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Guiding Questions: Foundations of Science Module #2 Science: definition, limits, and worldview implications Overview: You will be reading selected sections of the Ratzsch and Wise texts for this assignment. Both authors will be dealing with the issue of science as a discipline, the presuppositions of science, and the limits of science. Much of the content of the reading is philosophy and because of this the terminology and style of writing can cumbersome. Try not to get bogged down in the reading and use the guiding questions to help you focus on key concepts. You are only responsible for the pages which are given for each reading assignment. Key words to know: epistemology, presuppositions, empiricism, rational, positivism, objectivity, discipline, theory. Reading: Wise, Faith Form and Time : chapter 3 Ratzsch, Science and Its Limits : chapter 1 (entire chapter) chapter 2 (17-21, 27-31) chapter 5 (pages 73-78) chapter 6 (entire chapter) chapter 9 (entire chapter) Pearcey and Thaxton, The Soul of Science : (pages 209-210) Ratzsch, chapter 1 Science what is it? (entire chapter) 1 Ratzsch describes the aspects of science. Make a list of these aspects. Science is a discipline, it seeks to explain the natural world through theories, these theories are subject to empirical restraints and must exhibit some degree of objectivity. 2 Science focuses on the physical but as Ratzsch exclaims “the natural and material does not characterize natural science alone.” What does he mean? The natural and material are also very prevalent in theology and other studies not simply science. 3 According ot Ratzsch what does physical reality embody and what does natural science seek to understand about physical reality? Physical reality is a web of material structures, systems and patterns of behavior that the define the natural world. Science tries to understand this web to its fullest extent. 4 What are empirical processes? Using the senses for observation to get at the relevant facts. 5 What characterizes the difference between a pseudoscience and a “real science?” Pseudoscience uses that data that supports its theories and ignores the rest, real science considers all data to formulate a theory. 6 What does this statement mean “real science requires that there be some rational connection between explanatory theory and empirical data?” The theory must logically fit with the data, it must rationally follow from what is observed.
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7 According to Ratzsch, his definition of science (page 13) appears to leave out three important aspects of science namely: mathematic quantitation, testing, and its communal nature (i.e. involves many people working together to confirm, test and share ideas). However, Ratzsch shows how these three aspects of science are found in his definition.
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This note was uploaded on 04/17/2008 for the course LS 200 taught by Professor Dr.fraisier during the Spring '08 term at Masters CA.

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