapters II and XII.</ref> Many recent thinkers, such as [[Carolyn Merchant]], [[Theodor Adorno]] and [[E. F. Schumacher]] considered that the 17th century [[scientific revolution]] shifted science from a focus on understanding [[nature]], or [[wisdom]], to a focus on manipulating nature, i.e. [[power (sociology)|power]], and that science's emphasis on manipulating nature leads it inevitably to manipulate people, as well.<ref name=UW>Fritjof Capra, ''Uncommon Wisdom'', ISBN 0-671-47322-0, p. 213</ref> Science's focus on quantitative measures has led to critiques that it is unable to recognize important qualitative aspects of the world.<ref name=UW/>
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Philosopher of science [[Paul K Feyerabend]] advanced the idea of [[epistemological anarchism]], which holds that there are no useful and exception-free [[methodology|methodological rules]] governing the [[scientific progress|progress of science]] or the growth of [[knowledge]], and that the idea that science can or should operate according to universal and fixed rules is unrealistic, pernicious and detrimental to science itself.<ref name="contra">{{cite book | last = Feyerabend | first = Paul |authorlink = Paul Feyerabend | title = Against Method | publisher = Verso | location = London | year = 1993 | isbn = 9780860916468 }}</ref>. Feyerabend advocates treating science as an [[ideology]] alongside others such as [[religion]], [[Magic (paranormal)|magic]] and [[mythology]], and considers the dominance of science in society [[authoritarian]] and unjustified.<ref name="contra"/>. He also contended (along with [[Imre Lakatos]]) that the [[demarcation problem]] of distinguishing science from [[pseudoscience]] on objective grounds is not possible and thus fatal to the notion of science running according to fixed, universal rules.<ref name="contra"/>
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Professor [[Stanley Aronowitz]] 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.<ref>{{cite book | isbn = 0816616590 | title = Science As Power: Discourse and Ideology in Modern Society | page = viii (preface) | publisher = University of Minnesota Press | last = Aronowitz | first = Stanley | year = 1988 | authorlink = Stanley Aronowitz}}</ref>  Aronowitz also alleges that while scientists consider it absurd that [[Fundamentalist Christianity]] uses biblical references to bolster their claim that the bible is true, scientists pull the same tactic by using the tools of science to settle disputes concerning its own validity.<ref>Stanley Aronowitz in conversation with Derrick Jensen in {{cite book | isbn = 1931498520 | title = Welcome to the Machine: Science, Surveillance, and the Culture of Control | page = 31 | publisher = Chelsea Green Publishing Company | last = Jensen | first = Derrick | year = 2004 | authorlink = Derrick Jensen}}</ref>
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Psychologist [[Carl Jung]] believed that though science attempted to understand all of nature, the experimental method used would pose artificial, conditional questions that evoke only partial answers.<ref>{{cite book | isbn = 0691017948 | title = Synchronicity: An Acausal Connecting Principle | page = 35 | publisher = Princeton University Press | last = Jung | first = Carl | year = 1973 | authorlink = Carl Jung}}</ref> David Parkin compared the [[epistemology|epistemological]] stance of science to that of [[divination]].<ref>{{harvnb|Parkin|1991}} "Simultaneity and Sequencing in the Oracular Speech of Kenyan Diviners", p. 185.</ref> 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.
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Philosopher [[Alan Watts]] criticized science for operating under a materialist model of the world that he posited is simply a modified version of the [[Abrahamic religions|Abrahamic worldview]], that "the universe is constructed and maintained by a Lawmaker" (commonly identified as [[God]] or the [[Logos]]). Watts asserts that during the rise of secularism through the 18th to 20th century when scientific philosophers got rid of the notion of a lawmaker they kept the notion of law, and that the idea that the world is a material machine run by law is a presumption just as unscientific as religious doctrines that affirm it is a material machine made and run by a lawmaker.<ref>Alan Watts Audio lecture "Myth and Religion: Image of Man" and "Out Of Your Mind, 1: The Nature of Consciousness: 'Our image of the world' and 'The myth of the automatic universe'"</ref>
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[[Philosopher]] and [[polymath]] [[Robert Anton Wilson]] stated that the instruments used in scientific investigation produce meaningful answers relevant only to the instrument, and that there is no objective vantage point from which science could verify its findings since all findings are relative to begin with.<ref>{{cite book | isbn = 1-56184-002-5 | title = The New Inquisition | page = 4 | publisher = New Falcon Publications | last = Anton Wilson | first = Robert | year = 1999 | authorlink = Robert Anton Wilson}}</ref> He also was critical of the scientific  community for being funded largely in part by the military industrial complex<ref>Ibid, pg 20</ref> and claimed that because of their strong association with one another that research and results might be geared towards the expectations or wants of the military (or whoever is doing the funding). Because of this, he suggests that the results of scientists could in fact be tainted by the prejudices of their research sponsors, and are not entirely scientific.<ref>Ibid, pg 92</ref>
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Several academics have offered critiques concerning [[ethics]] in science. In ''Science and Ethics'', for example, the philosopher [[Bernard Rollin]] examines the relevance of ethics to science, and argues in favor of making education in ethics part and parcel of scientific training.<ref>{{cite book
+
| first=Bernard E. | last=Rollin | year=2006
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| title=Science and Ethics
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| publisher=Cambridge University Press
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| isbn=0521857546
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| oclc=238793190 }}</ref>
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+
===Media perspectives===
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The [[mass media]] 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]] requires considerable expertise regarding the matter.<ref>{{cite web
+
| last=Dickson | first=David | date=October 11, 2004
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| url=http://www.scidev.net/Editorials/index.cfm?fuseaction=readEditorials&itemid=131&language=1
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| title=Science journalism must keep a critical edge
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| publisher=Science and Development Network
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| accessdate=2008-02-20
+
}}</ref> Few journalists have real scientific knowledge, and even [[beat reporter]]s who know a great deal about certain scientific issues may know little about other ones they are suddenly asked to cover.<ref>{{cite web
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| last=Mooney | first=Chris | year=2007
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| url=http://cjrarchives.org/issues/2004/6/mooney-science.asp
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| title=Blinded By Science, How 'Balanced' Coverage Lets the Scientific Fringe Hijack Reality
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| publisher=Columbia Journalism Review
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| accessdate=2008-02-20
+
}}</ref><ref>{{cite journal
+
| last=McIlwaine | first=S. | coauthors=Nguyen, D. A.
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| title=Are Journalism Students Equipped to Write About Science?
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| journal=Australian Studies in Journalism
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| year=2005 | volume=14 | pages=41–60
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| url=http://espace.library.uq.edu.au/view/UQ:8064
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| accessdate=2008-02-20 }}</ref>
+
 
+
===Politics===
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Many issues damage the relationship of science to the media and the use of science and scientific arguments by [[politician]]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]] frequently distorts the scientific understanding by the public. Examples in [[United Kingdom|Britain]] include the controversy over the [[MMR]] [[inoculation]], and the 1988 forced resignation of a Government Minister, [[Edwina Currie]] for revealing the high probability that battery eggs were contaminated with ''[[Salmonella]]''.<ref>[http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/december/3/newsid_2519000/2519451.stm "1988: Egg industry fury over salmonella claim"], "On This Day," BBC News, December 3, 1988.</ref>
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==See also==
 
==See also==
{{Portal|Science|Nuvola apps kalzium.png}}
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* [[Scientific method]]
{{main|Outline of science}}
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* [[Computing]]
 
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==Notes==
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{{reflist|2}}
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+
==References==
+
* [[Paul Feyerabend|Feyerabend, Paul]] (2005). ''Science, history of the philosophy'', as cited in {{cite book |author=Honderich, Ted |title=The Oxford companion to philosophy |publisher=Oxford University Press |location=Oxford [[Oxfordshire]] |year=2005 |pages= |isbn=0199264791 |oclc= 173262485|doi=}} of.'' Oxford Companion to Philosophy. Oxford.
+
* {{cite book|author=Feynman, R.P.|year=1999|title=The Pleasure of Finding Things Out: The Best Short Works of Richard P. Feynman|publisher=Perseus Books Group|isbn=0465023959 | oclc = 181597764}}
+
* [[David Papineau|Papineau, David]]. (2005). ''Science, problems of the philosophy of.'', as cited in {{cite book |author=Honderich, Ted |title=The Oxford companion to philosophy |publisher=Oxford University Press |location=Oxford [[Oxfordshire]] |year=2005|isbn=0199264791 |oclc= 173262485}}
+
* {{Cite book|last=Parkin|first=D|year=1991|article=Simultaneity and Sequencing in the Oracular Speech of Kenyan Diviners|editor=Philip M. Peek|title=African Divination Systems: Ways of Knowing|location=Indianapolis, IN|publisher=Indiana University Press}}.
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==Further reading==
+
* Augros, Robert M., Stanciu, George N., "The New Story of Science: mind and the universe", Lake Bluff, Ill.: Regnery Gateway, c1984. ISBN 0895268337
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* Baxter, Charles {{PDFlink|[http://www.adihome.org/phpshop/pdf/articles/DIN_02_01_10.pdf "Myth versus science in educational systems"]|66.4&nbsp;KB}}
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* {{cite book|last=Becker|first=Ernest|title=The structure of evil; an essay on the unification of the science of man|location=New York|publisher=G. Braziller|year=1968|authorlink=Ernest Becker}}
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* Cole, K. C., ''Things your teacher never told you about science: Nine shocking revelations'' [[Newsday]], [[Long Island, New York]], March 23, 1986, pg 21+
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* Feynman, Richard [http://calteches.library.caltech.edu/51/02/CargoCult.pdf "Cargo Cult Science"]
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* Gopnik, Alison, [http://www.amacad.org/publications/winter2004/gopnik.pdf "Finding Our Inner Scientist"], [[Daedalus (journal)|Daedalus]], Winter 2004.
+
* Krige, John, and Dominique Pestre, eds., ''Science in the Twentieth Century'', Routledge 2003, ISBN 0-415-28606-9
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* [[Thomas Samuel Kuhn|Kuhn, Thomas]], ''[[The Structure of Scientific Revolutions]]'', 1962.
+
* MacComas, William F. {{PDFlink|[http://earthweb.ess.washington.edu/roe/Knowability_590/Week2/Myths%20of%20Science.pdf "The principal elements of the nature of science: Dispelling the myths"]|189&nbsp;KB}} Rossier School of Education, University of Southern California. Direct Instruction News. '''Spring 2002''' 24–30.
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* {{cite book|last=Obler|first=Paul C.|coauthors=Estrin, Herman A.|title = The New Scientist: Essays on the Methods and Values of Modern Science | publisher = Anchor Books, Doubleday |date=1962}}
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* {{cite book | first=Daniel Patrick | last=Thurs | year=2007 | title=Science Talk: Changing Notions of Science in American Popular Culture| pages=22–52 | publisher=Rutgers University Press | location=New Brunswick, NJ | isbn=978-0-8135-4073-3 }}
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* [[Yuval Levin|Levin, Yuval]] (2008). ''Imagining the Future: Science and American Democracy''. New York, Encounter Books. ISBN 1594032092
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==External links==
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{{sisterlinks}}
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'''Publications'''
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* "''[[b:GCSE Science|GCSE Science textbook]]''". [[Wikibooks]].org
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'''News'''
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* [http://www.newscientist.com Current Events]. [[New Scientist]] Magazine, Reed Business Information, Ltd.
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* [http://www.sciencedaily.com ScienceDaily]
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* [http://www.discovermagazine.com Discover Magazine]
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* [http://www.science.ie/ Irish Science News] from Discover Science & Engineering
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'''Resources'''
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* [http://www.euroscience.org/ Euroscience]:
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** [http://www.euroscience.org/esof.html Euroscience Open Forum] (ESOF)
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* [http://www.sciencecouncil.org/DefiningScience.php Science Council]
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* [http://www.en.argentina.ar/_en/science-and-education/ Science Development in the ''Latin American docta'']
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* [http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/cgi-local/DHI/dhi.cgi?id=dv1-57 Classification of the Sciences] Dictionary of the History of Ideas
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* [http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evosite/nature/index.shtml "Nature of Science"] University of California Museum of Paleontology
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* [http://www.science.gov United States Science Initiative]. Selected science information provided by U.S. Government agencies, including research and development results.
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Revision as of 12:11, 28 October 2009

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Science is "the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behaviour of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment."[1] Science can be divided into two areas: natural science, dealing with the physical, natural world, and social science, dealing with society and human nature.

Science differs from other methodologies of classifying knowledge in that a scientific theory is a description of the world which in principle is cabable of being disproved; this is known as falsifiability. It is this property which distinguishes science from other possible methods of discovering knowledge.

Epicurus is an important figure in the development of the scientific method. He insisted that nothing should be accepted except that which has been sufficiently tested through direct observation and logical deduction. Roger Bacon is hailed by many as the father of modern science. His focus on empirical approaches to science was influential. He wrote an encyclopedia, his Opus Majus.

People who study science are called scientists. Most of the early scientists who started many of the scientific fields, and some of history's greatest thinkers, such as Galileo Galilei and Isaac Newton, believed in God, or some other higher power, and many were creationists. In addition, Christianity played a pivotal role in the development of modern science. However, in recent years, American scientists have been much more atheistic as a group than the general public. [2]

Principles of science

The basis of modern science is observation and hypothesis. It involves constructing the best theory to explain an occurrence based on the evidence at the time.

Economist Milton Friedman said, "In all of science, progress comes through people proposing hypotheses which are subject to test and rejected and replaced by better hypotheses." [1]


The generally accepted scientific procedure is:

  • Observations of an unknown phenomenon are made
  • A hypothesis is made to explain the observations
  • A experiment or experiments are carried out to test the hypothesis.
    • If multiple experiments support the hypothesis it is considered a theory
    • If the experiment does not support the hypothesis it is either rewritten or discarded
  • If at a later date evidence is produced which contradicts the theory, it is modified or discarded and a new hypothesis is developed

One of the fundamental tenets of science is that no theory is absolute; theories are constantly changing in response to the observation of new evidence. Hence, a scientific theory that begins with an immutable conclusion and attempts to "fit the facts" to that argument does not fall within the realm of true scientific research.[3]

When repeatable experiments for a phenomenon cannot be performed directly (e.g. the origins of the universe), scientists rely on devising experiments which simulate related or partial phenomena in order to build a supporting framework for an overall theory.

Naturalism and science

Since the beginning of modern science, scientists have worked under the assumption that their subjects of study have been controlled by consistent natural laws. There is good evidence that this assumption was based on the Christian view that the laws were created by a consistent creator Who didn't change those laws on a whim.[4] This assumption is seen as a prerequisite for logical deduction to act on the observations made. Without the assumption that the universe is consistent we cannot apply the lessons drawn from an observation to any area other than the observations themselves. If a chemical reaction occurs in a given solution in a laboratory in one city it is assumed that the same reaction can occur in a different laboratory in a different city on a different day because the chemical solution and situations will be the same.

If a capricious supernatural force was to enter the equation they could not be controlled for and could not be studied.

The physical sciences largely concern themselves with questions involving the natural, not the supernatural, but this is not the same as assuming that the supernatural does not exist. In addition, there are also the social sciences like history. Christian apologists maintain that history testifies to the supernatural existing and that the physical sciences (such as Biblical archaeology) can aid in historical determinations and testify to the existence of God and the truth of biblical Christianity.

Three broad philosophies have developed in the scientific community.

  • "Methodological naturalism" adheres to naturalism insofar as it concerns scientific experiments and observations, but does not rule out a personal deity. It does, however, a priori rule out the supernatural being an explanation for observations.
  • "Philosophical naturalism" adheres to the belief that there is no beings or forces beyond what can be observed; this atheistic view rejects the supernatural, or is skeptical of such beliefs.
  • The third approach is to follow the inference to the best explanation regarding whether or not a supernatural or natural cause best explains a past or present observation.[5][6] For example, this third approach is advocated by creation scientists and intelligent design theorists when it comes to the origins of the natural world. Creation scientists and intelligent design theorists rightfully maintain the falsity of the evolutionary position given the lack of evidence for evolutionary position and the many lines of evidence against the evolutionary position. Another example is that the first and second laws of thermodynamics argue against an eternal universe, and creation scientists claim that these laws point to the universe being supernaturally created.[7][8][9] But in other respects, such as why Krakatoa exploded, a natural explanation would be considered the best explanation.

Religious cultivation of early modern science

See also: Christianity and Science

According to the historian H. Floris Cohen, there exists two distinct levels of argument along this line of historical scholarship. [10] The first to be proposed was the Merton thesis in the late 1930's, which parallels the Weber thesis in suggesting that the rise of science was due, at first, to a protestant work ethic but later extended to a more general biblical ethic. The second to be proposed was that of Reijer Hooykaas, who held the rise of early modern science was due to a unique combination of Greek and biblical thought. One of the main aspects of Hooykaas's argument was that the Greek disrepect for manual work prevented an experimental science from truly developing until the biblical view of honoring work with one's hands was socially sanctioned. Hooykaas reaches the conclusion that "Metaphorically speaking, whereas the bodily ingredients of science may have been greek, its vitamins and hormones were biblical." [11]

Historian and professor of religion Eugene M Klaaren holds that "a belief in divine creation" was central to an emergence of science in seventeenth-century England. The philosopher Michael B. Foster has published influential analytical philosophy connecting Christian doctrines of creation with empiricism. Historian William B. Ashworth has argued against the historical notion of distinctive mind-sets and the idea of Catholic and Protestant sciences in "Catholicism and early modern science."[12] Historians James R. Jacob and Margaret C. Jacob have published the paper "The Anglican Origins of Modern Science," which endeavors to show a linkage between seventeenth century Anglican intellectual transformations and influential English scientists (e.g., Robert Boyle and Isaac Newton).[13]

Two well-respected theological surveys, which also illustrate other historical interactions between religion and science occurring in the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries, are John Dillenberger's Protestant Thought and Natural Science (Doubleday, 1960) and Christopher B. Kaiser's Creation and the History of Science (Eerdmans, 1991).

When natural philosophers referred to laws of nature, they were not glibly choosing that metaphor. Laws were the result of legislation by an intelligent deity. Thus the philosopher Rene Descartes (1596-1650) insisted that he was discovering the "laws that God has put into nature." Later Newton would declare that the regulation of the solar system presupposed the "counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being."[14]

University of California at Berkeley-educated historian Ronald L. Numbers has stated that this thesis "received a boost" from mathematician and philosopherAlfred North Whitehead's Science and the Modern World (1925). Numbers has also claimed "Despite the manifest shortcomings of the claim that Christianity gave birth to science—most glaringly, it ignores or minimizes the contributions of ancient Greeks and medieval Muslims—it too, refuses to succumb to the death it deserves. The sociologist Rodney Stark at Baylor University, a Southern Baptist institution, is only the latest in a long line of Christian apologists to insist that 'Christian theology was essential for the rise of science.'"[15]

Notes

  1. Soanes,C. and Stevenson, A. (eds.) (2005) 'The Oxford Dictionary of English (revised edition)' Oxford University Press, Oxford, U.K.
  2. http://www.atheists.org/flash.line/atheism1.htm
  3. Examples would include the claims that God created the world and that all living things evolved from a common ancestor.
  4. See Natural science#Beginnings
  5. http://creationontheweb.com/content/view/1315/
  6. http://www.cgst.edu/publication/journal/43/J43_203_Forum04Abstract.pdf
  7. Evidences for God From Space—Laws of Science
  8. Thompson, Bert, So Long, Eternal Universe; Hello Beginning, Hello End!, 2001 (Apologetics Press)
  9. http://www.creationscience.com/onlinebook/AstroPhysicalSciences14.html
  10. The Scientific Revolution: A Historiographical Inquiry, H. Floris Cohen, University of Chicago Press 1994, 680 pages, ISBN 0-2261-1280-2, pages 308-321
  11. * Religion and the Rise of Modern Science, Regent College Publishing, 2000. ISBN 1-5738-3018-6
  12. God and nature, Lindberg and Numbers Ed., 1986, pp. 136-66; see also William B. Ashworth Jr.'s publication list; this is noted on page 366 of Science and Religion, John Hedley Brooke, 1991, Cambridge University Press
  13. The Anglican Origins of Modern Science, Isis, Volume 71, Issue 2, June 1980, 251-267; this is also noted on page 366 of Science and Religion, John Hedley Brooke, 1991, Cambridge University Press
  14. John Hedley Brooke, Science and Religion: Some Historical Perspectives, 1991, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0-521-23961-3, page 19
  15. Science and Christianity in pulpit and pew, Oxford University Press, 2007, Ronald L. Numbers, p. 4, and p.138 n. 3 where Numbers specifically raises his concerns with regards to the works of Michael B. Foster, Reijer Hooykaas, Eugene M. Klaaren, and Stanley L. Jaki

See also