Characteristics of Science - Summary
- Science is concerned only with the description, investigation and understanding of the
- Scientific understanding involves discovering
natural Cause and Effect Relationships between events.
Once natural cause and effect relationships have been understood, it
is possible to make and test predictions about other natural
phenomena (related cause and effect relationships).
The existence of Neptune was predicted using
Newton's law of gravity and perturbations in the orbit of Uranus.
Einstein's theory of general relativity predicted that massive
objects would distort space-time and bend light. Maxwell's
work on electric and magnetic fields led to the prediction of radio
- Science must be Objective: Accurate cause and effect relationships are discovered by observing,
measuring and describing natural phenomena and by designing and performing experiments to collect and interpret evidence while minimizing personal biases.
- By definition the natural world and natural cause and effect relationships can only be observed, measured and tested using our 5 basic senses
and tools that can extend them.
- Science is Transparent
(information is shared) and Assumes the Consistency and Predictability of Nature.
Scientific results are Reproducible - anyone who follows the
published methods will obtain the same results.
- Science is a Human Endeavor - Consequently:
- Scientists are afflicted with human eccentricities.
- Science is often messy.
There can be legitimate disagreements and conflicting evidence,
particularly with complex issues.
- Uncontrolled Testimonials (anecdotal evidence) cannot provide scientific validation of a proposed cause and effect relationship.
- Scientific Consensus is Critical.
- Science Knowledge is Provisional, it
is never fixed in unchangeable doctrines.
- Scientific Knowledge is Morally Neutral.
- Scientific descriptions of the natural
world (all theories and laws) should not be more complex than required
to adequately explain a given natural phenomenon.