RE: definition of science

From: Alexanian, Moorad <>
Date: Sun Apr 24 2005 - 09:35:20 EDT

Is the question of origins a scientific question? What role does mathematics play in your definition? In addition, can we limit science to explanations and forget about predictions?



From: on behalf of Keith Miller
Sent: Sat 4/23/2005 10:10 PM
Subject: Re: definition of science

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 B. Miller
Research Assistant Professor
Dept of Geology, Kansas State University
Manhattan, KS 66506-3201
Received on Sun Apr 24 09:39:07 2005

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