Template talk:Science

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WikiProject Science (Rated Template-class)
WikiProject iconThis template is within the scope of WikiProject Science, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of Science on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
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Unfixed vandalism[edit]

What happened here, and why isn't it fixed? Which begs the question, what were the original intentions with this template. It looks interesting. -- Fyslee (talk) 04:03, 20 February 2009 (UTC)


The contents of this template don't appear to be particularly relevant to some of the topics it's being placed upon (e.g. Relationship between religion and science). I would suggest that 'Science' is to broad a subject to cover with a single template, and that more specifically targeted templates might be appropriate. HrafnTalkStalk(P) 04:06, 20 February 2009 (UTC)

The template's coverage has since been widened, but seems to be an oddball grab-bag of topics under some rather idiosyncratic headings. May I suggest that, if a general Science template is desired (and I still think specific templates would be a better idea), then it should follow the hierarchy of Portal:Science/Categories and Main topics. HrafnTalkStalk(P) 10:13, 20 February 2009 (UTC)

I merely copied the table that already existed at the bottom of the Science article. If there's some better organization, then by all means change it. SharkD (talk) 22:35, 20 February 2009 (UTC)
The list of topics that accumulated in Science's 'see-also' section is hardly the basis for a systematic template. Many of the topics are obscure, and the categorisation is idiosyncratic at best. I have reverted their reinclusion. HrafnTalkStalk(P) 15:24, 21 February 2009 (UTC)
The topics were already "systematicized" to a degree by being being rounded up into a table. While the individual topics may be obscure, I think the categorization should be emulated. SharkD (talk) 15:56, 21 February 2009 (UTC)
"I think the categorization should be emulated." Why? Its categorisation appears to have no basis in any formalised system of categorisation, and gives heavy overemphasis to areas only on the boundary of science.


I'm wondering if we could add mineralogy to the list of Earth sciences. It is listed as one of the major topics within the Earth science article.--Lorikeet (talk) 06:31, 20 March 2009 (UTC)


Hello! Is philosophy no science?--Diwas (talk) 18:30, 4 June 2009 (UTC)


No, from the US-POV it is not, it is "Humanities". This is seen to be an arbitrary border eg. here in Germany. This is why I added Humanities to the Template as a "Related Topic".

IM POV, it would belong under a new list between "Formal Sciences" and "Related Topics" with at least the contents:

I won't make this edit before there is consensus about it here; but even if US-America does not accept those topics as worth the term "science", the inclusion of "Humanities" as "Related topic" should not be altered as a sign that other regions differ from this exclusion. -- (talk) 17:16, 28 April 2010 (UTC)

There is obviously a problem of translation here. German Wissenschaft includes the humanities, but English science most certainly does not. This is true in every dialect of English, not only American English, so I'm not sure what you're trying to say about "US-POV," and it is simply a question of what the word means, not a value judgment, so I'm not sure what you mean about what's "worth the term". -- Rbellin|Talk 18:30, 2 May 2010 (UTC)
I would agree, but see Merriam Webster dictionary ("the science of theology") This doesn't really reflect common usage in the UK which is better reflected in the Collins and American Heritage entries in the free dictionary. -- Phil Barker 15:34, 13 September 2010 (UTC)

"Sacred science"[edit]

I've moved the following over to here from my talk page:Kenosis (talk) 12:04, 26 September 2010 (UTC)

== Sacred Science ==:
Why did you remove the Sacred Sciences from {{Science}}? The word "science" simply means knowlege, and philosophy, canon law and theology are forms of knowlege.

Canon Law Junkie §§§ Talk 08:56, 26 September 2010 (UTC)

I removed it for the reason given in the edit summary. I previously made a comment about it at Talk:Science but not here, for which I apologize. No apologies about removing the recently added category of "Sacred Sciences" though--it simply is way too much of a stretch in today's world. ... Kenosis (talk) 12:03, 26 September 2010 (UTC)
My tuppenceworth: in the 18th century "science" meant "knowledge", and what we now call science was called "natural philosophy". Not the same thing as theology. The shift in meaning was prominent in the 1830s, with William Whewell coining the term "scientist", and by the end of the 19th century the older meaning was clearly obsolete. By then early expectations that scientific investigation would support natural theology had proved fruitless, and science was both independent and secular. Many religious people were scientists, but they did not expect science to give theological answers. Changing terminology, and changing concepts. . . dave souza, talk 21:01, 27 September 2010 (UTC)

Here are some definitions of science taken from Dictionary.com

  1. systematized knowledge in general.
  2. knowledge, as of facts or principles; knowledge gained by systematic study.
  3. a particular branch of knowledge.
  4. skill, esp. reflecting a precise application of facts or principles; proficiency.

If the sacred sciences don't fit these, I don't know what does. Canon Law Junkie §§§ Talk 11:33, 28 September 2010 (UTC)

Formal sciences[edit]

The formal sciences were formerly last, and separated from the natural (physical, biological) sciences. Improved links emphasized the formal aspects of mathematical sciences like logic, statistics, and computer science, because those disciplines also include also empirical, engineering, and practical (practice) parts.

I moved them above the natural sciences, following the traditional hierarchy of sciences, dating back to Charles Sanders Peirce (and to Comte and to neo Platonism's great chain of being to Plato, etc.). At least mathematics is closer to physics!  Kiefer.Wolfowitz  (Discussion) 23:48, 21 February 2011 (UTC)

Thank you for being bold, but please be prepared to defend this. One can argue for the exact opposite order: for example, Galileo acknowledged his debt to the engineers and mechanics who came before him which he documents in Two New Sciences -- and this from a founder of the scientific revolution, which can be considered the hallmark of modern science. On the other hand, not too much came from antiquity itself, as witnessed by the history of science. So why might formal science be given pride of place? Imre Lakatos showed that informal mathematics is a fountainhead for mathematics in the first place, and Gauss agreed with this viewpoint. If there are other editors left who have something to contribute about this, now is the time to speak up. --Ancheta Wis (talk) 13:12, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
Nobody denies that practice inspired mathematics.
Peirce observed that other fields of science are in the process of being incorporated into mathematics, and of incorporating greater mathematics: The ongoing progress in physics or chemistry or biology or economics supports his claim. Those fields have greater mathematics and computational and statistical applications than do the other fields, so it is useful to have the formal sciences closer to the physical sciences. (He made other comments that are not relevant to moving formal sciences next to physical sciences.)
In the formal sciences, experimentation takes the role of thought experiments more than actual experiments, so clearly the formal sciences belong at an extreme end of the sciences. Shouldn't they be closest to where they are used the most? (I would repeat that the "formal sciences" link to the mathematical theory of those disciplines; as a major contributor to the experimental statistics articles here, I am aware that statistics uses experiments, etc.)  Kiefer.Wolfowitz  (Discussion) 23:35, 1 March 2011 (UTC)
computer science is mostly an applied science (mix of math, physics). This can also be reflected that the computer science department is often organized under the applied science & engineering college in major universities. The original placement under formal sciences is confusing and cheating (using the name of computer science by showing theoretical computing underneath). To give some qualification, I am a computer scientist at a major US gov lab. --Leo (talk) 13:19, 17 September 2011 (UTC)

Natural science: Physical and chemical sciences[edit]

I also want to change the "natural sciences" to physical and chemical sciences, because historically "natural" sciences contrasted with super-natural (or a priori) science (reasoning from first principals, following Aristotle's followers). (It is true that "natural science" is sometimes used as restricted to physical sciences, at least implicitly.)  Kiefer.Wolfowitz  (Discussion) 23:35, 1 March 2011 (UTC)

Atomic, molecular and optical physics[edit]

I suggest Atomic physics and Molecular physics be removed and replaced with Atomic, molecular, and optical physics which is the field encompassing all 3 subtopics. IRWolfie- (talk) 14:32, 13 May 2012 (UTC)

Science sidebar[edit]

According to the guidelines for navigation templates, good navigation templates should cover a small, well-defined group of articles; and the topics in a sidebar should be tightly related. The {{Science}} sidebar is about as far away from this ideal as I have seen, and can only contribute to template creep. My view is that it should be removed from all articles and replaced by a link to Outline of science. Any thoughts? RockMagnetist (talk) 00:25, 21 August 2013 (UTC)

The Science sidebar is perfectly fine for pages that are extremely broad. For certain, that would include the page for science. I'm not sure what others however. It should be removed from non-broad pages, such as ones focusing on a field of science. I have begun to remove this template from such pages. --Harizotoh9 (talk) 01:11, 21 August 2013 (UTC)
After a quick review of the guidelines for navigation templates, I can see what RockMagnetist means. This template does not appear to meet the suggested guidelines. Mostly, it has too many links for a sidebar at the top of an article. Also, not all of these articles in this template will refer to each other (per guideline #3). In fact relative to the entire number of links only a small group will actually relate to each other, so in this case this template has exceeded its intended use. Per guideline number #5, most of the links would be irrelevant to any given "see also" list in a given article. Therefore, I agree with RockMagnetist that this template should be replaced with a link to Outline of science. With this template we are essentially reproducing a smaller version of the "Outline of Science" anyway. Ultimately, if consensus agrees to remove the template, I think the template will have to be deleted just so it is not longer available. Of course there may be better suggestions. --- Steve Quinn (talk) 05:19, 21 August 2013 (UTC)
The goal (as I understand it) seems good, to illustrate how the different branches or topics in science relate to each other. But it does seem too full an outline...has not just parent/child/sibling topics, but also all the sub (and sub-sub?) topics of every other top-level topic. Making it collapsible keeps it from looking so scary and assists navigation, but then when looking at a sub-subtopic field there's no way to know which section to expand to find closely related articles. Compare to Wikipedia:Article series, where the outline is not multiple levels deep.
A useful nav is to have all the major branches listed on the major-branch pages (sibling articles in the outline-level sense), and the subbranches of that major branch also listed (child articles about topics in that branch). And a sub-branch would likewise list other subbranches of that major topic (siblings, to help find potentially closely related ideas), up-link to the major topic, and also its own subsubtopics. And we seem to have these already in footer navboxes (for example, {{Branches of physics}} and {{Natural science}} on the Physics page).
However, especially for popular articles (major branches, and maybe some subbranches?), I think there's value in having a navbox at the lede position so readers can easily see some key topic relationships. The "small, well-defined group of articles" could be the major branches and major components of each. For example, Physical sciences with Physics, Chemistry, Astronomy, Earth Sciences, but ripping out all the subtypes of chemistry (does that address the template-creep problem?). DMacks (talk) 08:48, 26 August 2013 (UTC)
@Harizotoh9, @Steve Quinn, @DMacks: A belated thanks for your comments. There appears to be consensus that this is not a good sidebar. It does not satisfy any of the reasons for deleting a template, so I'll just remove it from all the articles. Then we'll see if anyone cares. RockMagnetist(talk) 15:50, 10 November 2014 (UTC)
I don't have a problem with the template's removal. --- Steve Quinn (talk) 04:53, 13 November 2014 (UTC)

@Harizotoh9, @Steve Quinn, @DMacks: Since this discussion, the template has only become more bloated, with the particularly egregious addition of a lot of glossaries. I am going to make another attempt to reduce it to a more reasonable level. RockMagnetist(talk) 16:47, 22 March 2019 (UTC)

Law and jurisprudence[edit]

In the social science section of the template there is a link to Law. However, the article Law is not about the scientific study of law, but about law as a social institution. The article about the scientific study of law is called Jurisprudence. Of course, the word "law" is often used to mean "jurisprudence", which is why there is a hatnote in the Law article pointing towards the Jurisprudence article, and which is probably also why Law made it into this template. But given that the template has links to articles about scientific disciplines rather than links to the phenomena studied by these disciplines, the link should be to Jurisprudence rather than to Law. Marcos (talk) 10:48, 24 January 2017 (UTC)

Since no one disagreed for almost five months, I have no implemented this change. Marcos (talk) 08:18, 15 June 2017 (UTC)

About Interdisciplinary and Applied[edit]

@RockMagnetist, I'm quite and clearly aware of that 'Interdisciplinary' is not a branch, but neither is 'Applied'. In fact, there are even some disciplines within 'Interdisciplinary' which are not sciences. The reason I put it in the template has been shown in the edit summary, that is, to fill the second line. If it is not included, the template will be (as is being) more misleading than the interdisci being inculded. Another reason to include the interdisci is some disciplines within it are also fundamental, e.g., mathematical physics, which would be hard to classify into one of three branches.--Cswquz (talk) 17:44, 17 May 2019 (UTC)

Plus, in the most part of history of this template, 'interdisciplinary' was included, until the dramatic reduction two months ago.--Cswquz (talk) 18:14, 17 May 2019 (UTC)
I'm not sure I understand what you mean by "fill the second line". Surely you're not adding a link just to improve the layout? The template will have a very different appearance on different platforms. RockMagnetist(talk) 19:04, 17 May 2019 (UTC)
The dramatic reduction was a reaction to the increasing bloat of this template, which had reached ridiculous levels and badly failed the guidelines for good templates. In the discussion above, the consensus was that it should be much leaner. I tried to keep only the highest-level subjects, for example, natural science but not physics, chemistry etc. For branches of science, I went by the main sections in Branches of science and Outline of science, both of which include Applied science as a fourth branch. But I agree, that's debatable. Do you think it would be better placed in Society? RockMagnetist(talk) 19:04, 17 May 2019 (UTC)
I don't think it's a good idea to put it in 'Society'. In the last revision([1]) before the reduction and most of earlier revisions before that, 'Interdisciplinary', 'Physical', and 'Life' were always of the highest-level, or at least second-highest. 'Interdiscipinary' just indicates that there may be repeated disciplines in the outlines (e.g. mathematical physics can be classified into both maths and physics). BTW, 'fill the second line' means 'Interdisciplinary' and 'Applied' are of other dimensions of dividing science, that is, both of them are concepts rather than major branches. In fact, most of the applied ones are interdisci.--Cswquz (talk) 21:38, 17 May 2019 (UTC)
Made a new revision, with Formal-Physical-Life-Social-Interdisciplinary-Applied in the 'Branches' part.--Cswquz (talk) 06:06, 18 May 2019 (UTC)
'Natural' has been added.--Cswquz (talk) 06:14, 18 May 2019 (UTC)
@Cswquz: Please avoid template creep. That was exactly what I was worried about when you added Interdisciplinary. Now you have added parenthetical links, and one thing will lead to another until we have a bloated and useless sidebar once again. Please take the time to read SIDEBAR, think very carefully about any additions, and wait for other people to weigh in. RockMagnetist(talk) 06:28, 18 May 2019 (UTC)
Before I edited this template, I had noticed the discussion sections above. I know your concern, but as I wrote, the template is now containing just the highest level of its old version, as your earlier edit summary said.--Cswquz (talk) 06:38, 18 May 2019 (UTC)
I don't think the old version should be used as a guide because it was a mess. That said, if that's all you're going to add and no one else objects, I can live with it. RockMagnetist(talk) 16:26, 18 May 2019 (UTC)
OK.--Cswquz (talk) 22:36, 18 May 2019 (UTC)