A new view of science – Introduction

What is science?

Archaeologists say that humans migrating into new areas have always made species become extinct; the mammoths and mastodons and giant sloths are just a few examples of many. But our generation now threatens catastrophic changes to all human life.  And yet the lawmakers we elect, no matter in what country, are overwhelmingly lawyers and businessmen that have never been trained to look at the world in the same quantitative way that scientists and engineers learn.  Understanding terms like theory and scientific fact has never been more important – and yet in the last 10+ years that I’ve seen such critical scientific issues discussed, it is precisely these terms that lead to confusion and are used as excuses to push political agenda over fact based decisions.

Every school child learns about science and the scientific method: scientists make a hypothesis, then carry out experiments to prove or disprove it.  It sounds simple to understand, and it is easy to explain and teach.  But I worked for many years as a research scientist, and I could never reconcile my own work with that approach. And what’s worse: in hidden form it suggests that one scientific reality exists, that this one reality can be uncovered and understood, and that a paradigm shift (an often occuring and needed process in science) is confidence-destroying proof that scientists have made mistakes and can’t be trusted.

In subsequent blog posts, I’ll dig a bit deeper into the problems and shortcomings I see with the classical description of science – and I’ll propose a new formulation that I hope overcomes many of these difficulties.





In this blog series, I describe a new approach to understanding science and the scientific method.  As a research scientist, I was quite unsatisfied with the standard approach to teaching and understanding these topics.  I believe my new approach is easier to understand and also overcomes many of the shortcomings of the traditional approach.