The Purpose of Science

Discussion in 'Science & Society' started by Servant, Feb 27, 2001.

  1. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Science is a system of scholarship (built around the scientific method) used to derive theories logically from empirical observations, which theories are then used to understand and predict the behavior of the natural universe. The fundamental principle of science is that the natural universe is a closed system whose behavior can indeed be understood and predicted by such means, i.e., that unobservable, illogical supernatural forces are not at work. Since the scientific method is recursive, this fundamental principle itself has been tested and peer-reviewed for around five hundred years and has never been falsified.
    The purpose of science is more specific: to find out how the universe behaves in order to predict how it will behave, especially in two contexts.
    • Predicting how it will react to things we do.
    • Predicting how it will treat us in general, so that we can better prepare for the consequences.
    The "pleasure" of scholarship is not to be demeaned. Nonetheless increasing the food supply, curing disease, maintaining contact with distant loved ones, making education, literature, art and music more widely available, developing protection against the ravages of nature, and a host of other more practical and tangible products of science are "pleasures" that are probably higher on most people's list of science's important purposes, as manifested through engineering and other disciplines.

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