Posts Tagged ‘Definition of Science’


We started this blog in July 2013. Since then, we’ve been posting almost daily.

When considering the popularity of the posts, one thing stands out:  in all but a few cases, popularity declines over time.

As well, the readership of this blog has expanded gradually over time, so most readers have never seen what we consider many of our best posts.

Over the next week or two we’ll put up lists of our best posts from 2015 in the categories of atheism, religion, anarchism, humor, politics, music,  book and movie reviews, writing, language use, and economics.

Because there were considerably more posts in 2014 and 2015 than in 2013, we put up several lists for 2014 and will be putting up a similar number of lists for 2015. We’ve already put up the following:

Here’s the first of the 2015 lists:

Science

Skepticism

Science Fiction

(The George Turner series is included here, because it concluded in 2015.)


SCIENCE, n. A systematic means of understanding and describing the natural world. It is based on the scientific method. To simplify, that method consists of: 1) gathering as much data as possible on a phenomenon; 2) formulating a hypothesis to explain the data; 3) testing the hypothesis for internal consistency and to see if it is in accord with the data; 4) gathering additional data and seeing if the hypothesis is in accord with the additional data; and 5) checking whether predictions generated by the hypothesis are accurate. If the hypothesis survives repeated, long-term testing, it becomes a “theory,” as in “the theory of gravity” and “the theory of evolution.”

Another way of putting this is that science is a systematic method of arriving at the most probably correct explanations of observed phenomena. An important adjunct to this is that science is fact driven rather than belief driven. So, scientists are bound to accept the results of scientific investigation even if they don’t particularly like the results—if a pet theory is at odds with the facts, out goes the pet theory (eventually).

Thus science is the most powerful means ever devised of dispelling illusions. This is, of course, why it is almost universally despised in the United States.

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–from the revised and expanded edition of The American Heretic’s Dictionary, the best modern successor to Ambrose Bierce’s Devil’s Dictionary