Sunday, August 12, 2012

Misconceptions about sceince

A colleague at my University who also writes a blog called "Åse fixes Science" recently linked to an excellent resource where common misconceptions about science are straightened out.

If you believe in any of the following statements I recommend that you take a look at the site. My personal experience as a scientist confirms everything that is written on the page.

Science is complete! - No it's not
Science is not a creative process! - It is
Scientists are always objective! - No, they are people
There is one scientific method that all scientists use! - No there are many methods

On two points I would have added some information to the page however. First, when the author discusses whether all scientists are atheists it is stated and statistics are provided to show that this is not the case. It is stated for instance that 75% of scientist believe that religions convey important truths. I think that it would have been appropriate to add that compared to the population at large there are more atheists among scientists than in the population at large.

The second point which I agree with but would like to add to is whether there is one scientific method. Anyone who knows the slightest bit of information about science knows that scientists use an almost limitless number of methods - anything that will allow them to get a better model of reality. However, I think that in another sense there is a scientific method. All scientific methods (or "The scientific method") are systematic, it does not have logical inconsistencies, and any method used should possible to try again to confirm the results. Good scientists follow such basic principles...

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