Talk:Science/Archive 1

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(Several Different Points)

The divorce of science from philosophy is completely unjustified. --Daniel C. Boyer

Because it is a set of theories or a method of inquiry about how the world is, it is fundamentally an aspect of philosophy, and the divorce exists for no other reason than to enable science to get away without ever having to defend the a priori assumptions on which it bases its method. Why are these assumptions beyond challenge? --Daniel C. Boyer
Daniel, I agree with the gist of your reply. My "Because?..." was questioning what I misunderstood to be a comment about the historically divergent paths of these disciplines. Generally, scientists are not adequately familiar with the philosophical presumptions upon which science rests, and they have become dogmatic and overly-confident in these presumptions. For example, how many scientists have studied formal logic, epistemology or acknowledge the problem of induction. Yet they bandy about such words as "logical", "true", "knowledge and "fact" as if they knew what these concepts mean! Not all of the rules of logic have been sorted out and there is still not a sufficiently developed theory of truth or theory of knowledge in philosophy, yet scientists act as if this has already been done. —B 21:14, Nov 4, 2003 (UTC)
Was there ever a parting of philosophy and science? Even very recent philosophers have been influential (for better or for worse). A few names that spring to mind are Wittgenstein, Popper, Victor Kraft, Lacatos, Kuhn and Feyerabend. NielsBohr seems to have been a relativist [1]. Einstein, who wrote philosophical papers of his own, was inspired by ErnstMach. Einstein and Bohr, of course did challenge a priori assumptions about our ability to be objective. --ChrisSteinbach
Chris, in a sense, yes, there was a parting, and this parting is the problem described in different ways by both Daniel and me above. Namely, that in order to do science well, scientists need to have a better background in certain philosophical subjects, but this has become more difficult since science became a discipline separate from philosophy with their own unique subjects of study. Some scientists have made contributions to the philosophy of science, but generally they go on with their research without adequately grasping the philosophical limitations of science. —B 21:14, Nov 4, 2003 (UTC)

The leading assertion of the second paragraph in the current article is false:

"Certain fundamental assumptions are needed for science. The first assumption is that of realism."

Realism as defined in the article or scientific realism is not necessary to science. Science is no less compatible with instrumentalism than it is with realism. Science does not require that unobservable theoretical entities, such as electrons, are "real"; science only requires that unobservables help explain and predict sense-data. Besides the leading sentence, the rest of the paragraph has another sophmoric problem. In particular, equating "facts" and "physical objects and events" with the same ontological status: "facts are real"; "physical objects and events are facts". (Whatever that is supposed to mean...although that terminology may be popular or conventional, it's meaning is far from clear. Hmm, sounds like an analytic philosophy critique.) The third paragraph about consistency fails to even mention or explain science's (or rather scientific theories' or laws') dependence on the much more relevant principal of induction. (Nevermind the problem of induction.) B 17:03 Jan 8, 2003 (UTC)

I removed this: "Some scientists in the hard sciences consider all scientific-like fields of study outside of the hard sciences (including the soft sciences) not to be true science, or even relegate them to the realm of pseudoscience."

The way this is phrased, that's just not true. In fact, this entire article was laced with unfounded anti-science remarks that were just egregiously POV. It started to look like a leftist Derrida-inspired deconstructionist tract to deligitimize science. RK 13:53 7 Jun 2003 (UTC)
I looked at the "anti-realism" paragraphs you removed, maybe it should be put in its own article, like Scientific realism and rewritten as NPOV? (I don't understand much about the philosophy of science, so maybe I'm misled here) -- Rotem Dan 14:00 7 Jun 2003 (UTC)

Ought there not be some sort of criticism of Science

ChrisG 17:39, 4 Nov 2003 (UTC)

I have some trouble with the first paragraph on the main Science page:

"According to the philosophy of science, science (from scientia, Latin for "knowledge") refers to the body of knowledge, which humans have accumulated; as well as to the method of studying this data. Scientific knowledge is said to encompass "the natural universe". Scientists, who study scientific knowledge, practice the scientific method (a process of observation and experimentation)."

'Stripped down', it says:

"Science refers to the body of knowledge which humans have accumulated, as well as to the method of studying this data. Science is said to encompass "the natural universe".

The phrasing leaves room for improvement, but rather than change it directly myself , I thought it more 'in the spirit of Wiki' to merely point out the issues.

Issue (1):

Science, as a term denoting 'a body of knowledge', is not 'the body of knowledge which humans have accumulated", there being knowledge other than science in this all encompassing body.

Issue (2):

Whilst the claim that 'science is said to encompass the natural universe' is perfectly reasonable, it does not address the difficulties raised by issue (1) unless is is modified so that it says:

"science is exclusively concerned with the natural universe"

We can perhaps address both issues by a new phrasing of the definition:

"The term science, when used to denote a body of knowledge, refers to a body of knowledge exclusively concerned with and derived from the study of the natural universe".

This adjustment does not make any attempt to address where the boundaries between natural and metaphysical knowledge might occur and is not intended to do so, it is merely to address some inherent ambiguities in the existing phrasing of the definition.

in addition

I also find the introduction to be a source of tribulation. for instance, it speaks of such things as Identifying what "things" are in a very strange and even outrightly irritating way. possibly more notable are assertions of "causal powers" among others. these terms should possibly be defined, repleced, or even removed. I certainly don't get it. the structure of this introduction is less then helpful I would say. I can't immediately think of a better way to do it, ill likely come back when It is not so late and I am not under the influence of intoxicants. even then, I may not be the guy, well just have to see after my head clears. in any case, the whole artical seems to be in need of revision and clarification. such an important artical as "science" main article should be of considerably greater quality. I have to say, even based on wiki standards, this seems somewhat poor. (ME)


Is it not the case that early 17th century scientists such as Galileo, Descartes and others, in their theory of primary and secondary qualities, demolished naive realism. Naive realism is the belief that, for example, the colour red is an inherent (or primary) property of a body, rather than a secondary quality; i.e. only a sensation produced in the mind of an observer, albeit in some way caused by the object. Leighxucl 04:00, Jan 12, 2004 (UTC)

theories, laws, and hypothesises

As to Lord Kenny's statement that "theories do not turn into laws". That is false ... the article is inaccurate due to his edits. A theory is different from a physical law in that the former is a model of reality whereas the latter is a statement of what has been observed, BUT there is a exceedingly remote chance that the accepted "laws" are wrong (and evidence is needed to regeneralize the the "so-called" laws). This was has occured (eg. Newton vs Einstein).

A hypothesis is a proposed explanation for a phenomenon ... this in turn develops into a "theory" to model the phenomenon ... and, ultimately, evolves into a "Law" (when scientific generalization occur based on empirical observations) ... they are refered to as "laws", but they are, in reality, just theories (that haven't been disproven) ... many scientific theories (such as ones concerning gravity) do turn into laws. Sincerely, JDR

I have to agree with the statement that "theories do not turn into laws." Laws and theories are two separate things, each of which might have been previously verified, and each of which might be disproven. A hypothesis might develop into either a law or a theory. The difference is that laws are simpler correlations of observable data, while theories typically try to build a theoretical framework which may help to explain physical laws or other theories. Newton's law of gravity, for instance, explains nothing. It only gives the observed correlation between the measured values of a gravatational force between two objects, the mass of the two objects, and the distance between thier gravitational centers. Einstein's theories attempted to give a deeper understanding of how gravity worked, from some sort of theoretical basis. millerc 06:27, 17 May 2004 (UTC)

This has been removed from the philosophy section:

Implicit in classical science's devotion to acquiring knowledge about the universe is an assumption that atoms, animals, gravity, stars, wind, microbes, etc. all exist independently of our observations of them. This essentially metaphysical view is termed realism. The opposed view of modern science parallels a metaphysical position, that of idealism which in varying forms denies the existence of matter independent of mind. The two views are metaphysical because although both are consistent with our experience there appears to be no way to get outside of that experience in order to see which (if either) is true.

I don't know why. It explains the difference between realism and idealism, and then points out that both are metaphysical and that science isn't really affected by the "truth" of either one. I don't understand why this should be removed, or why it supposedly conflicts with other paragraphs. I think the first sentence just needs to be rephrased and everyone can be happy with it. - Omegatron 20:14, May 18, 2004 (UTC)

  1. These terms are not subject-specific. They are barely related to science but as a subnote. (realism is not necessary to science).
  2. I am adamant about the process of explaining jargon.

Bensaccount 20:24, 18 May 2004 (UTC)

  1. They are important terms relating to the question "What is science?" and the relationship between science, philosophy, metaphysics, empiricism, perception, etc. Philosophy is hardly a footnote to science. They both descended from the same thing, and are still intertwined, even if the applied sciences and technologies no longer refer to any philosophical concepts directly. Neither idealism or realism are necessary for science, but they ARE necessary to include while discussing the nature of science...
  2. Then why are you removing the explanation?
- Omegatron 20:40, May 18, 2004 (UTC)
  1. They do not answer what is science. Science is merely a process, and the results of that process.
  2. By the process of explaining jargon I meant by using hyperlinks.

Bensaccount 20:43, 18 May 2004 (UTC)

  1. A process of what? Making observations? Observations of what? This is not an article on the scientific method, but an article on the nature of science itself.
  2. I don't understand what you mean. Did I remove some wikilinks by accident?
- Omegatron 20:49, May 18, 2004 (UTC)
  1. Science is both a process of gaining knowledge, and the knowledge gained by this process. (Science).
  2. I mean just hyperlink realism instead of explaining it on this page.

Bensaccount 20:52, 18 May 2004 (UTC)

PS. I think that the philosophy here may fit better on the nature article, which is harder to define. (What is nature?)

Nature is the natural world, especially in its essential form, untainted by human influence. This definition makes the assumption that atoms, animals, gravity, stars, wind, microbes, etc. all exist independently of our observations of them. This essentially metaphysical view is termed realism. The opposed view of realism is the metaphysical position, idealism which in varying forms denies the existence of matter independent of mind. The two views are metaphysical because although both are consistent with our experience there appears to be no way to get outside of that experience in order to see which (if either) is true.

Bensaccount 23:12, 18 May 2004 (UTC)

Philosophy of science

Why have two sections addressing philosophical issues? Philosophical foundations of the scientific method, rather curiously, did not discuss the philosophical foundations of the scientific method. Philosophy was a rather idiosyncratic chat about Kant – not exactly a renowned philosopher of science. Rather than attempt a halting account in this article, why not link to the main philosophy of science articles? Banno 11:30, Jun 8, 2004 (UTC)

Theories of various quality

I rather object to this sentence: "Thus, when scientists refer to the theories of biological evolution, electromagnetism, and relativity, they are referring to ideas that have survived considerable experimental testing." While there no doubt is a great deal of circumstantial evidence supporting the theory of evolution, it does not exactly lend itself to experimental testing. So you might observe that certain bacteria adapt to their environment, or might even create new types of vegetable by cross-breeding, but has anyone ever observed the development of a completely new species, let alone created a new species using the mechanisms that allegedly drive evolution? I think not.

Note that I am not criticizing the theory of evolution itself. I would merely argue that, as a theory, it is far weaker than the theory of relativity, for example. In my opinion, it should rather be compared to something like continental drift.

I believe there are several examples of completely new species. I'm no expert. Try looking here: Observed Instances of Speciation - Omegatron 13:31, Jun 17, 2004 (UTC)

Locations of science

The "locations of science" section seems to imply that academia is the standard by which all science is "truly" done, and that researchers in private institutions only occasionally brush with scientific exactitude. But since the mid 20th century the line between academic and industrial science has become so blurred (UC Berkeley's entire Int. Bio. dept is paid for by Monsanto, if I recall), and the rise of private financing of basic research (Genentech comes to mind) makes its current formulation overly idealistic and quite a bit naive, I think. Am I the only one who thinks this? --Fastfission 01:13, 10 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Or you can do science in your bedroom by yourself. Or to determine which route is the fastest way to get to work. I don't know why it has this concept of science in a place... - Omegatron 05:07, Jul 10, 2004 (UTC)
I agree. I tried to address the acedemia POV in that section by pointing out other locations where science is practiced. Although some of them come close to the ill-defined border between science and technology, so I expect further improvements by other contributors. --Rick Sidwell 23:43, 10 Apr 2005 (UTC)

The classification list

I have rearranged this list, and removed the following section, as by its own admission it does not belong in the list.

Computer and information sciences
Officially subset of mathematics, computer science is listed here to aid the reader.

Smyth 22:27, 2 Nov 2004 (UTC)

I am sorry Smyth, but you are removing this list upon the false premise that computer science is a subset of mathematics, moreover I am surprised to see this false premise accepted by an undergraduate CS student. What is a subset of mathematics is called theoretical computer science and it only comprises a small area of study of computer science - go read the article if they haven't taught you that in your introductory CS course. I am therefore putting computer and information sciences back, except for Information Technology and Cognitive Systems, which I am not inclined to regard as sciences - but if someone disagrees, feel free to discuss it here.
Regards, - 6 Mar 2005
I do indeed think that most of "computer science" is either mathematics or engineering, a belief that is supported by Computer_science#Major_fields_of_importance_for_computer_science. Most computer science work consists of constructing mathematical models of computing and studying their application to the real world, not attempting to descibe any aspect of the real world by means of theories. Obviously there are certain areas of computing where the scientific method is used, particularly in studying the way in which humans and technology interact. So I'm fairly happy with the selection of fields you kept. – Smyth\talk 10:38, 7 Mar 2005 (UTC)
I don't see that your view is supported by the list you cited, e.g. how do you fit operating systems, compilers, artificial intelligence, databases, networking, computer graphics, human-computer interaction into mathematics or engineering? The view that all sciences, and only sciences, need to try to explain the real world is not valid IMO - e.g. there are Economics, Political science, Health science listed here - they all pursue some practical knowledge rather than explaining the real world. On the other hand, metaphysics clearly tries to explain the real world (though not using the scientific method), yet it is not a science. Economics or political science could be regarded as applied sciences, but they do not have fundamental counterparts. Health science and computer science do have fundamental counterparts, but they have outgrown as disciplines in their own right and developed their own methods. So the line isn't that sharp as it may seem at first sight. I tend to regard mathematics as a science as well (considering mathematical proofs as equivalent to experiments), though this view is not widely accepted. As for use of the scientific method in computer science, it has already been discussed - computer science does use the scientific method. A computer scientist: 1) Develops a hypothesis about a particular way of organizing systems, or solving a given computational problem; 2) Devises an experiment (typically involving the construction of a computational artifact) that tests this hypothesis; and 3) Evaluates the results by comparing its behavior with that of other, previously known computational artifacts (controls). The fact that the phenomena that the computer scientist studies are usually human constructions, or that much of the analysis can be done using mathematical instruments rather than physical ones, does not make this less scientific.
Regards,, formerly known as - 7 Mar 2005 (GMT)
Structural sciences
What about mathematics? It is (among German academics) classified as a structural science, such as the disciplines listed above (computer science etc).

In the list of scientific disciplines, Psychology is a difficult one. Although much of it belongs under 'social science', where it resides at the moment, is there not a large degree of the subject which also resides under 'natural sciences' (e.g. neuroscience)? Are there any other examples of sciences which may fit more than one classification?

psychology is actually a 'behaviorial science' like 'economics' and 'communication science'


I removed the following text:

Science is also the scientific knowledge that has been systematically acquired by this scientific process.

From the end of the first paragraph because I felt that it was repitition of the first sentence of the paragraph - feel free to disagree and revert. - Estel (talk) 21:01, Feb 16, 2005 (UTC)


I revised the definition of theory. The idea of a theory is that it is a framework, a set of ideas. To be a scientific theory, it is hopefully capable of making predictions. This is in contrast to, facts or observations, such as "the rock is black", which cannot be used to make predictions. A theory might be: "rocks of volcanic origin are black." Plenty of theories have been falsified, while plenty of others have received overwhelming support. To a scientist a theory doesn't stop being a theory simply because it is in conflict with observations, it simply becomes a wrong theory.

Also, (like one of the authors above) I don't agree with calling it an "experimental verification" of evolution. Evolution has been verified mainly by countless observations, and the mechanism (DNA) has studied, experimentally, in the lab. But evolutionary history is not an experiment. Likewise, astrophysicists make observations, not experiments. --Joke137 01:07, 12 Mar 2005 (UTC)

I have rewritten this section somewhat; it was starting to become repetitive. – Smyth\talk 15:26, 12 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Applied Sciences

This very diverse field is either torn apart in the more natural disciplines or jumbled together in "engineering", which seems to be a subdiscipline of physics. Huh? Likewise, agricultural sciences is not biology, it is applied biology. Also, I always tended to make the sciences distinction like this:

  • humane sciences (history and language)
  • social sciences (psychology, social and politic sciences, and economics)
  • exact sciences (science in a strict sense)
    • natural sciences
    • applied sciences (including computer science)

Phlebas 10:34, 15 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Environmental sciences

I have added this as a seperate heading since it is a crossover between natural sciences and social sciences. Alan Liefting 22:13, 18 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Humanities and Mathematics?

The humanities (as opposed to the social sciences) are not sciences, even loosely defined, as they do not use the scientific method. They are identical to the arts (as opposed to the fine arts), as best I know. Neither is mathematics a science, because it has its origin in axioms rather than experiment or observation of the world. It happens to one of the best tools we have for doing science, but that's a different issue. --Joke137 17:31, 20 Mar 2005 (UTC)


{{portal}} There are two Wikiportals, Mathematics and Physics which, by their existence show up the lack of one for Science. Ancheta Wis 00:01, 8 May 2005 (UTC)

Role of the Observer

Removed from "Goals of Science" (paragraph 2):

The developments of quantum mechanics in the early 20th century showed that observations are not independent of interactions, and the implications of wave-particle duality have challenged the traditional notion of "objectivity" in science.
How nature really "is" does not depend on our ability to observe it, with or without our observations affecting it.

Bohr's principle of complementarity suggests that there may be some relationship between "observer" (whatever that is!) and observed, but the idea's been contested ever since and, recently, dealt a blow by the Afshar experiment. I'm not against mentioning this controversy somewhere in the article, but simply stating that observation's been "shown" to affect results is misleading, and the idea's importance is overstated here. --Echeneida

Formal science

Formal science is not a very widely used term, but it is gathering momentum due to the effort made by Benedict Loewe in pushing it; roughly speaking it is those sciences that study sorts of formal entities. Mathematics and logic are its most characteristic inhabitants, computer science and linguistics are counted members by the Foudantions of the Formal Sciences conference series.

I think the term is relevant to the Science article, but I am hesitant where to go about introducing it, because it rather cuts across the way the scientific method is invoked in the article. Any thoughts? --- Charles Stewart 18:58, 8 Jun 2005 (UTC)

You might add a paragraph under its own heading. That way it won't interfere with the rest of the article.--MarSch 10:29, 9 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Physical Science

It seems that this article fails to address Physical Science? Steven McCrary 05:07, July 30, 2005 (UTC)

In what sense? Defining it? David D. 05:28, 30 July 2005 (UTC)
Referring to it, i.e. to the link: physical science. Steven McCrary 07:20, July 30, 2005 (UTC)
Sounds good. Maybe there can be a prargraph explaining the typical hierarchy in the natural sciences. David D. 14:32, 30 July 2005 (UTC)

Roy Bhaskar?

This guy and his theories are not nearly important enough to fit the scope of this article. I'm taking it out. KSchutte 16:41, 2 September 2005 (UTC)

I agree. Karol 17:37, September 2, 2005 (UTC)

Testing evolution

The article claims:

relativity, electromagnetism and biological evolution have survived rigorous empirical testing without being contradicted

Could someone please show me exactly where in Wikipedia I can find out how biological evolution has undergone "rigorous empirical testing?" I'm particularly interested in how one can design and perform a test (in the here and now) of something which may have happened 2 million or 400 million years ago. Uncle Ed 14:49, 5 October 2005 (UTC)

The theory predicts nested hierarchies. ALL molecular genetic data points to nested hierarchies. If one can prove that nested hierarchies are the exception the theory of evolution will have to be modified. As yet, no one has shown that the predicted nest hierarchies do not exist. Why do you have a problem with that type of analysis? So far the theory of evolution is consistent with the ALL the available data. David D. (Talk) 15:28, 5 October 2005 (UTC)
Try reading some scientific magazines, notably ones where we have observed speciation due to environmental stimuli, exactly as predicted.

Perhaps I have not made myself clear. I always use the word predict in terms of a future event. I also think of testing in terms of "I do X to it, and observe that Y happens".

To me there's a difference between the following two formulations:

  1. biological evolution has survived rigorous empirical testing without being contradicted; and,
  2. the theory of evolution is consistent with the ALL the available data.

Is it the same for you, or do you see a difference here? Uncle Ed 18:09, 5 October 2005 (UTC)

Your misunderstanding what it means to predict here. One predicts what one will observe. The observation may be an event in the past, but that prediction regardless has been confirmed. Prediction in this case is not referring to the temporal status of the event, but rather, the observation of the event. Furthermore, to view the wide range of confirmation of biological evolution, please look here: or or or or or, in fact, why not just look at, the site entire?
Furthermore, experimentation has been undergone in evolution. Perhaps you have never heard of the Fruit Fly literature. Or experiments in mutation. Or, one of my favorites, Marcelo Nobrega's experiment regarding the functionality of non-coding DNA: 21:09, 18 October 2006 (UTC)

With regard to predict there is an element of the future in there. In the future the predicition may turn out to be false. As yet the data to falsify the theory has not been found. That does not mean it cannot be found. However, until the falsification is found why would you doubt the theory? Sorry but I'm not sure what you are asking with rtegard to the two statements above? David D. (Talk) 21:15, 5 October 2005 (UTC)

I assume his point is that biological evolution is not tested by means of constructing experimental scenarios in which evolution predicts a certain (future) outcome. However, that does not disqualify it from being an empirically-tested theory, as every theory implicitly predicts that no data will ever be found that is inconsistent with it. If evolution is not empirically tested because its most interesting aspects happened in the past, then the Big Bang theory is in exactly the same position. – Smyth\talk 14:25, 13 November 2005 (UTC)

See microevolution --Oldak Quill 01:27, 7 December 2005 (UTC)
Theories make predictions about what data will be found in the future. The data may be data about the present or the past. E.g. I may predict that when I carbon date a fossil in a particular rock stratum it will be so many million years old. If the observation is consistent with the prediction, then my hypothesis that led to it is corroborated. Empirical testing does not mean that we have to predict future outcomes in some strong sense, such as predicting that a particular kind of lizard will evolve in a hundred million years' time. Evolution has been empirically tested in that it is not just consistent with all the data that existed at the time it was first hypothesised; it is consistent with many, many observations that have been made since. It is an extremely thoroughly and rigorously corroborated theory. Metamagician3000 13:47, 12 March 2006 (UTC)


The article is very confusing. It says "Empiricist philosopher, Karl Popper", yet Popper is not even mentioned at Empiricism and Karl Popper#Popper's philosophy claims the opposite: "Popper coined the term critical rationalism to describe his philosophy. This designation is significant, and indicates his rejection of classical empiricism." Interesting to note also that the article does not mention at all said critical rationalism which as far as I understood provides just the definition of science that has widely become accepted nowadays. --Rtc 19:22, 13 October 2005 (UTC)

I think it is not useful for the wikipedia Science article to say that Popper is an "empiricist philosopher". It would be more constructive to just label him as a philosopher of science, as is done at Karl Popper. More radical corrective surgery would be to move out of the Science article all of the analysis of science in terms of philosophical theory (it belongs in Philosophy of science). --JWSchmidt 19:44, 13 October 2005 (UTC)
Just deleting those two words doesn't seem to hurt much - or adding PoS instead. BTW I don't see why critical rationalism is exactly the oposite of empirisism, although former was used to reject the latter. Almost all religions reject each other but that doesn't mean that every religion is the opposite of all others. Greenleaf 10:16, 15 October 2005 (UTC)

The Truth

The article starts out by saying that science is the search for the truth. But surely this is the biggest misnomer about science that there is. The "truth" of Newton was only truth until Einstein came along. The entire reason scientific theories are called theories is that they cannot be proven, only disproven. Mattopia 19:27, 23 October 2005 (UTC)

Do you therefore think that Newton's laws are false? Karol 06:40, 25 October 2005 (UTC)
They are false and often a very good approximation of the truth. --MarSch 10:31, 25 October 2005 (UTC)
Is not what you just wrote here a contradiction? :-) Karol 12:19, 25 October 2005 (UTC)
You said yourself that "science is the search for the truth". The ideas that Newton put forward were a very good approximation to the truth and Einstein's ideas are an even better approximation. Progress is being made towards better models of "the truth" or in other words our external (and internal) environment, is this not a good description of the search for the truth?
Samuel Mindel 16:09, 30 October 2005 (GMT)
Here here. Science indeed seeks the truth. The mere fact that it has changed over time is evidence that we are, in fact, actively searching rather than resting on our laurels. T'is the duty of every scientist to test boundaries. Jachra 05:12, 19 December 2006 (UTC)

Science only deals with consistant systems. Therefore it produces formal systems and questions their validity with the real word, seeking paradoxes more than truth. If one system appears to avoid paradoxes, we just can expect it to be rationnal. Not true, litteraly speaking. --Kubrick 908 18:17, 28 November 2005 (UTC)

You have defined mathematics, not science. Metamagician3000 13:54, 12 March 2006 (UTC)

An issue I have with this is that it talks about science as if it were some monolithic truth-seeking body. Newton->Einstein is a good example of this, as it shows 'science' becoming more precise. But what about the scientists who sacrificed their careers for speaking up about CFCs or DDT? This characterizes the supposedly truth-revealing peer review system as a sometimes dogmatic institution. The truth about science is that it is done by groups of scientists in laboratories (themselves isolated from the greater world) and that those laboratories are funded by *someone* who probably has an interest in seeing the work done. Another issue is that science relies on quantifiable, observable data. There are limits both to quantifiability and observability, especially with regards to self, emotion and spirit. The downfall of writing about science is the same that permeates science itself: by claiming and defining "truth" you necessarily limit what you can discover. --Mike

It has been my experience that those that use "truth" in the context of science actually mean "real". However the problem with presenting it as "truth" presumes what it is trying to discover. Science is a human enterprise to honestly explore, discover and explain reality and it doesn't need to make that presumption. And there is no way at this time that I am aware of where we can know that we have somehow seen it all. To call our explanations of what we have discovered the "truth" of reality is to presume more than we have assumed. The word "truth" also carries too much baggage with it from philosophy and religion and science can go along very nicely without it. Also "truth" claims are not something that scientists make in general if much at all in published scientific papers. They are usually far too tentative to do such a thing. Gkochanowsky 04:45, 16 March 2007 (UTC)

conservative wiki

It appears that people involved in wikipedia are very conservative; although it is said that anyone can edit or make useful additions, but my experience is that some people just do not tolerate any changes whatsoever, they act dictatorialy, and keep on reverting changing and their only response is "put your ideas somewhere else not on wikipedia. I stongly feel, it against the awoed policy of wikipedia, people should not be so possesive and intolerant, let others also express their opinion before changes are rejected. 11:12, 27 November 2005 (UTC)

Useful additions. This from the person who created List of cocepts [sic] in science. If you have contructive edits to make, please do. But don't expect the community to fix your spelling mistakes, and your haphazzard inclusions. Yes, 'concepts' are part of science. What's your point? Should we include a disconnected sentence into the article, or should we find a better stop to make that point, if it needs to be made at all? -- Ec5618 11:39, 27 November 2005 (UTC)
As for this edit of yours, heat is not a form of energy. It is the transfer of energy. Why did you change correct wording into something false? -- Ec5618 11:41, 27 November 2005 (UTC)
Similar situation with the definition of molecule as well as a few other paragraphs from that article. While not interested in discouraging contributions from new users, I sometimes wish there was some sort of initiation or training required before one such user were allowed to contribute to an existing article --just reviewing some of the last major edits should well enough help the novice understand how things work and at what level the contributions go.--Unconcerned 22:30, 13 December 2005 (UTC)


would you like to publish this article? -- Zondor 22:15, 27 November 2005 (UTC) YES The Procrastinator 12:33, 8 January 2006 (UTC

Is Paleontology a Science?

--Kubrick 908 18:11, 28 November 2005 (UTC)

Of course paleontology is a science. It's slightly controversial, though, whether archaeology is one.--Pharos 05:46, 29 November 2005 (UTC)

Both are dealing with History. I am a little bit confused with the fact that History, because it uses advanced scientifical technics more and more, could be a Science too. I don't see the link. When you study the evolution of life on earth, that is Science. When you focuse on the humans, it is not. That seems paradoxal to me.--Kubrick 908 09:24, 29 November 2005 (UTC)

  • Actually, this is a big debate in anthropology, and the idea that it is properly a science has been particularly popular in the U.S. with what's called processual archaeology.--Pharos 09:31, 29 November 2005 (UTC)

Following that logic, many would argue that History itself is Scientifical... which is not the case. ;) --Kubrick 908 15:10, 29 November 2005 (UTC)

Well, at various times historians, archaeologists, sociologists and economists have all claimed that what they do is science, or at least uses scientific methodology. –Joke 03:52, 7 December 2005 (UTC)

In principle there is no reason why history could not be a science. But it has to rely on humanistic methods for much of its analysis for a whole range of reasons. E.g. it often attempts to draw very specific inferences about what was in individual people's minds, or about the significance of quite specific events, but getting data on that which can be rigorously evaluated is very hard to do. By contrast, paleontologists don't care about what specific plans some specific dinosaur had 100 million years ago. They may conjecture about this from time to time, for fun, or because it is of some relevance to a scientific point, but it's just not at the heart of the sciences in the way it is at the heart of humanistic disciplines like history or literary criticism where we are trying for a different kind of understanding of people and their actions and works. Often historians fall back on methods of humanistic interpretation based on their implicit understandings of what people are like, etc., etc. In principle, however, the truths of history must be consistent with those of all other disciplines. We may not be sure exactly why Charlemagne decided to be crowned Holy Roman Emperor, or why the pope crowned him, or whatever, but we can be sure they did not violate any laws of physics at the time, or think in some way that was inconsistent with human biology. Metamagician3000 14:05, 12 March 2006 (UTC)

History is not repeatable. Nor is it directly observable. "Social Science" (and I have a B.S. in a SS discipline) is a misnomer. I question the ability of humans to objectively observe themselves, AND our ability to simplify social systems to a point where they are both meaningful and quantifiable.

History is not repeatable, like a solar eclipse. You could find similar solar eclipse and similar historical events, but never the same. In despite of this, physics study eclipses in a formal way (forces, relations, corpses, mater, etc) and it is scientific; history, in a similar way, study historical events (forces, relations, agents, etc) and should be judged as science only by the methods it uses to analyse or study this events. If it uses the scientific method, it is science or "social science". —Preceding unsigned comment added by GaMMaGwiki (talkcontribs) 18:00, 7 January 2008 (UTC)

Literature of science

I have tried to introduce this topic n this page. I plan to improve it in coming days. Any comments and editing is welcome.Charlie 07:55, 16 December 2005 (UTC)

I spruced it up a bit. Karol 22:17, 16 December 2005 (UTC)

Economics of Science

I have tried to make the content of this pge a bit interdisciplinary. Any comments? Charlie 08:54, 17 December 2005 (UTC)

Soil Science

I have added soil science. I have posted my views on the hierarchical placement of soil science on my user talk page. I have further stated them on my blog Paleorthid 18:34, 22 December 2005 (UTC)

Section "The Scientific Method"

This section mentions nothing about computation. Consider:

"Now I am going to discuss how we would look for a new law. In general we look for a new law by the following process. First we guess it. Then we compute the consequences of the guess to see what would be implied if this law that we guessed is right. Then we compare the result of the computation to nature, with experiment or experience, compare it directly with observation, to see if it works. If it disagrees with experiment it is wrong. In that simple statement is the key to science."

- The Character of Physical Law, Richard Feynman, page 156

It doesn't have to be a computation in the sense of any complex calculations being involved (though it almost always would require these in modern physics, which is Feynman's field). All it takes is some kind of logical prediction from the hypothesis. An experiment or observation is then conducted to test the hypothesis. If I discover a new kind of dinosaur skeleton that is missing the jaw, I might conjecture/hypothesise that it was a plant-eater. From that, I might predict that if the next such skeleton has a fossilised jaw then the teeth will be a certain shape. That is my hypothesis, and I might well get a chance to test it. Feynman's discussion is too specific to physics, and to modern physics at that. In the past a lot of progress could be made even in physics without doing anything that could readily be described as computation. Actually, even what I have just described is a narrow Popperian account of how science is done. Popper may have had a lot going for him, but science can't be straightjacketed entirely into his conjecture/refutation model. Scientific arguments often take other forms. Metamagician3000 13:36, 12 March 2006 (UTC)
I agree. The method of making predictions does not have to be mathematical. Explanations with superior predictive power are preferred. That is of course until a better one comes along. However if counting or measuring is involved in the predictions then some kind of mathematical operation will most likely be involved. If only because as Feynman also said, "Mathematics makes counting easier." Gkochanowsky 14:01, 7 November 2007 (UTC)

Scrapping scientific method section

I am cutting out the content added to the scientific method section. A separate article exists so that this section doesn't grow too big. I guess someone could scrap some material from this onto that page, if useful, although I notice some of the content overlaps and is contradictory... Karol 09:08, 1 January 2006 (UTC)

 1. '''Observation:'''  The scientific method starts with [[observation]]s and descriptions of a phenomenon or group of phenomena.  The scientist then raises a question about the observations. The question raised must have a concrete answer that can be obtained by performing an experiment.
 2. '''Hypothesis:'''  A [[hypothesis]] is an educated guess.  It forms a feasible explanation for the phenomena.  It will make a prediction as to the expected results if the hypothesis and other underlying assumptions and principles are true and an experiment is done to test that hypothesis.  The hypothesis will many times describe a causal mechanism or a mathematical relation.
 3. '''Testing:'''  [[Experiment]]s that are repeatable and confirmable will be developed to support the hypothesis.  If results from the experiments disprove the hypothesis, then the hypothesis is ruled out.  At times, the failure of an experiment may not disprove a hypothesis, but will itself have defects that need to be resolved.  If the hypothesis holds up under an experiment, then the experiment becomes evidence that supports the hypothesis, but is not proof that the hypothesis is true.
 4. '''Peer Review:'''  Experimental tests of the predictions by several independent experimenters and properly performed experiments will either support or discredit the hypothesis.
 5. '''Conclusion:'''  Based on the experiments conducted, a conclusion will be reached regarding the reliability and ramifications of the hypothesis.  If sufficient experimental evidence supports a hypothesis to become generally accepted in the scientific community, then it either becomes a [[theory]] or modifies an existing theory.
 A [[theory]] is a generalization based on many observations and experiments; a well-tested, verified hypothesis that fits existing data and explains how processes or events are thought to occur. It is a basis for predicting future events or discoveries. Theories may be modified as new information is gained.  This is in contrast to the common usage of the word that refers to ideas that have no firm proof or support.
 To say "the apple fell" is to state a fact, whereas [[gravity|Newton's theory of universal gravitation]] is a body of ideas that explain ''why'' the apple fell. Thus a multitude of falling objects are reduced to a few [[concept]]s or [[abstraction]]s  interacting according to a small set of laws, allowing a scientist to make predictions about the behaviour of falling objects in general.
 An especially fruitful theory that has withstood the test of time and has an overwhelming quantity of evidence supporting it is considered to be "proven" in the scientific sense. Some universally accepted models such as [[heliocentric theory]], [[evolution|biological evolution]], and [[atomic theory]] are so well-established that it is nearly impossible to imagine them ever being falsified. Others, such as [[relativity]] and [[electromagnetism]] have survived rigorous empirical testing without being contradicted, but it is nevertheless conceivable that they will some day be supplanted. Younger theories such as [[string theory]] may provide promising ideas, but have yet to receive the same level of scrutiny.


I just reverted an edit that made one sentence read:

Mathematical branches most often used in science include algebra, geometry, and trigonometry, interestingly, invented by astrologers.

I'm not sure what exactly this sentence claims astrologers invented, but none of the linked articles support that assertion. Many of the early roots of science go indeed back to philosophers (e.g. Thales, Pythagoras, Aristotle) and polymaths (e.g. Isaac Newton, Gottfried Leibniz) who dabbled in several fields at the same time. You could say (without lying) that the laws of gravity were discovered by an alchemist. At least when looking at ancient Greece, philosophers can claim many of these guys their own – except pretty much everything was philosophy then. That said, if there is some solid evidence that whoever laid the foundations for a scientific field like trigonometry did it just to make better horoscopes, that deserves being pointed out in an encyclopedia, and it wouldn't be surprising at all. Some of humankind's most brilliant minds have conducted science of dubious merits at times, some because they were a tad crazy, some because it was much harder to recognize crackpot science without the benefit of hindsight. So basically what I'm saying is: Write sentences that are not ambiguous. And source your claims. Well, duh. Algae 13:37, 7 January 2006 (UTC)

Astrology is an ancient science and pre-dates even ancient Greece. It was not "dabbled" with by people - but poop practiced as a full science and gave birth to many modern sciences of today. There exists copious materials of information on astrology which is easily available to you without anyone - including me - having to prove anything regarding astrology - to you. It is also common knowledge that algebra, geometry, and trigonometry were inventions of astrologers - despite saying that brilliant minds conducted science of "dubious" merits - which, translated, means that conventional thinkers would dub astrology as so - or meaning they might have been "a tad crazy." The sentence is not ambiguous. Astrology is not a crackpot science as you state, and I would suggest you refrain from tagging it so without serious study of the science on your part. Moreover, Wikipedia is an encyclopedic resource, and those editing articles should easily be able to find information that does not fit into preconceived notions of such serious subjects as astrology. Suggest you use Wikipedia itself to find the facts that algebra, geometry, and trigonometry were inventions of astrologers calculating the motions of planets, and stars relative to the Earth. Would sugest you refrain from pre-positioning your mind toward a set, negative view of "astrology" that then calls into question a sentence which reflects historical fact - not opinion. The above statement of yours is a point of view that is personal and does not reflect the history of science; especially regarding astrology. Sources will be added though; although I would suggest that you find the proof yourself using the Internet since there is copious information out there on the invention of mathematics by astrologers. It is no surprise to those who have spent any time reading the materials available for many centuries. Would also suggest that you refrain from terming "astrology" as one monolethic subject; i.e., associating the word with "crackpot science of dubious merits." You must be confusing true, scientific astrology with "sun-sign astrology_ - which has nothing to do with the actual science of astrology - an ancient science over thousands of years and still practiced today - using the mathematics and the emperical method.Theo 02:31, 8 January 2006 (UTC)

Theo, you seem to have taken personal offence to Algae's concerns that there is no source for this information. If this knowledge is so common, as you insist, it should not be hard for you to bring up one or two sources from good places on the internet. In 24-hours, I will revert otherwise. --huwr 02:57, 8 January 2006 (UTC)
I realize what I wrote suggests that I don't think highly of astrology. However, nowhere did I say astrology is a crackpot science, and what I wrote is true either way. Some of humankind's greatest minds have conducted science of dubious merits: some tried to turn lead into gold, to name just one such endeavor. – Also, it puzzles me how you can claim that something is "common knowledge" if so many of us don't know about it. It may be common knowledge in your field, it apparently is not elsewhere. – And finally, it is you who keeps adding references to astrology everywhere as if it was a monolithic subject that needs neither qualification nor explanation. Algae 11:30, 8 January 2006 (UTC)

Would ask you not to assume what I take personally and what I do not take personally. Ask first. I do not take that personally. What does bother me is that some who have issues with "astrology" often have no idea what they are talking about - and that does bug me since this science has been around for thousands of years. It is not a new science, and nearly every culture, and nation on the planet has practiced it. A good search engine will provide anyone with enough materials to study or research the subject before making statements on astrology that associate it with "crackpots" and being "dubious." This is the 21st century, and the tools available for a serious review of the subject can be done from the comfort of one's own home using the Internet. If one has a problem finding good materials; then ask - but first, take a look yourself before setting in stone one's personal opinion that astrology is a crackpot subject. I'm busy enough as it is not to have to handmaid those who can easily find their way to Wikipedia, but seem to have a problem using the Internet to conduct a serious study using a common search engine. If you must revert, then do so without a POV that is personal, but reflects historical fact. If you decide to revert based on your personal views, then it will be written on more extensively in the article then has already been done. I am quite able to provide much more written material in the article. Thanks. Theo 03:11, 8 January 2006 (UTC)

You say "I am quite able to provide much more written material in the article." This may be true but can you verify it? You aslo say "I'm busy enough as it is not to have to handmaid those who can easily find their way to Wikipedia, but seem to have a problem using the Internet to conduct a serious study using a common search engine.". I'm afraid if you make the assertion then the onus is on you to cite a reliable source. David D. (Talk) 03:16, 8 January 2006 (UTC)

Again, re-read my post on this Talk Page. If one is honest, and will not attempt to rewrite history on the facts surrounding astrology as a science - then it is a simple matter for one to read the materials on astrological history as a science and to utilize the Internet's search engines, libraries, etc. Using "sourcing" as an excuse to avoid doing your own work is not positive. However, if you do want me to source, then I will after adding more information into the article. As it stands, it is only a sentence; but if sources are required then I will write an entire paragraph or two.Theo 04:20, 8 January 2006 (UTC)

User:Theodore7, this is the 21st century, and the tools are available for you to cite sources to back up your claims. We're all busy enough as it is. --huwr 04:22, 8 January 2006 (UTC)
I have no problem with well sourced facts. But remember there is a lot of crap on the internet too so don't use personal web pages as primary source . That will NOT be good enough. David D. (Talk) 05:05, 8 January 2006 (UTC)

User:Theodore7, you have cited a source, but that source is Wikipedia itself - the Astrology article. That does not count, particularly as you are one of the major `contributors' to that article. Please find something more appropriate. --huwr 05:11, 8 January 2006 (UTC)


This content doesn't belong in this article. This article is on science and its history, not the history of mathematics. Find a more appropriate place for it. While astrology probably used mathematics (or even invented some aspects of it), this article is on science, not mathematics. It is useless clutter. — 0918BRIAN • 2006-01-8 05:18

I don't find it nice, nor respectable to call my two paragraphs "useless clutter." I suggest you take another read and learn that science without mathematics is useless. You seem to be stuck on the preconceived notion that astrology is not a science. I challenge this view and can supply plenty of evidence to the contrary. I suggest that if you want to discuss this that you do so without your personal POV - since history will show another story and is sourced by many authors of the centuries - both ancient and contemporary. Astrologers did not invent some "aspect of it" - this is your personal conjecture and not fact. Let's stick with the facts since Wikipedia is an encyclopedia. You definition of "science" is not written in stone and I suggest you work with others rather than making statements like the above about "useless clutter." Who are you to determine what I wrote as clutter? Try some good manners please.Theo 05:44, 8 January 2006 (UTC)

Brian makes a good point here, a seperate article may well be the place for this material: Excerpt of cut material below:
Mathematical branches most often used in science include algebra, geometry, and trigonometry, invented by astrologers to calculate the positions of the planets and stars relative to the earth. Some of the earliest known uses of mathematics were in ancient China and India, where astrologers used a form of arithmatic called algebra, which was used as a kind of mathematical shorthand for complex astronomical calculations. According to Carl B. Boyer, the author of "History of Mathematics" it was the Arab astrologer, Mohammed ibn-Musa al-Khwarizmi, who wrote half a dozen books on astrological mathematical works derived from the Hindus of India. One of these books, titled, "De Numero Indorum" (Concerning the Hindu Art of Reckoning) was based on the Hindu counting system using the digits zero, 1,2,3 to the number 9 along with a decimal place value. The later Latin translations of Al-Khwarizmi's books, and mathematical notations came to be known as Algorismi and the Hindu scheme of numeration was later called Algorithm - also derived from the name of the Arab astrologer.
I don't think this paragraph relies on a wikipedia source it seems like Boyer's book is the primary source for the information. That sounds legitimate. Theo do you have the primary sources that Boyer cites in his book too? I assume he has footnotes or such. David D. (Talk) 05:25, 8 January 2006 (UTC)
Oh, dear. I beg your pardon, I missed that. Brian's point remains, however. This probably belongs in a separate article. --huwr 05:31, 8 January 2006 (UTC)

It probably goes in History of mathematics, if it is accurate. — 0918BRIAN • 2006-01-8 05:40

I disagree. It is two paragraphs, and continues the train of thought in the article section. I suggest that if you desire sources that you first allow it to be read and talked about before passing instant judgement as you are doing. I also suggest that you learn the truth about the invention of mathematics by astrologers. It is a fact - and not subject to your personal point of view. History says otherwise. And - this history is sourced.Theo 05:47, 8 January 2006 (UTC)

  • You go from "science uses mathematics" in one sentence, to "the branches used in science are" in the next sentence, to "this branch was invented by astrology" in the next sentence, to "here is a book about the history of astrology and mathematics" in the next couple sentences, to "this astrologer invented this bit of mathematics, and another astrologer invented another bit." This is not a "continuation of a train of thought" for a section on the use of mathematics in scientific models. It clearly belongs in History of mathematics. — 0918BRIAN • 2006-01-8 05:54

Suggest you cease with the reverts, and then perhaps the edits can take place to tighten the paragraphs. Your earlier statements are negative on astrology to begin with - and you called my writing "useless clutter" without apology - so, I suggest that if you want to work on this article without your POV that you do so honestly without the cynical attitude and rude comments. That would be a good start.Theo 05:57, 8 January 2006 (UTC)

  • The content clearly belongs in History of mathematics. It has nothing to do with the use of mathematics in scientifc models. — 0918BRIAN • 2006-01-8 06:08

I respectfully disagree. It is two paragraphs and can easily be added. You don't own the page Brian. This is Wikipedia. Mathematics and science have a direct relationship and the links from one subject to the other are easily added.Theo 06:12, 8 January 2006 (UTC)

  • Straw man. Your content is on the origins of mathematics. Science uses mathematics, but this article can't possibly deal with the tangential topic of the origins of mathematics. Such content belongs in the history of mathematics. — 0918BRIAN • 2006-01-8 06:17

Hmm... plenty of evidence in favour of astrology... You can't really proof anything in science, only disproof (and if you choose a field that can't be proven false by logic, it's not science). So no matter how much evidence there is in favour of astrology, a single proof that it's wrong can take down the whole "theory". And yes, there is proof that astrology is wrong.

Do astrologers employ the scientific method? Do they form hypotheses and test them via rigorous experiment? If they do, then it's probably kosher to mention astrology on this page. If they don't -- out with it!palmyrah 14:17, 19 July 2007 (UTC)

Next contestant

I reverted these edits that tried to introduce links to some new science disciplines: Conscientiology and Projectiology. I suggest editors keep an eye on other articles edited by Gracekamala (talk · contribs) who seems to be on a mission to spread the word about those two as well as Conscientiotherapy. Funny thing is when I looked at therapy, I can't really say it doesn't fit there any less than its neighbours. Algae 21:24, 10 January 2006 (UTC)

'What science is', a discussion

People: Mathematics is no more a science than pure empiricism is.

If you can't use Logic to study the world you do not have science. If you can't use Mathematics to study the world you do not have science.

If you study Logic to build Logic tools, you learn. Learning is what science is. If you study Mathematics to build Mathematical tools, you learn. Learning is what science is. If you study empiricism to build empirical tools, you learn. Learning is what science is. If you study nature to build natural tools, you learn. Learning is what science is.

The fist Scientists took what was "knowledge" at the time (Several religiously followed philosophies.) and combined them.

Science isn't any single one thing, nor must it include any other area of it to learn new "knowledge". What we learn empirically is science, but we also can learn without empirical input. Science doesn't equate to the philosophy of the empiricists, although there are many that believe so.

Believing so, doesn't make it so. Choose what you like to study from knowledge or belief, your choice. --Eric Norby 10:00(PST), 2006, January 29(AD)

Moved comment down.
What's your point? How does this help the article? -- Ec5618 18:24, 29 January 2006 (UTC)

For a (very) concise definition, I would be bold enough to offer the following: "Science is the accurate description of Nature". I feel that the question of how the description is arrived at may be of less importance than how its accuracy is gauged. But a sensible guide might be that the description should at least correspond with some experience. Keith P Walsh (with gratitude to R P Feynman), 31 March 2006.

Fields of Science

Shouldn't the huge list of links be below the etymology section? One looks like a typical artical while the other is just a list. Don't get me wrong, I came to the Science page hoping for a list, but it just doesn't look right when placed above a legitamate artical section.

You're right. I've moved the section up, it now directly follows 'what is science'. I'm not opposed to it being moved again, but it certainly didn't belong down there.
Perhaps we should consider a Fields of science article. -- Ec5618 23:28, 31 January 2006 (UTC)
The Fields of science/temp now has a copy of the "Fields of science" sub-section content. — RJH 22:19, 28 April 2006 (UTC)

Came from the german "Wissenschaft" page to this, because I wanted the classification of sciences in english. I was quite shocked about the weird and incomplete classification scheme. Seems I have to translate the classification from the german article for my needs. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)

Could you suggest a more appropriate classification scheme? It could be implemented on the Fields of science sub-page, and would give the page more value. Thanks. — RJH 22:45, 22 May 2006 (UTC)

1.0 core topics COTF

This article was the core topics collaboration during June 2006

Removed sentence from introductory paragraph

I removed this sentence, which is erroneous, from the first paragraph of the article for further consideration as to content and placement within the article...Kenosis 22:16, 31 March 2006 (UTC)

The basic unit of knowledge is the theory, which is a hypothesis that is predictive. 22:16, 31 March 2006 (UTC)

Section removed for further consideration by the editors

I have removed this section and placed it here for consideration. It is scattered, not informative, mostly unsourced, only marginally relevant, wrong in several places, and contains POV's. Possibly some of this material belongs in a brief section on the sociology of science, an interesting and relevant topic which includes the viewpoints of Kuhn, Fayerabend, Polanyi and others. Quine belongs in the analysis of scientific method and/or in the philosophy of science, and Kuhn may also properly be part of those summaries. At an absolute minimum this section, if it is to be included, should be structured in such a way that it is not a magnet for passersby to throw in quick POV's about science...Kenosis 03:15, 7 April 2006 (UTC)

== What is science? ==
There are many different conceptions of the word "science".
According to empiricism, scientific theories are objective, empirically testable, and predictive — they predict empirical results that can be checked and possibly contradicted.
In contrast, scientific realism defines science in terms of ontology: science attempts to identify phenomena and entities in the environment, their causal powers, the mechanisms through which they exercise those powers, and the sources of those powers in terms of the thing's structure or internal nature.
Even in the empiricist tradition, we must be careful to understand that "prediction" refers to the outcome of an experiment or study, rather than to literally predicting the future. For example, to say, "a paleontologist may make predictions about finding a certain type of dinosaur" is consistent with the empiricist's use of prediction. On the other hand, sciences like geology or meteorology need not be able to make accurate predictions about earthquakes or the weather to qualify as sciences. Empiricist philosopher, Karl Popper also argued that certain verification is impossible and that scientific hypotheses can only be falsified (falsification).
Positivism, a form of empiricism, advocates using science, as defined by empiricism, to govern human affairs. Because of their close affiliation, the terms "positivism" and "empiricism" are often used interchangeably. Both have been subjected to criticisms:
  • W. V. Quine demonstrated the impossibility of a theory-independent observation language, so the very notion of testing theories with facts is problematic.
  • Observations are always theory-laden. Thomas Kuhn argued that science always involves "paradigms," sets of (often unstated) assumptions, rules, practices, etc. and that transitions from one paradigm to another generally does not involve verification or falsification of scientific theories. Moreover, he argued that science has not proceeded historically as the steady accumulation of facts, as the empiricist model implies.03:15, 7 April 2006 (UTC)

Three paragraphs removed from Etymology for further consideration

These three paragraphs are now here for consideration as to placement and content in the article, because they are not part of the etymology of "science." Possibly this material belongs, in more compact form, in the Philosophy of science section, more specifically with respect to the problem of demarcation. Possibly some or all of the content of the last paragraph belongs in the Math section of the article...Kenosis 08:47, 8 April 2006 (UTC)

Fields of study are sometimes distinguished in terms of hard sciences and soft sciences and these terms are often synonymous with the terms natural and social science (respectively). Physics, chemistry, biology and geology are all forms of "hard sciences". Studies of anthropology, history, psychology, and sociology are sometimes called "soft sciences." Even within the fields there is sorting of the fields. Although it might be difficult to say whether geology or biology is "harder", physics is usually considered the "hardest". Especially "hard" are the fields of high energy physics and cosmology. In this usage, "hard" means mathematic, or in experimental area, expensive.08:47, 8 April 2006 (UTC)
Proponents of this division use the arguments that the "soft sciences" do not use the scientific method, admit anecdotal evidence, or are not mathematical, all adding up to a "lack of rigor" in their methods. Opponents of the division in the sciences counter that the "social sciences" often make systematic statistical studies in strictly controlled environments, or that these conditions are not adhered to by the natural sciences either (for example, ethology or behavioural ecology relies upon fieldwork in uncontrolled environments, astronomy cannot design experiments, only observe limited conditions). Opponents of the division also point out that some of the current "hard sciences" suffered a similar "lack of rigor" in their own infancy.08:47, 8 April 2006 (UTC)
The term "Maths" is sometimes pressed into service for new and interdisciplinary fields that make use of scientific methods at least in part, and which in any case aspire to be systematic and careful explorations of their subjects, including computer science, library and information science, and environmental science. Mathematics and computer science reside under "Q" in the Library of Congress classification, along with all else we now call science.08:47, 8 April 2006 (UTC)

Recent edits

With some 30 edits in 24 hours, this article may be moving a bit too fast. The most recent edit makes we wonder if it's moving in a good direction at all. Removing "tobacco" from the description of a plant because it "may not be the best illustration in the 21st century" is about political correctness and not about making a good encyclopedia. Algae 21:13, 8 April 2006 (UTC)

Don't know 'bout the other 29, but I just put tobacco back into the image caption. Don't think anyone will take up smokin' just from seeing the word. Related note here, do we acknowledge the prime source for science funding anywhere? Or just pretend that the money just appears. Government funds are important, but funding by corporations with a view toward reaping the $$ benefits of the supported research is significant. The lowly tobacco plant is so well studied as a result of industry funded research. We should make mention of this economic incentive for scientific research and not pretend that there is a solid division between pure and applied science. Vsmith 22:25, 8 April 2006 (UTC)
Well, I was the editor who inserted the reference to "junk science." If you think it'll hold, by all means go ahead with such a discussion in the Social issues section. For that matter, put a link to Junk Science from the pic. Appreciate the challenge to my edit, and I hope I didn't ruin or waste too much of your afternoon...Kenosis 22:34, 8 April 2006 (UTC)

With some 30 edits in 24 hours, this article may be moving a bit too fast. The most recent edit makes we wonder if it's moving in a good direction at all. Removing "tobacco" from the description of a plant because it "may not be the best illustration in the 21st century" is about political correctness and not about making a good encyclopedia. Algae 21:13, 8 April 2006 (UTC)

More than fair enough-- I realized that after seeing the reversion. If you look a bit more closely at the history, you will notice that a hatchet job had been done on this illustration caption, which I proceeded to correct and rephrase the original reference to "the incredible power of science..." so it is a bit more explanatory. By all means revert to the earler version before Z_E_U_S's edit if you and/or other editors prefer. The last maneuver was really an afterthought, and I agree with you that it was quite unnecessary and even a bit counterproductive.
I still have a definite problem with the last paragraph of the Philosophy of science section, which I will address later and make a note of it here. And a bit more research on the etymology which would be great if someone else did it instead. And that's about it. Algae, I've appreciated seeing your edits on this article incidentally.
Any thoughts about the issue of those three paragraphs above taken out of etymology? There is meaningful and informative content there (with the exception of two or three, maybe four sentences), and I think deserves serious consideration for reintegration. Perhaps another section in the article?...Kenosis 22:27, 8 April 2006 (UTC)
Those three paragraphs are rather incoherent and confusing; it wouldn't hurt cleaning them up before adding them back to the article (under a different title). The subject of "hard vs. soft science" fits the article, though. Algae 22:45, 8 April 2006 (UTC)
  • For what its worth, the reason the "tobacco plant" part is important has to do with the vector Ow et al used to insert the GFP gene into the plant—the tobacco mosaic virus. MarcoTolo 00:35, 9 April 2006 (UTC)
Interesting; I didn't know that. Appreciate the info, as I was wondering if it was a "plant" in the article emanating directly from the tobacco industry. Please rest content that I am among those who have a high level of respect for reasoned consenses in Wikipedia, and will revert any attempts I happen to notice to significantly alter or remove it. It's an amazing pic to be sure...Kenosis 00:52, 9 April 2006 (UTC)
  • the vector was not a virus and I don't think the plasmid had any TMV sequence. Why was the vector important? Also it is not GFP it is luciferase. David D. (Talk) 06:18, 15 April 2006 (UTC)

sentence removed for further consideration

I have removed this sentence from the opening paragraph of the article for further analysis by the editors. At minimum, certainly the social sciences would disagree in many instances, and certainly biology would not limit its field to this demarcation line...Kenosis 06:13, 15 April 2006 (UTC)

Mathematics is the language used by science to describe this knowledge. Thus, anything that cannot be described by mathematics is not science.06:13, 15 April 2006 (UTC)

Fields of science

The list of fields of science is getting so long it might be worthwhile to move it to a separate page. Karol 07:18, 18 April 2006 (UTC)

Yes. I set up a Fields of science/temp page if you would like to edit it. — RJH 22:14, 28 April 2006 (UTC)
Judging by some of the edits I've seen ("Mr. Peapody is a great science teacher!," "Mr. Wilson's science class $@(#*^$", etc, etc) many elementary and early high-schoolers check into this article. In a way it's a useful list for the naturally curious and those interested in probing through some of these realms. Frankly don't see the need to eliminate these links quite yet. Cladistics, for instance, is in there; I find it hard to imagine the basic list could get all that much longer, and if it does so the editors can certainly hack away the fringes and link to an article such as that you just created. On the other hand, maybe the criteria for exclusion would be so vague we'd either need to eliminate the list completely with a seealso, or leave it as is?...Kenosis 23:38, 3 May 2006 (UTC)
There was no positive support for the idea, so I renamed the sub-page to Fields of science and left the duplicate content in place... for now. — RJH 22:42, 22 May 2006 (UTC)
I think trimming it out of the science article is appropriate.--ragesoss 22:46, 22 May 2006 (UTC)
Okay it has been trimmed. I tried to give a single paragraph overview, but I'm quite sure it can be much improved. Thank you. — RJH (talk) 20:26, 20 June 2006 (UTC)

Eugene Wignerand

There is a reference to Eugene Wigner and The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences, seen as

and typed in as {{see|Eugene Wigner|The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences}}.

I've tried to fix this, but to no avail. What causes the automatic "and" to be added to the back of Wigner's last name and linked, and what can be done to fix it? 13:33, 24 April 2006 (UTC)~

The "and" comes from "Template:see" which has been deprecated. Using "Template:further" as suugested under the "see" page fixes it. --Bduke 21:32, 24 April 2006 (UTC)


As far as I can remember, there is a template with the fields of science. Which is that? NCurse work 14:35, 2 June 2006 (UTC)


---Mathematics.. the ultimate science??

Empirical truth is subject to falsification through a contradictory observation made of a new experiment but mathematics deals with pure rationality and reasoning. Its results are based on axioms. Its results exist independent of systems and observers. Is it not the purest of sciences? It seems that the physical world consists of special cases of mathematical realities (r^2 coulumb law,and derivation of the Maxwell equations.) Shreyaskaptan

Math and science

The paragraph at the beginning on the nature and significance of math in relation to science is succinct and readable, especially for high school students (I asked some to read it and they got the point). It is an important point to be sure. However, it would be nice to quote and/or cite an authority or two. Is that possible? I am referring to the section that begins, " Whether mathematics is a science is a matter of perspective." Malangthon 03:03, 2 November 2006 (UTC)


Refering to the same paragraph stating that mathematics is based upon a series of unprovable assumtions is a misnomer and speaking as a mathematician just seems strange. Firstly, shouldn't the word assumptions be replaced with axioms with the appropriate link? Secondly, the 5 mathematical axioms hold for all Euclidean space since they are logical statements that create "space". Although Euclidian space is now known to not be the sole form of geometry, calling the axioms "unprovable assumtions" seems more than a little strong. However truthful. Kae1is 22:38, 14 November 2006 (UTC)

See also?

The See also section contains:

  • The Arts
  • Religion


If they support the text above surely they should be linked at the appropriate point inthe text.
If they are science related, some input is needed on the pages in question as they make no mention of science.
If they are there by way of contrast or perhaps even as opposites (though i cant think why) perhaps they should be labelled such - and maybe accompanied by Poetry, Metaphor, Superstition etc.

The list is long enough, I'll just edit them away - with an open mind of course. DavidP


Polls suggest that leading scientists tend not to believe in the possibility of human immortality.[2] This was noted in the Immortality article but was removed ([3]). I feel that if the article mentions certain religious viewpoints then it should also mention the secular and scientific perspectives. Anyone wants to help add it back? Shawnc 02:04, 14 June 2006 (UTC)

It's unlikely to have human immortality, but extended life could be an easier to cope with (and discover, possibly). (eg. supposedly, single celled organisms a very long time ago lived "forever"). Longer life isn't a very big deal anyway. It should come under a topic such as Bio-informatics/Biology

Removed material

Placed here for analysis as to relevance. ... Kenosis 05:43, 17 June 2006 (UTC)

  • "A fundamental philosophical issue is that it is impossible to prove a negative. This means that science can only tell us what has been understood to happen, in a given set of circumstances but it cannot tell us what doesn't happen." ... 05:43, 17 June 2006 (UTC)

Removed last paragraph from "Scientific method" section for discussion. and reconsideration: ... Kenosis 05:50, 17 June 2006 (UTC)

  • "The lessons learned from the history of science are that, in the light of new developments and understanding, confidently-held tenets can be found wanting, requiring new models and theories to embrace the newer understanding. Scientific establishment must therefore, always be aware that its cherished beliefs of today may be tomorrow's object of historical interest." ... 05:50, 17 June 2006 (UTC)

I just removed the following sentence from the second introductory paragraph because it basically is a redundant statement of a definition currently placed in the first paragraph of the article as of the time of this edit. ... Kenosis 03:48, 19 June 2006 (UTC)

  • Particular specialized studies that make use of empirical methods are often referred to as sciences as well. ... 03:48, 19 June 2006 (UTC)

Perhaps the introduction will need some further attention to arrive at a summary definition and statement about which use of the word "science" the article is dealing with-- ideally one that is agreeable among interested editors. ... Kenosis 03:48, 19 June 2006 (UTC)


(moved from another talk page) Hgilbert, may we parse through the first two paragraphs of the article on science? The definition you added seems fine, but there is a bit of crossover and redundancy between the first and second paragraphs of that article at the moment. Can we sort this out in a way that gives proper accord to natural and social sciences while making the categorical distinction in a way that is consistent with the exclusion of the more casual use of "science" in reference to areas of study such as, say, "political science", that are not included in this article's focus? Always a tough task to get this touchy issue right, but I think it can be done with some further thought about how it's explained there. ... Kenosis 00:00, 19 June 2006 (UTC)

RE: OK, I tried to reduce the redundancy (and go from the largest category to the smallest, big picture to details, perhaps a mistake here). Let's try to build up a picture of the introduction, however; how do you see it?Hgilbert 02:10, 19 June 2006 (UTC)
I imagine that the specific definition of the article's content should go first as before. I was concerned that the sentence in the second paragraph about "particular specialized studies" that make use of the empirical method was redundant with what you had added to the first paragraph. Maybe we should proceed to move this discussion to the article's talk page. I might not have a chance to get back to this tonight. ... Kenosis 02:19, 19 June 2006 (UTC)

You're probably right, though I am concerned that the article itself is arbitrarily narrow in focus and suggest that it is important to articulate this specialization clearly up front.Hgilbert 15:47, 19 June 2006 (UTC)

NP by me. Could be from the general to the specific, or start with the specific and add qualifiers about the more general sense of the word. Currently it goes from the general to the specific, as you had proposed, providing at least one definition with a very reasonably credible citation. ... Kenosis 17:17, 19 June 2006 (UTC)


There is a dispute on antiscience concerning the matter of whether certain religious and conservative groups have traditionally been critical of science. Since this article concerns related conflicts, perhaps some editors might be interested in helping break our deadlock. Al 18:28, 20 June 2006 (UTC)

Cause and effect V.s the existence of a God

So how is the concept of causillity or "cause and effect" more justifiable than the existence of God? Both cannot be empirically tested; you can not "experience" both with your five senses. I understand that one concept can be "believed in more" than the other; for example, you COULD say that you believe in cause and effect more than you believe in the existence of God. But you can't say, from an empiricist point of view; that you KNOW casualty or God exists. So what I'm asking is how can scientists (and empiricists) believe in the concept of "cause and effect" more than they believe in the existence of God? How is causility more justified (and therefore, more readily "assumeable") than the existence of God? You can't say you know they both exist according to Hume, if you are an empiricist, but why would anyone be an atheist (not believe in God), but assume that causility exist? 21:02, 27 June 2006 (UTC)

An empirist/scientist/atheist can show proof/theory on how things relate (cause/effect). You move an object, an object moves. That is very direct experience, one which every one(with a healthy eyes, of course) can see and experience and reproduce. "God" thing is something one or two out of million or so can "experience" through faith. Faith is believing without any justification other than that "there might be". See what the difference is? Direct experience/fact vs. "there might be". To an empiricist/scientist/atheist/rational, direct experience/fact that everyone can acknowledge is more acceptable than "there might be". And oh btw, atheists(that i know) don't "don't belive in God", they simply don't belive in the existince of "God" or maybe I am over generalizing? Monkey Brain 22:05, 27 June 2006 (UTC)

Cause and effect: As long as you are visible and the object you move, too, it's easy -most probably-. But when you think about the law of karma the assumption of cause and effect becomes much more complicated. For example, you have an accident with another person, both of you going by car (by different cars, I mean), where is the cause and where is the effect?? Austerlitz 15:57, 13 July 2006 (UTC) *****

Cause and effect is also better in that you can possibly work backwards and forwards from any given point in research. For example, if there is a cause that you can attribute to an effect, you can also work backwards and say that the effect could also be attributed to another cause. This may seem strange, but if you believe only in God and not Cause & effect there isn't going to be anything to associate God to making it uselessTosayit 03:09, 21 September 2006 (UTC)

Current Scientific Discoveries

Oh boy, I don't know about this, but here goes. There is apparently (unless I've missed it) no article, project or portal on Wikipedia devoted to current or ongoing scientific research findings/breakthroughs. Kind of a big gaping hole IMO. Now, starting such a thing would involve a lot of work, because it would require informed contributions from people who keep abreast of the wide and deep scientific research world by reading the current literature. It would be a major effeort, but it would also be a great contribution. Please list yourself below and make any comments about how to go about it if you are at all interested in making this happen. Thanks! Jeeb 18:17, 11 August 2006 (UTC)

I don't really see a reason for one to be started. First of all, the newest ongoing scientific research is original research by Wikipedia standards. The parts of it that have been accepted as standard knowledge are usually well covered already by WP articles (no point in listing examples), and are or can be linked to on the Portal:Science or where be it. Also, don't forget about wikinews. Karol 16:15, 22 October 2006 (UTC)

Dead links I can't fix

The latter link is dead in the sense that it says "Were you looking for 7/7 London Bombings - A Summary Of The Evidence? Go here." and has links that are more about politics than science. Art LaPella 03:55, 19 September 2006 (UTC)


"Of course, value judgements are intrinsic to science itself. For example, scientists value relative truth and knowledge."

This contradicts the previous sentences of its paragraph. And it's wrong. Value judgements are not intrinsic. They may be unavoidable in practice but they are not intrinsic to science. Newtonian physics is true (or not) whether a scientist believes it and whether a scientist values it.

Pepper 09:47, 22 October 2006 (UTC)