The Nature of Science
Science is the systematic approach to understanding nature that builds and implements knowledge in the form of precise testable predictions and explanatory theories about the world. It aims to explain reality by testing and modifying theories. This systematic approach to science is sometimes called ‘cosmological science’. Not all sciences are formulated in this way but some such as physics, chemistry, astronomy and biology, have been developed on this basis over a long period of time.
In general, the aim of science is to provide a precise description and an explanation of nature, with the help of experiment and observation. Experiments and observations that are made are often used to test predictions by using various methods. A theory can be modified or tested by making further observations and doing even more experiments. Theoretical knowledge is tested by using specific laws that are applicable to specific situations.
There are three basic methods that scientists make use of to explain natural phenomena: inductive reasoning, deductive reasoning and hypothetical reasoning. Deductive reasoning is one of the oldest methods that scientists make use of to describe the patterns and relationships in nature, while deductive reasoning describes how scientists make use of laws and other techniques to explain patterns and relationships that are not easily explainable by observation. In the last few years new evidence has been found to support some theories over others, therefore these techniques are now considered as the most reliable method of describing the natural world.
Scientists try to make a contribution to the greater good by coming up with accurate predictions and testable theories. Different disciplines within science each have their own particular areas of research and they also try to make a significant contribution to the greater good by developing accurate predictive models. They use scientific practices such as research and observational studies, along with calculations and mathematical expressions to help them come up with predictions. Some scientists also use cosmological techniques to predict the future of the natural world and the future of human beings. These predictive techniques are used in order to help them explain why certain events have taken place.
In order to give definition to the methods and concepts that can be classified under the category of science, the American Association of Professional Engineers (AAPE) has established the list of sciences. These include physical science, life science, physical sciences, environmental science, astronomy, earth science and mathematics. All these categories are sub-categories of modern physics, and all these sub-categories are further divided into different topics, such as solid-state and electro-magnetic physics, solid-state and nuclear physics, nuclear and molecular physics, chemistry, environmental science, astronomy, zoology, physiology and botany, geology, meteorology, computer science and genetics. It was in 1970 when the first subject was introduced in the graduated school scale, and since then there have been several attempts to classify science. Thus, the subject of science has made great progresses and development in terms of accuracy, precision, comprehensibility and usability.
Although different theories and models of the same theory or model are used in science, the main aim is to reach a common understanding of the subject. As such, it is always better to avoid generalizations about different theories as it may prove to be inaccurate. Even the different methods of measuring science have their own share of generalizations and the same will be done for different theories of science. Therefore, it is important to know the different ways by which science actually differs from religion, and to appreciate that not all religions agree with each other on all aspects of science.