Thursday, June 21, 2012

What is science?

Science is a way of thinking, not a job or a course you hated or loved in school.  It is not a set of rules that tells us what is and is not allowed.  Science is an attempt to understand our world.  Science does not tell you that when you drop an object, it must fall down.  Science asks, "Why, when I drop things, do they so often fall?"  Science formulates possible answers (perhaps everything I drop is a magnet, and the surface of the Earth is metal, like my refrigerator) and then it tests them.  

The most important thing about this process is that it must be honest.  When we test our guesses, we must test them to the fullest of our abilities.  Even if we have already told everyone that we believe in this magnet hypothesis, and now our pride and reputation are at stake, it is our duty to perform every test possible and be honest about their results.  A scientist is required to put his or her wishes aside to discover truth.  

When Galileo did this, he got himself into some trouble.  But looking now, the Catholic church is still a powerful force.  Back then, people thought that if the Earth was not the center of the universe, their very core beliefs would be harmed.  But that was not the case at all.  Instead, we learned some new facts, and learned to interpret our religions and beliefs in a slightly new way- incorporating, rather than rejecting, the facts that we have learned.

No comments:

Post a Comment