piclist 2004\12\06\064128a >
Thread: what is science?
face picon face BY : Wouter van Ooijen email (remove spam text)

> Science has one of two meanings. They tend to be incompatible.
> 1.    Method a la Popper (which I subscribe to).

I strongly subscribe to that meaning!

> Your model will tend to approach reality closely enough for practical
> purposes given enough iterations. "Enough" varies between 1 and

For practicalpurposes indeed. Not for philosophical purposes like
answering questions like 'does an atom exists' (as opposed to being part
of a usefull theory).

> * Falsifiable here means tests or predictions for which your
> model might give either correct or incorrect answers.

IFAIK theologies do not attempt to do this, which sets them apart from
science(s). It this might be the main reason science was allowed to
raise at all (during the late middle ages) when religions ruled the

> Investigate any way you like, form conclusions any way you
> like, call it Science.

Easy to spot: people using this method will use the uppercase :)

> Ask yourself, what method of science are you using :-)

Definitely the Popper version, which often makes other people angry
because they think Science should be able to ... (answer this questions,
give a solution to these problems, have a moral standing on this issue,
etc). Science is just a method. IMHO the best and (in the end)
unfailable one we know *for this particular purpose*.

> My understanding is that Christianity teaches that all questions have
> answers known to God. BUT the answers may not be knowable to
> all or any person.

Scientifically speaking that teaching has no meaning/sense/use: it is
not falsifyable. Whether it is usefull in other contexts I'll leave to
the reader(s).

Wouter van Ooijen

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Van Ooijen Technische Informatica: http://www.voti.nl
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docent Hogeschool van Utrecht: http://www.voti.nl/hvu

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