Why science is not about truth

Why science is not about truth

Why science is not about truth


“What exactly is science about?”

Although this might sound completely iconoclastic, I would say that the worst thing a you could learn from a science class is that everything you have learned is true. This type of thinking is completely contradictory to the soul of what science is. Before we go on any further, we need to have a basis for what science is. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, Science is defined as “any system of knowledge that is concerned with the physical world and its phenomena and that entails unbiased observations and systematic experimentation.” To break it down, science is about building a network of knowledge about the natural world using empirical observation and testing. And that word observation is what science is truly about. We do not know what processes go on in the universe, we simply know what we perceive them to be. We can’t state these processes as fact, but we can state what we have observed

“So Science is not about truth, shouldn’t that mean that I don’t have to take everything it says seriously? I mean, I might as well believe in fairy tales or engage in climate change denial or spout that vaccines cause Autism “

No!! If you think this then you still are not getting the point. Even though we can not state these results as a matter of fact we still need to respect what it says. This probably sounds very confusing at first, how can something be not true yet we can’t just forsake it? Well, ll, let’s think about it. Fundamentally, science is a framework of organized knowledge.  In fact, in the German language, the world for science translates to “Wissenschaft” or “knowledge-build”. And in order to build upon this knowledge for a particular subject, a new theory must pass through rigorous empirical validation, meaning that it’s central components have gone through numerous trials to sort out it’s accuracy. And once it is confirmed for accuracy, it can officially be considered apart of the canon. And if later results show that a theory proves to be inaccurate or incomplete, then it must be updated as so. And this is what differentiates science from other forms of obtaining knowledge. With science, your entire argument must be based on hard, solid evidence. It can’t just be on what “feels good”.

To sum it up Science is not a collection of “truths” but is an empirical and inductive method of building a rigorous framework of knowledge, and is something that must be respected. 

One thought on “Why science is not about truth

  1. Great post and I completely agree with you. My entire physics class seemed to be in shock when my teacher said that what she’s teaching are just widely accepted theories but if new evidence is found that opposes the theory our understanding of the theory must then change to keep consistent with the evidence.
    Our knowledge is constantly adapting to new empirical evidence which is the point of science 🙂


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