Copyright (c) 2012 Morgan D
The origin of modern science is traced back in a period of rapid scientific development in Europe in the years 1500-1700 called scientific revolution. The initial step of its development was the Copernican revolution which placed the stationary earth at the center of the universe with the sun and planets in orbit around it (Okasha, 2002).The innovation led to development of modern physics which had discoveries that the planets do not revolve in orbits but ellipses (p.3).Scientists like Galileo were able to first show mathematics language which described the behavior of actual objects in the material world(Okasha,2002).Such principles and others developed according to history are carried to date and are useful in claiming and proofing scientific theories.
Modern science is characterized by determinism according to research psychologists (Myers,).One of the aspects is gathering of empirical data. Modern scientists describe the order that exists in the universe in a systematic way of collecting observable data. They advocate for systematic observation and classification of naturally occurring events (p.12).The data is then verified or disapproved through investigation. Modern science is again characterized by seeking general principles where scientists go beyond mere observations to propose theories that explain structure. The principles or theories are tested to predict results which form the corner stone of science where they are used to explain phenomenon.
Another feature of modern science is critical thinking which involves systematic, objective and rational interpretation of data (Myers,).The scientists don’t allow their personal beliefs or anticipations to influence their observations or conclusions(p.14).Emphasis is laid on simplicity, precision and clarity of thoughts by avoiding making unnecessary assumptions to support arguments.
Modern scientists also accept the uncertainty of their conclusions by self-correction (Myer,).They admit that scientific content is flexible to changing world and so amendments in the theories are necessary for progress in that the greater the evidence supporting them, the higher the truth of its proposition. Finally, modern science publicizes its results where the scientists, professionals and special interest groups often converge to exchange ideas.
Induction is the opposite of deduction which is a process of forming universal propositions. For example, if one needs to ascertain that there is something true about volcanic mountains, one has to confirm it for every specific volcanic mountain before ruling out it out as true. The conclusion cannot be true if the evidence is incomplete. Modern science is concerned with discovery of universal theories which explain the existing facts and predict new ones (McFarlane, 2002).Scientific knowledge cannot progress if the universal laws are unprovable according to induction. It emphasizes on the need to weed out the unsatisfactory theories which are not easily identifiable. This brings in Popper’s point of a logical asymmetry of verification or falsification of the theories.
Popper argued that falsifiability is a criterion which brings a distinction between science and nonscience. It is the feasibility of rejecting empirical conclusions by rendering every testable universal law as falsifiable. The concept regards everything as criticisable and therefore distinguishes the useful theories from the worthless ones which bring in the issue of demarcation. The problem finds criterion for distinguishing between empirical sciences, mathematics and logic. Popper suggests that since scientific theories need to be tested, then falsifiability is a demarcation between science and pseudoscience. The criterion leads to the idea that science develops through a process of conjectures and refutations of testing proposed theories (Mcfarlane, 2002).