What do I mean when I use the term “science?”
Scientific hypothesis: A univocal (unambiguous) idea valid for testing.
Science fact: Experimentally derived observations using a univocal scientific hypothesis, publicly described methods and data. Note how all scientific facts are provisional – any Science fact can be refuted.
Scientific theory: a Science fact strongly verified with no valid refutation. (Common use of the term “theory” is what the science community calls a “hypothesis.”)
Science reasoning: Use of logic and reasoning to apply facts to reach conclusions, avoiding use of logical fallacies.
Science – as data and methods: The cumulative body of methods and Science facts used to establish reliable knowledge.
Science – as a Body or an Institution: Two sets of researchers: One set conducts experiments and gathers observations of natural phenomena. The other group works on mathematics and explanations.
Science Thinking: When I use the term “science” related to science as a mode of thinking – I mean “philosophy of science” related to — Science as data and methods.
For many decades I’ve worked on the side of experimental-evidence-based thinking to educate others about how some ideas cannot be examined by experiment, such as Astrology and Dowsing. Most advocates of the latter category refuse to provide definitions.
I believe it is not appropriate to publicly object to anyone else’s philosophy or religion which is not based on experimentally derived knowledge – unless they try use such experiment-free “facts” to interfere with other people’s lives.
However, when someone tries to influence or make harmful governmental decisions using deception with a facade of experimentally derived facts – I support opposition in the form of public education of the best available science; the best available experimentally derived facts. 😉
Published January 30, 2013, Update Feb 1, 2016 and June 2018