Unlike other subjects, Science is not merely a body of knowledge, it’s a process.
Instead of just believing what they were told when they were children because it
was written in some ancient book, Scientists seek evidence to support proposed answers
Before Science, when faced with a question, somebody just guessed at the answer and
told their children, probably to shut them up! That answer then got passed down the
generations. This is how religious doctrine originates.
Scientific method often starts in the same way, with a guess (hypothesis) but then
an investigation is carried out to test the guess; observations are made, evidence
The Scientific Process goes like this:
1. Decide on a question
2. Suggest possible solutions (Hypotheses - educated guesses)
3. Construct an Investigation to test a Hypothesis
4. Make observations (preferably using instruments to collect data)
5. Repeat the Investigation to eliminate fluke results
6. Draw conclusions, suggest predictions and publish the account
7. Other Scientists repeat investigations and confirm (or deny) results
8. Scientific community comes to agreement about the discovery
When most Scientists are convinced, the answer is accepted as a fact
Common Misconceptions about Science
‘Scientists are know-alls who think they can explain everything’ WRONG! If Scientists
had the answers to all the questions they would stop investigating! There would be
nothing left to do. In fact, the more we discover, the more questions occur to us
- just ask a researcher!
‘Science is just a belief like religions’ WRONG! Scientific Facts do not require
belief. They exist outside of men’s heads and can be discovered and rediscovered
by anyone, anywhere and at any time.
‘Scientists can prove things.’ WRONG! Scientists only provide evidence. Good Scientists
don’t like to use the word ‘proof’. Ok, some Scientific Facts are highly likely to
be correct - e.g. ‘The heart pumps blood around the circulatory system’, but we don’t
like to close the door on the possibility that new evidence may turn up and we might
have to revise our view. This happened with Newton’s Theory of Gravity (which still
works perfectly well within the Solar System) when Einstein came up with his Theory
of Relativity which is slightly more accurate in deep space. We like to keep open
‘Evolution is only a Theory’ WRONG! The Scientific usage of the word ‘theory’ is
quite different from the way it is used in everyday language. It doesn’t mean a guess!
The Scientific word for (educated) guess is Hypothesis. A Scientific Theory is supported
by plenty of convincing evidence and a consensus of agreement by experts worldwide.
It also enables predictions which can be tested to confirm its claims.
THE USE OF SCIENTIFIC METHOD HAS PROVIDED US WITH EVERYTHING WE KNOW
Religions are based on ancient tales. The stories were told around the camp fire
thousands of years ago and only written down many years later. The storytellers embellished
them with ‘miracles’ to keep their audiences interested.
More centuries often passed before the ‘scriptures’ (writings) were edited and compiled
into a book for priests. The editors chose to include the most gripping tales. Since
then they have been translated many times.
The ‘information’ they contain is limited to what was known at the time - the Bible
authors lived in the Iron Age so they knew nothing of fossils (not discovered then)
or of bacteria (they had no microscopes).
Society was very primitive so there are tales of atrocities being committed that
would be crimes today: stoning disobedient children to death, forcing daughters to
marry their rapists, etc.
Unlike Scientists, believers assert that their books are correct and precious. They
have invented ‘crimes’ called ‘heresy’, ‘blasphemy’ and ‘apostasy’ so they can punish
disbelievers to death.