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definitions are certainly not the final word on any of these
terms, but may help give an idea of what we mean when we refer
to them in this website and in our programs:
feature of our programs is the use of science as the process
by which we gain the insights about the world that we use
in helping us see how we fit in. So what distinguishes science
from other ways of knowing about the world? Here's one attempt
to get a handle on this:
science refers both to a process for obtaining knowledge about
the world, and to a set of insights about the world which
have been built up through this process. Our definition thus
has two components:
is the process by which we invent possible explanations
(theories) describing what we observe in nature, and then
filter out explanations that work from those that do not
work by testing (through experiment and observation) the
predictions they make about what else we will observe. Two
key features characterizing this approach are the important
role of observation (disagreements are ultimately
to be settled by experiment and observation; nature has
the last word) and the search for unifying principles
that attempt to connect many different phenomena with as
few explanations as possible.
also refers to the body of knowledge produced by this inquiry
For a standard
definition of science endorsed by various professional organizations,
see the statement, What
is Science? by the American Association of Physics Teachers.
map by which we each view our relationship to the world, and
which guides our choices and actions through the perspective
it gives us on our individual role as part of the universe.
by which insights from science are incorporated or assimilated
into a person's personal worldview.
within which our choices and actions are significant, so that
what we do truly matters in some way.