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How Do I Define and Think About Science?

For this terminology Tuesday we’re talking about science. What is science? What’s the good definition of science? The official definition reads like this “the pursuit and application of knowledge and understanding of the natural and social world following a systematic methodology based on evidence.”

What if we went through and highlighted some keywords in there. I pick out the words “knowledge of the world based on evidence.” So, my definition of science would be “the knowledge of the world based on evidence.”

If you really want to simplify it, “what do you know and how do you know it?”

We learn scientific things through scientific methodology which has several steps to it.

  1. Question
  2. Research
  3. Hypothesis
  4. Test by experiment
  5. Observe
  6. Analyze
  7. Conclude
  8. Present findings

A simple scientific experiment could be dropping something. For example, if I drop a tennis ball, we know it’s going to bounce. If I drop a bean bag, we know it’s going to land on the ground with a thud. If I drop a glass full of wine, we get a completely different result.

All these things are repeatable. If for some reason, I change my location to the moon I’m going to get a different result.

When you hear somebody quoting a research study consider the following questions:

  • How many people were in the study?
  • How many people were not in the study?
  • Were you in the study?
  • Can you perform the study on yourself?

Let’s not go crazy on performing studies on ourselves. Think it through before doing anything crazy and consulting a doctor if it involves something medical.

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