The Nature of Science

The Nature of Science - as a profession shows how this...

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The Nature of Science Part One, The Nature of Science , contains three primary topics devoted to defining what science is: the epistemological values of science, the origin of modern science, and science as a profession. Presenting the nature of science at the beginning of a non-majors biology course allows for the presentation of the epistemological issues that surround the teaching of evolution, namely the nature of acceptable evidence. By showing our students the contrast between what is acceptable evidence in science as opposed to what is acceptable evidence in theistic religions, namely divine revelation and the word of authority, we can set the stage for a non-confrontational presentation of evolutionary theory. Presenting the origin of modern science serves to show when the rejection of the word of authority that led to modern science first began. Portraying how science operates
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Unformatted text preview: as a profession shows how this epistemic value is maintained. This method of defining science focuses attention on the commitment of science to using only physical evidence in trying to understand the natural world. This does not mean, however, that we must directly observe every event in the natural world to understand it scientifically. Historical sciences, such as biology and geology, depend on logical inference, technically known as “retroduction” (McMullin, 1988), from physical evidence in the present to scientific conclusions about the past. As biology teachers we must understand that it is the total reliance upon physical evidence for testing hypotheses and making logical inferences that makes scientific knowledge the most credible knowledge we have of the natural world....
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