‘Science:’ You Use The Word, But It Doesn’t Mean What You Think It Means

“[W]hen people say ‘science,’ what they really mean is magic or truth.”
“Science is the process through which we derive reliable predictive rules through controlled experimentation.”

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Paul Henebury's picture

Nonsense.  As anyone familiar with the philosophy of science knows very well there is no agreed-upon definition of science, nor is all that is deemed scientific demonstrable by repeatable experimentation.  

Dr. Paul Henebury

I am Founder of Telos Ministries, and Senior Pastor at Agape Bible Church in N. Ca.

dgszweda's picture

Furthermore, science isn't just natural science.  The author asserts that science should not be used for public policy, yet we use behavior science to dictate how defensive capabilityes, we use economic science to drive our economic policies....  there is nothing wrong per se with using science to drive policy.

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Might be missing the point of the original post. Or maybe I'm not reading it right. Seems like the aim was to say that the popular understanding of science is a poor basis for policy because people see "science" as some sort of authoritative source of undisputable info. But in reality, science is only process and can only work w/certain kinds of information. So it doesn't have the magical quality many want to claim for it.

Paul Henebury's picture

Sure Aaron, you are right.  But what I was objecting to was the equally erroneous definition of science served up by Groby (?) or whatever the name was.

Dr. Paul Henebury

I am Founder of Telos Ministries, and Senior Pastor at Agape Bible Church in N. Ca.

dgszweda's picture

Aaron Blumer wrote:

Might be missing the point of the original post. Or maybe I'm not reading it right. Seems like the aim was to say that the popular understanding of science is a poor basis for policy because people see "science" as some sort of authoritative source of undisputable info. But in reality, science is only process and can only work w/certain kinds of information. So it doesn't have the magical quality many want to claim for it.

You have the point, but it is a bit meaningless, because if policy is dictated by sources of undisputable info there would be no policy.  I appreciate the point that science is disputable, but besides those that are naive, I am not sure if this is a point that not agreed upon by those who practice science.  Now, the author may be confusing the politics around policy that is perpetuated by science, but I would caution that this is more an issue of political posturing than a misunderstanding of science.