Wednesday, August 15, 2007

best definition for science? - 2

Science (from the Latin scientia, 'knowledge') is a system of acquiring knowledge based on the scientific method, as well as the organized body of knowledge gained through such research.

The formal sciences (mathematics) are essential in the formation of hypotheses, theories, and laws, both in discovering and describing how things work (natural sciences) and how people think and act (social sciences).

The scientific method seeks to explain the complexities of nature in a replicable way, and to use these explanations to make useful predictions.

Scientists use models to refer to a description or depiction of something, specifically one which can be used to make predictions that can be tested by experiment or observation. A hypothesis is a contention that has been neither well supported nor yet ruled out by experiment. A theory, in the context of science, is a logically self-consistent model or framework for describing the behavior of certain natural phenomena. A theory typically describes the behavior of much broader sets of phenomena than a hypothesis—commonly, a large number of hypotheses may be logically bound together by a single theory. A physical law or law of nature is a scientific generalization based on a sufficiently large number of empirical observations that it is taken as fully verified.

Scientists never claim absolute knowledge of nature or the behavior of the subject of the field of study. Unlike a mathematical proof, a scientific theory is empirical, and is always open to falsification, if new evidence is presented. Even the most basic and fundamental theories may turn out to be imperfect if new observations are inconsistent with them.

Despite popular impressions of science, it is not the goal of science to answer all questions. The goal of the sciences is to answer only those that pertain to perceived reality. Also, science cannot possibly address nonsensical, or untestable questions, so the choice of which questions to answer becomes important. Science does not and can not produce absolute and unquestionable truth. Rather, science tests some aspect of the world and attempts to provide a precise, unequivocal framework to explain it.

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