Below is the prologue to a book I am currently working on, feel free to chime in with comments or criticisms, I would, in fact, rather enjoy them.
Science is often thought of as both a method and body of knowledge. One can know facts of science or one can practice the method of science. How can we, as humans, differentiate one means of an learning some fact as opposed to another. We must indicate the methodology for learning this bit of information. Science is unique in that every step from the hypothesis on to the conclusion is documented, including the methods by which said hypothesis was tested, what theoretical framework is being operated within, and why certain conclusions were drawn. Other things which science is essentially obligated to address are the areas for further exploration of an idea. Without posing new questions to build upon the insights gained, each individual bit of research is nearly worthless. Cumulatively, however, new models can be formed and supported which provide considerable use to society. A short list of examples are, in no specific order, Cell Theory, The Germ Theory of Disease, The Modern Synthesis, and Genetic and Epigenetic Inheritance.
I frequently hear that “belief” in a theory is simply a matter of opinion and cannot help but wonder what has brought these individuals to such a conclusion. Theories are not facts, but frameworks in which hypotheses and experiments operate. Theories are used to explain observations and may be observed (ex. evolution) directly. Experiments and confirmed or refuted hypotheses are used to support or disprove a theory. One cannot help but wonder how something used as such is misconstrued as an observation.
In later chapters, I hope to cover science education, the history of science, scientific findings over the course of human history, and as much herpetology as I can squeeze in without losing the interest of everyone but myself. I will argue why science education must focus on the theoretical frameworks in which science operates before being able to explain the experiments and observations. In order to give a full understanding of the theories, we must educate through the basis of scientific and philosophical history. Without such a background, the understanding of theories such as the Standard Model or Modern Synthesis would be virtually impossible.
Philosophers such as Karl Popper, Thomas Kuhn, and others have impacted science more than we may think, but not as much as they had hoped, and in addition to presenting many philosophical ideas, I aim to explain why some of these are not useful or not accurate as well as why some of these are accurate. An example of the inaccurate arguments would be Kuhn’s progression of science as Kuhn postulates science progresses in paradigm shifts or scientific revolutions followed by periods of “normal science.”
The history of science is both more complex and more interesting than many would assume. For individuals lacking interest in the history, one may find the philosophies interesting. For those lacking interest in either, the findings may inspire curiosity. Ultimately, the focus of this book is not to educate someone in all of science, but to give a glimpse as to what science is, how it has progressed, and what contributions to society have arisen from seemingly inconsequential research. As such, the central core of these scribblings shall be what it means “to know.”