Slaying Dragons #13 – What is Science?

I got to thinking about science, and how much better my life has been because of it; how much better things work. Yet I realise that I am in a minority and that we don’t live in a scientific world.

Am I a scientist? Frankly no; that word doesn’t describe me. My life is not dedicated to the understanding of nature to the exclusion of everything else. A love of literature and music and the beauty therein is not necessary for a scientist, but it is for me. I’m simply too curious about the world to do one thing to the exclusion of everything else. Perhaps I have fallen towards audio because it allows me to combine the aesthetic with the technical. For me music is more beautiful when I further understand the physics of the instruments, the acoustic of the space and the psychoacoustic response of the listener.

To me science is a tool that I never hesitate to employ when it’s appropriate. It’s a very sharp tool that cuts away layers of dogma, prejudice, vested interests, denial and ignorance on its way down to what is actually happening. A secondary consequence after finding the reality is the difficulty of convincing the unscientific on the way back up. That’s harder than the actual search for the truth.

Science is only a word for accepting how nature operates and trying to find patterns in there, because an understanding of nature’s patterns allows predictions to be made. The understanding of nature is tested by making such predictions and seeing if that is what happens. That’s the definition of an experiment. Experiments never succeed or fail. They can only do that if some preconceived idea exists. Experiments have results. Sometimes the results appear to reinforce some hypothesis about how nature works, sometimes the hypothesis is contradicted, but in both cases there is…
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