Re: definition of science

From: Keith Miller <kbmill@ksu.edu>
Date: Sat Apr 23 2005 - 22:10:39 EDT

Robert Schneider wrote:

> Keith,
>
> Having enjoyed Michael's ironic elimination of geology and
> evolutionary biology from "true science," I should like you to follow
> up with an elaboration of your definition of science, below. Since
> you are a geologist yourself, how do you integrate the historical
> sciences into your definition of "science"?
>
> Bob Schneider

My definition is below:

"Science is the human endeavor to understand how the physical universe
works by constructing testable cause-and-effect natural explanations of
events and processes based on observations of the physical world."

This describes geological science as well as chemistry. As I have
argued several times on this forum and elsewhere, hypotheses in the
historical sciences are fully testable. What I do as a geologist is
continual hypothesis testing. Every new observation is a test of
expectations based on previous observations and theoretical
understanding. Hypothesis are accepted, modified or rejected based on
new observations (equivalent to new experimental trials).

Keith

Keith B. Miller
Research Assistant Professor
Dept of Geology, Kansas State University
Manhattan, KS 66506-3201
785-532-2250
http://www-personal.ksu.edu/~kbmill/
Received on Sat Apr 23 22:16:48 2005

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