CORRECTION: When scientists are portrayed in movies and television shows, they are often ensconced in silent laboratories, alone with their bubbling test-tubes. This can make science seem isolating. In fact, many scientists work in busy labs or field stations, surrounded by other scientists and students. Scientists often collaborate on studies with one another, mentor less experienced scientists, and just chat about their work over coffee. Even the rare scientist who works entirely alone depends on interactions with the rest of the scientific community to scrutinize his or her work and get ideas for new studies. Science is a social endeavor. To learn more, visit our section on the .
Fact: are statements that we know to be true through direct . In everyday usage, facts are a highly valued form of knowledge because we can be so confident in them. Scientific thinking, however, recognizes that, though facts are important, we can only be completely confident about relatively simple statements. For example, it may be a fact that there are three trees in your backyard. However, our knowledge of how all trees are related to one another is not a fact; it is a complex body of knowledge based on many different and reasoning that may change as new is discovered and as old evidence is interpreted in new ways. Though our knowledge of tree relationships is not a fact, it is broadly applicable, useful in many situations, and synthesizes many individual facts into a broader framework. values facts but recognizes that many forms of knowledge are more powerful than simple facts.
Then everything will be changed: a new conclave, a new pope, a new hierarchy, a new people.2,000 years ago, "the Holy Ghost prompted the apostles to speak," they proclaimed the name of Jesus and his redemption by the gift of tongues so that their hearers asked each other: "What meaneth this?" Today many, many readers will ask themselves: "What's happening in Rome now?" From this question, mankind will be enlightened after a long period of darkness.2,000 years ago, the same message had been transferred by different languages so that "every man heard them speak in his own tongue" and understood "the wonderful works of God." To-day the same announcement was translated in many languages so that everybody will see "the hidden mystery of sin" which is revealed according to the mercy of God.2,000 years ago, the Apostles surrounded the Mother of God to receive the Holy Ghost.
CORRECTION: Since much of what is taught in introductory science courses is knowledge that was constructed in the 19th and 20th centuries, it's easy to think that science is finished that we've already discovered most of what there is to know about the . This is far from accurate. Science is an ongoing process, and there is much more yet to learn about the world. In fact, in science, making a key discovery often leads to many new questions ripe for investigation. Furthermore, scientists are constantly elaborating, refining, and revising established scientific ideas based on new evidence and perspectives. To learn more about this, visit our page describing .
CORRECTION: Perhaps because the Scientific Method and popular portrayals of science emphasize , many people think that science can't be done an experiment. In fact, there are ways to test almost any scientific idea; experimentation is only one approach. Some ideas are best tested by setting up a in a lab, some by making detailed observations of the natural world, and some with a combination of strategies. To study detailed examples of how scientific ideas can be tested fairly, with and without experiments, check out our side trip .
The words you heard today, beloved brethren, are the words saving you from many heresies and protecting you from all schismatics.Pope Boniface VIII (1294-1303) said in the Bull "Antiquorum habet" Feb.
CORRECTION: Some scientists and philosophers have tried to draw a line between "hard" sciences (e.g., chemistry and physics) and "soft" ones (e.g., psychology and sociology). The thinking was that hard science used more rigorous, quantitative methods than soft science did and so were more trustworthy. In fact, the rigor of a scientific study has much more to do with the investigator's approach than with the discipline. Many psychology studies, for example, are carefully controlled, rely on large sample sizes, and are highly quantitative. To learn more about how rigorous and fair tests are designed, regardless of discipline, check out our side trip .
CORRECTION: Because science relies on observation and because the process of science is unfamiliar to many, it may seem as though scientists build knowledge directly through observation. Observation critical in science, but scientists often make about what those observations mean. Observations are part of a complex process that involves coming up with ideas about how the natural world works and seeing if observations back those explanations up. Learning about the inner workings of the natural world is less like reading a book and more like writing a non-fiction book trying out different ideas, rephrasing, running drafts by other people, and modifying text in order to present the clearest and most accurate explanations for what we observe in the natural world. To learn more about how scientific knowledge is built, visit our section .
CORRECTION: When newspapers make statements like, "most scientists agree that human activity is the culprit behind global warming," it's easy to imagine that scientists hold an annual caucus and vote for their favorite hypotheses. But of course, that's not quite how it works. Scientific ideas are judged not by their popularity, but on the basis of the evidence supporting or contradicting them. A hypothesis or theory comes to be accepted by many scientists (usually over the course of several years or decades!) once it has garnered many lines of supporting evidence and has stood up to the scrutiny of the scientific community. A hypothesis accepted by "most scientists," may not be "liked" or have positive repercussions, but it is one that science has judged likely to be accurate based on the evidence. To learn more about , visit our series of pages on the topic in our section on how science works.
: In everyday language, the word usually refers to an educated guess or an idea that we are quite uncertain about. Scientific hypotheses, however, are much more informed than any guess and are usually based on prior experience, scientific background knowledge, preliminary observations, and logic. In addition, hypotheses are often supported by many different lines of evidence in which case, scientists are more confident in them than they would be in any mere "guess." To further complicate matters, science textbooks frequently misuse the term in a slightly different way. They may ask students to make a about the outcome of an experiment (e.g., table salt will dissolve in water more quickly than rock salt will). This is simply a prediction or a guess (even if a well-informed one) about the outcome of an experiment. Scientific hypotheses, on the other hand, have explanatory power they are explanations for phenomena. The idea that table salt dissolves faster than rock salt is not very hypothesis-like because it is not very explanatory. A more scientific (i.e., more explanatory) hypothesis might be "The amount of surface area a substance has affects how quickly it can dissolve. More surface area means a faster rate of dissolution." This hypothesis has some explanatory power it gives us an idea of a particular phenomenon occurs and it is testable because it generates expectations about what we should observe in different situations. If the hypothesis is accurate, then we'd expect that, for example, sugar processed to a powder should dissolve more quickly than granular sugar. Students could examine rates of dissolution of many different substances in powdered, granular, and pellet form to further test the idea. The statement "Table salt will dissolve in water more quickly than rock salt" is not a hypothesis, but an expectation generated by a hypothesis. Textbooks and science labs can lead to confusions about the difference between a hypothesis and an expectation regarding the outcome of a scientific test. To learn more about scientific hypotheses, visit in our section on how science works.
: In everyday language, the word is often used to mean a hunch with little evidential support. Scientific theories, on the other hand, are broad explanations for a wide range of phenomena. They are concise (i.e., generally don't have a long list of exceptions and special rules), coherent, systematic, and can be used to make predictions about many different sorts of situations. A theory is most to the scientific community when it is strongly supported by many different lines of evidence but even theories may be modified or overturned if warranted by new evidence and perspectives. To learn more about scientific theories, visit in our section on how science works.