Re: definition of science ["a search for knowledge, rather than a search for truth"]

From: Keith Miller <kbmill@ksu.edu>
Date: Mon Apr 25 2005 - 23:24:40 EDT

Ed wrote:

> --- Keith Miller <kbmill@ksu.edu> wrote:
>> Here is one version of my definition:
>> 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.
>
> -----------
>
> ED: How about this?
>
> Philosophy and theology are a search for *truth*
>
> Science is a search for knowledge.

I understand what you are getting at, but I would not use those terms.
Science is also a search for "truth" although with the continued
recognition that our current understanding of that truth is also
tentative and subject to change. I know that we need not see science
as working toward understanding of an objective truth about the world
as it really is, However, I think that most of us see our work as
attempting to uncover such truth however feebly.

What is different is the kind of truth being sought. The power of
science is that it seeks to uncover only the truth of the physical (or
natural) processes operative in the universe of matter and energy.
Theology seeks to know and understand spiritual reality, and the
history of the human encounter with the spiritual. It seeks moral
truth grounded in the revelation of that spiritual encounter. As I am
not a theologian, I am sticking my head out rather far here.

Anyway, I do think that truth and knowledge are not the proper
categories here.

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 Mon Apr 25 23:31:04 2005

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