Thursday, July 31, 2014

Things that everyone should know about science

1. Science explains nature rationally and logically, eschewing superstition and mysticism.

2. When scientific disputes arise, the ultimate arbiter is not expert authority or common sense but experimental evidence, guided by theory.

3. Theories aren't guesses; they are logically rigorous explanations of observed phenomena that predict new results.

4. Good theories may be superseded by better theories.

5. There are billions and billions of stars.

6. All life is related.

7. As Einstein demonstrated, conceptions of time and space based on everyday life don't apply accurately to all speeds and all realms of space.

8. At the scale of the atom, and realms even smaller, obey quantum laws completely at odds with common sense, and notions of cause and effect and the very nature of reality are inherently blurred.

9. The way a thing works is often influenced by its connections to other things and the ways that they work, a principle that applies to everything from the networks of cells in the brain and the body's other organs, to ecological and economic systems, to human interactions and social institutions.

10. Little is certain in science but much is highly probable, and the proper quantification of probabilities is essential for inferring facts, drawing conclusions and formulating sound judgments.

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