Scientific method

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What is Science?Edit

The scientific method is an organized system of social activities that result in the acquisition of new knowledge. These activities start with the natural human exploration of the world and are refined in an attempt generate objective physical evidence. Any particular human observation is subject to errors inherently possible in personal experience. Objectivity is relative, and depends upon the use of data collection instruments that can extend human perceptions and and produce reproducible observations.

Attempts to integrate observations into existing conceptual frameworks leads scientists to propose new assertions about our world in the form of theories, hypotheses, and deductions. Predictions and generalizations from these theories are tested by experiment and further observations. If a prediction or generalization turns out to be correct, the theory survives. Any theory which fails when tested in this way is likely to be abandoned. Sometimes, new data cause scientists to question their existing concepts. When new scientific results cause people to abandon old concepts, it is common to speak of a "scientific revolution". The scientific method is the underlying logic of scientific practice. The scientific method is essentially an extremely cautious means of building a supportable, evidenced understanding of our world. In practical terms, progress in science depends on communication between scientists. Scientists are obligated to share their work in a public forum where all ideas are open to criticism and testing.

Science and TruthEdit

Sometimes science is described as a search for truth. At best, this is a never ending search, because within science we must always accept the idea that we may be wrong. Even our most well-supported hypotheses my be found to be wrong or incomplete depictions of truth. New data and new concepts can overturn ideas that we firmly believe to be the truth. A major limitation on human knowledge, is that everything we know is produced from our mental worlds of imagination and thought. We have no way of confirming that our mental powers are not subject to some kind of trickery that escapes our notice. Some philosophical traditions have taught that perfect knowledge and absolute truth can be attained by human mental faculties, but the scientific method does not rely on our ever attaining absolute certainty. Our knowledge need only be good enough for our practical human needs.

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