B. Godin, Neglected Scientific Activities: The (Non) Measurement of Related Scientific The definition of science as research owes much of its origin to statistics. scientific knowledge in an elementary science methods course. The nature of science and nature of scientific knowledge are two dimensions of scientific. PDF | Identifying fundamental drivers of science and developing predictive models to capture its evolution are instrumental for the design of.
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This paper proposes a new definition of science based on the distinction nature of scientific knowledge, its authority as well as its limitations, and how scientific. Scientists are motivated by the thrill of seeing or figuring out something that Science is useful. The knowledge generated by science is powerful and reliable. prosperous. In the previous section we saw that science is the word for the human Science is very much more complex than pat definitions which you can.
Year Mentions, i. The easiest way to get started is to use the output from this server. New version: SPv2 There is a new version of science-parse out that works in a completely different way. It has fewer features, but higher quality in the output. Get started There are three different ways to get started with SP. Each has its own document: Server : This contains the SP server.
People have realized this since time immemorial, of course. What science allows us to do is to move beyond such levels of generality and more precisely to specify the relationships among organisms. Under scientific scrutiny, these sometimes turn out unexpectedly; who would have thought that lungfish are more closely related to cows than they are to salmon?
Among the very few philosophers of science who have been taken at all seriously by scientists themselves was the late Sir Karl Popper, the leading proponent of the notion of falsifiability as the crux of scientific ideas. But here Popper was missing his own point. For whatever it may actually be, metaphysics sounds like the antithesis of science.
And it turns out that the unfolding of an evolutionary history is the best explanation we have—and the only predictive one—for the pattern of life we see around us. If the living world was created by a supernatural being, then the world is the way it is simply because that being wanted it this way.
Fine, if this is what you happen to believe; just do not dress it up as science. The notion of evolution predicts the nested pattern of relationships we find in the living world; supernatural creation, on the other hand, predicts nothing. It is concepts of this latter kind that are truly untestable: and what else is faith about, after all? Of course, this notion of falsifiability is inherently incomplete. It deals with how ideas should be posed so that they can be evaluated.
But it begs an obvious question: where do the ideas, good or bad, come from in the first place? Well, there are no rules for human creativity—how could there be? When we consider the origin of truly new ideas in science, we are, essentially, dealing with the mysteries of human cognition.
Science as a Collective Enterprise So far, I have been speaking mostly of the kind of science practiced by individual scientists or by teams of them. But we should never forget that science is above all a huge worldwide collective enterprise. For whereas it is possible to imagine a world without scientists, or with many millions of them, short of a post disaster scenario it is literally impossible to imagine a world with just one.
Isaac Newton was not the first to have said, two and a half centuries ago, that if he had seen farther it was because he had stood on the shoulders of giants. But this classic remark encapsulates a basic verity of the scientific process. This is, that all science has to start from what is currently known about the world or from what is believed about it. Science depends on an enormous body of knowledge that has been accumulated over the centuries, thanks to the efforts of countless investigators.
So, given the great inertia of large bodies of anything, how does scientific change occur at all? Kuhn, who started life as a physicist, was acutely aware of the role of the scientific community as a whole in spurring scientific advance.
Such paradigms initially become dominant as large numbers of scientists are attracted away from competing forms of explanation. And they stand at the origin of new traditions of scientific research, as the new paradigm reveals new questions to be explored.
As time passes, however, paradigms tend to ossify into forms of received wisdom, even as new observations about the world accumulate. The tendency among scientists will be to try to understand these within the context of the accepted paradigm; but at some point, so many anomalies will have been identified that a new explanatory framework becomes necessary.
This is rarely an overnight process. Of course, evidence of earth movements was abundant in the geological record, and phenomena such as the gigantic Krakatoa explosion of or the San Francisco earthquake, were only too fresh in memory. But even the largest such events were viewed as essentially local; and geologists sought local causes for them, often with enormous sophistication and ingenuity.
It turned out that, as some mavericks had already theorized, geography is unstable after all. Instead, the continents are mobile blocks of relatively light rock floating on the heavier molten rocks below them.
Oceans are formed by the rifting-apart of continental blocks, whereas the huge forces unleashed by collisions between the drifting fragments are responsible for earthquakes and mountain building, and volcanoes reflect the escape of molten material from below.
If it were not for this constant and often violent process of renewal, the continental surfaces would long ago have eroded and subsided below the surface of the oceans, and there would be nowhere for terrestrial life.
Thus, in a remarkably short time, a new explanatory framework was developed that provided, for the first time, a comprehensive mechanism knitting together a world of apparently diverse geological phenomena.
You might have thought that geologists would have been delighted by this intellectual unification. Not necessarily so. There was tremendous resistance to the new ideas, not just among the old guard but also among younger colleagues who remained under their influence.
And of course, the new field of plate tectonics certainly did not summarily invalidate the vast bulk of the detailed local observations on which other geological explanations had been founded. What is more, there is considerable inertia built into the process of scientific education.
Textbooks take years to change with new knowledge, and it is remarkable how early it is in the educational process that the mindsets of young scientists become established. Add to this that the role of doubt in the scientific process is far too rarely taught to aspiring scientists, and the potentially oppressive power of received wisdom is painfully apparent.
Still, Kuhn was undoubtedly right: paradigms must change sooner or later, as knowledge accumulates. For the piling-up of anomalous observations cannot forever be ignored and must eventually lead to the demise of inadequate explanatory frameworks, however tenaciously they linger.
The history of science has borne this pattern out over and over again, and in fact, it is not necessarily only new observations that lead to paradigm shifts. For some paradigms are essentially intellectual: they are views of how science should be done and are not dependent on any specific set of observations.
Indeed, in my own science of paleoanthropology, we are at this very moment in the middle of a paradigm shift of this kind. Let me explain. When I was in graduate school, my office was a desk in a basement storeroom of a natural history museum. We can imagine a linear model of innovation, from basic science through applied science to development and production. Technologists identify needs, problems, or opportunities, and creatively combine pieces of knowledge to address them.
Technology combines the scientific method with a practically minded creativity. As such, the interesting questions about technology are about its effects: Does technology determine social relations?
Is technology humanizing or dehumanizing? Does technology promote or inhibit freedom? These are important questions, but as they take technology as a finished product they are normally divorced from studies of the creation of particular technologies. Prehistory of Science and Technology Studies 9 If technology is applied science then it is limited by the limits of scientific knowledge.
On the common view, then, science plays a central role in determining the shape of technology. There is another form of determinism that often arises in discussions of technology, though one that has been more recognized as controversial.
A number of writers have argued that the state of technology is the most important cause of social structures, because technology enables most human action.
While this sort of claim is often challenged — by people who insist on the priority of the social world over the material one — it has helped to focus debate almost exclusively on the effects of technology.
Lewis Mumford , established an influential line of thinking about technology. According to Mumford, technology comes in two varieties. Polytechnics produce small-scale and versatile tools, useful for pursuing many human goals. A modern factory can produce extraordinary material goods, but only if workers are disciplined to participate in the working of the machine. This distinction continues to be a valuable resource for analysts and critics of technology see, e.
For Heidegger, distinctively modern technology is the application of science in the service of power; this is an objectifying process. In contrast to the craft tradition that produced individualized things, modern technology creates resources, objects made to be used.
From the point of view of modern technology, the world consists of resources to be turned into new resources. A technological worldview thus produces a thorough disenchantment of the world.
Through all of this thinking, technology is viewed as simply applied science. For both Mumford and Heidegger modern technology is shaped by its scientific rationality. Even the pragmatist philosopher John Dewey e. Interestingly, the view that technology is applied science tends toward a form of technological determinism. A society that has accepted modern technology finds itself on a path of increasing 10 Prehistory of Science and Technology Studies efficiency, allowing technique to enter more and more domains.
The view that a formal relation between theories and data lies at the core of science informs not only our picture of science, but of technology. Concerns about technology have been the source of many of the movements critical of science. After the US use of nuclear weapons on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in World War II, some scientists and engineers who had been involved in developing the weapons began The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, a magazine alerting its readers about major dangers stemming from the military and industrial technologies.
Starting in , the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs responded to the threat of nuclear war, as the United States and the Soviet Union armed themselves with nuclear weapons. Science and the technologies to which it contributes often result in very unevenly distributed benefits, costs, and risks. Organizations like the Union of Concerned Scientists, and Science for the People, recognized this uneven distribution.
Altogether, the different groups that made up the Radical Science Movement engaged in a critique of the idea of progress, with technological progress as their main target Cutliffe For researchers on Science, Technology and Society the project of understanding the social nature of science has generally been seen as continuous with the project of promoting a socially responsible science e.
The key issues for Science, Technology and Society are about reform, about promoting disinterested science, and about technologies that benefit the widest populations. How can sound technical decisions be made democratically Laird ? Can and should innovation be democratically controlled Sclove ? To what extent, and how, can technologies be treated as political entities Winner ?
Given that researchers, knowledge, and tools flow back and forth between academia and industry, how can we safeguard pure science Dickson ; Slaughter and Leslie ? They are social in that Prehistory of Science and Technology Studies 11 scientists and engineers are always members of communities, trained into the practices of those communities and necessarily working within them.
These communities set standards for inquiry and evaluate knowledge claims. There is no abstract and logical scientific method apart from evolving community norms. In addition, science and technology are arenas in which rhetorical work is crucial, because scientists and engineers are always in the position of having to convince their peers and others of the value of their favorite ideas and plans — they are constantly engaged in struggles to gain resources and to promote their views.
The actors in science and technology are also not mere logical operators, but instead have investments in skills, prestige, knowledge, and specific theories and practices.
Even conflicts in a wider society may be mirrored by and connected to conflicts within science and technology; for example, splits along gender, race, class, and national lines can occur both within science and in the relations between scientists and non-scientists. STS takes a variety of anti-essentialist positions with respect to science and technology.
Neither science nor technology is a natural kind, having simple properties that define it once and for all. The sources of knowledge and artifacts are complex and various: there is no privileged scientific method that can translate nature into knowledge, and no technological method that can translate knowledge into artifacts. In addition, the interpretations of knowledge and artifacts are complex and various: claims, theories, facts, and objects may have very different meanings to different audiences.
For STS, then, science and technology are active processes, and should be studied as such. The field investigates how scientific knowledge and technological artifacts are constructed. Knowledge and artifacts are human products, and marked by the circumstances of their production. In their most crude forms, claims about the social construction of knowledge leave no role for the material world to play in the making of knowledge about it. Almost all work in STS is more subtle than that, exploring instead the ways in which the material world is used by researchers in the production of knowledge.
STS pays attention to the ways in which scientists and engineers attempt to construct stable structures and networks, often drawing together into one account the variety of resources used in making those structures and networks. So a central premise of STS is that scientists and engineers use the material world in their work; it is not merely translated into knowledge and objects by a mechanical process. Clearly, STS tends to reject many of the elements of the common view of science.
How and in what respects are the topics of the rest of this book. Rejecting the formalist view with its normative stance, Kuhn focused on the activities of and around scientific research: in his work science is merely what scientists do. Rejecting steady progress, he argued that there have been periods of normal science punctuated by revolutions. The result was novel, and had an enormous impact. Especially in the history of science there is a temptation to see the past through the lens of the present, to see moves in the direction of what we now believe to be the truth as more rational, more natural, and less needing of causal explanation than opposition to what we now believe.
But since events must follow their causes, a sequence of events in the history of science cannot be explained teleologically, simply by the fact that they represent progress. Whig history is one of the common buttresses of too-simple progressivism in the history of science, and its removal makes room for explanations that include more irregular changes. According to Kuhn, normal science is the science done when members of a field share a recognition of key past achievements in their field, beliefs about which theories are right, an understanding of the important problems of the field, and methods for solving those problems.
The term, originally referring to a grammatical model or pattern, draws particular attention to The Kuhnian Revolution 13 Box 2. By this they generally mean that it is exceptionally rational, or exceptionally free of local contexts. As Derek de Solla Price  has pointed out, science has grown rapidly over the past three hundred years. The cumulative number of scientific journals founded has doubled every 15 years, as has the membership in scientific institutes, and the number of people with scientific or technical degrees.
The numbers of articles in many sub-fields have doubled every 10 years. These patterns cannot continue indefinitely — and in fact have not continued since Price did his analysis. A feature of this extremely rapid growth is that between 80 and 90 percent of all the scientists who have ever lived are alive now. For a senior scientist, between 80 and 90 percent of all the scientific articles ever written were written during his or her lifetime.
For working scientists the distant past of their fields is almost entirely irrelevant to their current research, because the past is buried under masses of more recent accomplishments. Citation patterns show, as one would expect, that older research is considered less relevant than more recent research, perhaps having been superseded or simply left aside. The front continually picks up new articles and drops old ones, as it establishes new problems, techniques, and solutions.
Whether or not there are paradigms as Kuhn sees them, science pays most attention to current work, and little to its past. Science is modern in the sense of having a present-centered outlook, leaving its past to historians.
Rapid growth also gives science the impression of youth. At any time, a disproportionate number of scientists are young, having recently entered their fields.
This creates the impression that science is for the young, even though individual scientists may make as many contributions in middle age as in youth Wray Kuhn also assumes that such achievements provide theoretical and methodological tools for further research. Although it is tempting to see it as a period of stasis, normal science is better viewed as a period in which research is well structured.
The theoretical side of a paradigm serves as a worldview, providing categories and frameworks into which to slot phenomena. The practical side of a paradigm serves as a form of life, providing patterns of behavior or frameworks for action.
The importance he attached to measurement instruments, and the balance in particular, shaped the work practices of chemistry. Within paradigms research goes on, often with tremendous creativity — though always embedded in firm conceptual and social backdrops.
Kuhn talks of normal science as puzzle-solving, because problems are to be solved within the terms of the paradigm: failure to solve a problem usually reflects badly on the researcher, rather than on the theories or methods of the paradigm. With respect to a paradigm, an unsolved problem is simply an anomaly, fodder for future researchers. In periods of normal science the paradigm is not open to serious question. Science students are taught from textbooks that present standardized views of fields and their histories; they have lengthy periods of training and apprenticeship; and during their training they are generally asked to solve well-understood and well-structured problems, often with well-known answers.
Nothing good lasts forever, and that includes normal science. Because paradigms can only ever be partial representations and partial ways of dealing with a subject matter, anomalies accumulate, and may eventually start to take on the character of real problems, rather than mere puzzles.
Real problems cause discomfort and unease with the terms of the paradigm, and this allows scientists to consider changes and alternatives to the framework; Kuhn terms this a period of crisis. If an alternative is created that solves some of the central unsolved problems, then some scientists, particularly younger scientists who have not yet been fully indoctrinated into the beliefs and practices or way of life of the older paradigm, will adopt the alternative.
Eventually, as older and conservative scientists become marginalized, a robust alternative may become a paradigm itself, structuring a new period of normal science. The Kuhnian Revolution 15 Box 2. Typically those foundations are seen as a combination of sensory impressions and rational principles, which then support an edifice of higher-order beliefs.
The central metaphor of foundationalism, of a building firmly planted in the ground, is an attractive one. If we ask why we hold some belief, the reasons we give come in the form of another set of beliefs. We can continue asking why we hold these beliefs, and so on. Like bricks, each belief is supported by more beneath it there is a problem here of the nature of the mortar that holds the bricks together, but we will ignore that.
Clearly, the wall of bricks cannot continue downward forever; we do not support our knowledge with an infinite chain of beliefs. But what lies at the foundation? The most plausible candidates for empirical foundations are sense experiences. But how can these ever be combined to support the complex generalizations that form our knowledge? We might think of sense experiences, and especially their simplest components, as like individual data points. Here we have the earlier problems of induction all over again: as we have seen, a finite collection of data points cannot determine which generalizations to believe.
Worse, even beliefs about sense impressions are not perfectly secure. The problem becomes more obvious, as the discussion of the Duhem—Quine thesis Box 1.
On the one hand, then, we cannot locate plausible foundations for the many complex generalizations that form our knowledge. On the other hand, nothing that might count as a foundation is perfectly secure. We are best off to abandon, then, the metaphor of solid foundations on which our knowledge sits. Revolutions, however, are not progressive, because they both build and destroy.
Some or all of the research structured by the 16 The Kuhnian Revolution pre-revolutionary paradigm will fail to make sense under the new regime; in fact Kuhn even claims that theories belonging to different paradigms are incommensurable — lacking a common measure — because people working in different paradigms see the world differently, and because the meanings of theoretical terms change with revolutions a view derived in part from positivist notions of meaning.
The non-progressiveness of revolutions and the incommensurability of paradigms are two closely related features of the Kuhnian account that have caused many commentators the most difficulty. If Kuhn is right, science does not straightforwardly accumulate knowledge, but instead moves from one more or less adequate paradigm to another.
This is the most radical implication found in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions: Science does not track the truth, but creates different partial views that can be considered to contain truth only by people who hold those views! One of those roots lies in the positivist picture of meaning, on which the meanings of theoretical terms are related to observations they imply.
Kuhn adopts the idea that the meanings of theoretical terms depend upon the constellation of claims in which they are embedded. A change of paradigms should result in widespread changes in the meanings of key terms.
If this is true, then none of the key terms from one paradigm would map neatly onto those of another, preventing a common measure, or even full communication. Secondly, in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Kuhn takes the notion of indoctrination quite seriously, going so far as to claim that paradigms even shape observations.
People working within different paradigms see things differently. Borrowing from the work of N. Hanson , Kuhn argues there is no such thing, at least in normal circumstances, as raw observation. Instead, observation comes interpreted: we do not see dots and lines in our visual fields, but instead see more or less recognizable objects and patterns.
Thus observation is guided by concepts and ideas. This claim has become known as the theory-dependence of observation. Past research can be opaque, and aspects of it can seem bizarre. Dobbs and Jacob The case for semantic incommensurability has attracted a considerable amount of attention, mostly negative. Meanings of terms do change, but they probably do not change so much and so systematically that claims in which they are used cannot typically be compared.
Most of the philosophers, linguists, and others who have studied this issue have come to the conclusion that claims for semantic incommensurability cannot be sustained, or even that it is impossible Davidson to make sense of such radical change in meaning see Bird for an overview. This leaves the historical justification for incommensurability.
That problems, concepts, and methods change is uncontroversial. But the difficulties that these create for interpreting past episodes in science can be overcome — the very fact that historical research can challenge present-centered interpretations shows the limits of incommensurability. Claims of radical incommensurability appear to fail. In fact, Kuhn quickly distanced himself from the strongest readings of his claims.
Still, on these more modest readings incommensurability is an important phenomenon: even when dealing with the same subject matter, scientists among others can fail to communicate. If there is no radical incommensurability, then there is no radical division between paradigms, either. Paradigms must be linked by enough continuity of concepts and practices to allow communication. This may even be a methodological or theoretical point: complete ruptures in ideas or practices are inexplicable Barnes When historians want to explain an innovation, they do so in terms of a reworking of available resources.
Every new idea, practice, and object has its sources; to assume otherwise is to invoke something akin to magic. For example, instruments, theories, and experiments change at different times. In a detailed study of particle detectors in physics, Peter Galison shows that new detectors are initially used for the same types of experiments 18 The Kuhnian Revolution and observations as their immediate predecessors had been, and fit into the same theoretical contexts.
Similarly, when theories change, there is no immediate change in either experiments or instruments. Discontinuity in one realm, then, is at least generally bounded by continuity in others. Science gains strength, an ad hoc unity, from the fact that its key components rarely change together. Box 2. Hanson and Kuhn took the psychological results to be important for understanding how science works. Scientific observations, they claim, are theory-dependent. For the most part, philosophers, psychologists, and cognitive scientists agree that observations can be shaped by what people believe.
There are substantial disagreements, though, about how important this is for understanding science. For example, a prominent debate about visual illusions and the extent to which the background beliefs that make them illusions are plastic e.
Much scientific data is collected by machine, and then is organized by scientists to display phenomena publicly Bogen and Woodward If that organization amounts to observation, then it is straightforward that observation is theory-dependent. Theory and practice dependence is broader even than that: scientists attend to objects and processes that background beliefs suggest are worth looking at, they design experiments around theoretically inspired questions, they remember relevance and communicate relevant information, where relevance depends on established practices and shared theoretical views Brewer and Lambert The Kuhnian Revolution 19 Incommensurability: Communicating Among Social Worlds Claims about the incommensurability of scientific paradigms raise general questions about the extent to which people across boundaries can communicate.
In some sense it is trivial that disciplines or smaller units, like specialties are incommensurable. The work done by a molecular biologist is not obviously interesting or comprehensible to an evolutionary ecologist or a neuropathologist, although with some translation it can sometimes become so.
The meaning of terms, ideas, and actions is connected to the cultures and practices from which they stem. However, people from different areas interact, and as a result science gains a degree of unity. We might ask, then, how interactions are made to work. Simplified languages allow parties to trade goods and services without concern for the integrity of local cultures and practices.
Trading zones can develop at the contact points of specialties, around the transfer of valuable goods from one to another.
In trading zones, collaborations can be successful even if the cultures and practices that are brought together do not agree on problems or definitions. The neat part, though, is that this does not matter at all.
In science it is no crime to be wrong, unless you are inappropriately laying claim to the truth. What matters is that science as a whole is a self-correcting mechanism in which both new and old notions are constantly under scrutiny. In other words, the edifice of scientific knowledge consists simply of a body of observations and ideas that have so far proven resistant to attack and that are thus accepted as working hypotheses about nature.
This may sound like a rather rough-and-ready way of proceeding; but clearly, in the mere two or three centuries that have elapsed since recognizable science began to come into existence, it has brought us a remarkably long way. Few would dispute that in this time science truly has revolutionized all of our lives in a way in which no other approach to knowledge has ever managed to do.
Falsifiability For this system of provisional knowledge to work, it is necessary that, to the extent possible, scientific hypotheses be proposed in such a way that they are at least potentially falsifiable—provable to be wrong.
Nonscientific statements about the world can simply be judged by the criterion of plausibility, which is fine in its place; but a scientific statement has to be subject to disproof if it is wrong or lacking something. It has to be one that, if wrong, can be shown to be so by more than simply assertion. Scientists should not be out to prove anything. But it is a mistake to confuse quantifiability with objectivity. The various branches of mathematics are essentially systems of logic that are based on axiomatic starting assumptions.
And whereas scientists find the techniques of mathematical description very helpful in characterizing the world, they themselves cannot start from assumptions. They have to start from what they know about the world, in the knowledge that what they think they know is always subject to change. That is the theory, anyway, and it applies pretty well in the experimental sciences such as physics. There, scientists generally start either from new hypotheses that they hope describe the world accurately or from established notions that seem to be becoming a little wobbly.
These they test against new data garnered by experiment and observation, often expressly for the purpose. We can study the functioning of the hereditary molecules within each cell by conventional scientific methods of experimentation, but what we cannot test directly by setting up experiments is the history of those molecules: exactly how they came to be as they are, and how their properties came to be distributed in nature in the way that we observe.
These are matters of history on an immensely long timescale, and those histories can never be replicated in the laboratory. Fortunately, though, there is a way around this. Experimental scientists make predictions about the outcomes of their experiments, and then compare the data gathered against those predictions. And so do evolutionary biologists. The difference is merely that, in their case, the experiments have already been made long ago.
The central prediction that emerges from evolutionary theory is based on the common descent of all life forms. It should be possible to represent all of life in a single branching diagram that ramifies upwards from a single ancestor at the bottom. Actually, things seem to have been a bit more complicated than this, at least at the beginning of the history of life.
All life may not, in fact, have had a singular origin and why should it; if simple self-replicating molecules could emerge once, then why not multiple times in a largely competition-free age? The important thing, though, is that we would never have realized or have begun to understand this if we had not started from a hypothesis—that all life did have a common origin—which we could test and refine by reference to the structure of the living world around us.
In any event, subsequent to the establishment of the major groups of living organisms, we do find a very strong overall signal when we compare the distribution of characteristics among the presumed descendant forms. People have realized this since time immemorial, of course.
What science allows us to do is to move beyond such levels of generality and more precisely to specify the relationships among organisms. Under scientific scrutiny, these sometimes turn out unexpectedly; who would have thought that lungfish are more closely related to cows than they are to salmon? Among the very few philosophers of science who have been taken at all seriously by scientists themselves was the late Sir Karl Popper, the leading proponent of the notion of falsifiability as the crux of scientific ideas.
But here Popper was missing his own point. For whatever it may actually be, metaphysics sounds like the antithesis of science.
And it turns out that the unfolding of an evolutionary history is the best explanation we have—and the only predictive one—for the pattern of life we see around us. If the living world was created by a supernatural being, then the world is the way it is simply because that being wanted it this way. Fine, if this is what you happen to believe; just do not dress it up as science. The notion of evolution predicts the nested pattern of relationships we find in the living world; supernatural creation, on the other hand, predicts nothing.
It is concepts of this latter kind that are truly untestable: and what else is faith about, after all? Of course, this notion of falsifiability is inherently incomplete. It deals with how ideas should be posed so that they can be evaluated. But it begs an obvious question: where do the ideas, good or bad, come from in the first place?
Well, there are no rules for human creativity—how could there be? When we consider the origin of truly new ideas in science, we are, essentially, dealing with the mysteries of human cognition. Science as a Collective Enterprise So far, I have been speaking mostly of the kind of science practiced by individual scientists or by teams of them. But we should never forget that science is above all a huge worldwide collective enterprise.
For whereas it is possible to imagine a world without scientists, or with many millions of them, short of a post disaster scenario it is literally impossible to imagine a world with just one. Isaac Newton was not the first to have said, two and a half centuries ago, that if he had seen farther it was because he had stood on the shoulders of giants. But this classic remark encapsulates a basic verity of the scientific process.
This is, that all science has to start from what is currently known about the world or from what is believed about it.