The Role and Goal of science

Science has been misunderstood since its inception. Initially, very few people believed what science was capable of doing. There was no practical utility derived from science. The world was so much immersed in superstition, religion and long time tradition (American Association for Advancement of Science, 1990). The emergence of science threatened a continued survival of these institutions. However, even after science survived long time persecution still there came another misunderstanding. People tended to believe science is infallible. The human progress and accumulation of knowledge through scientific discoveries and experimentation were perceived to bring about certain knowledge of reality. To most people this kind of knowledge was indisputable. However, the most renowned scientists have argued for the fallibility of science (Kourany, 1997). It is not all about accumulation of facts, data and creation of certain knowledge but a continued attempt to understand the world that we live in.

Science and Knowledge of Reality
It is true that science has aided the interpretation of reality. Scientific theories and facts are therefore vital for a better understanding and interpretation of the world we live in. This interpretation is confined to only a portion of reality. There is no way science can be able to know everything about anything in reality (Carrol, 2009). In addition there is no scientific theory, no matter how grand, which can be proved with absolute certainty. Scientists are human beings and scientific knowledge is human knowledge (Carrol, 2009). The claims made by science are therefore not infallible as perceived by some people. The theories serve well for a period of time till some fault is found with the theory or a better one advanced. There are also possibilities of the said theory to be improved upon.

A theory is therefore rich and useful in a certain limited period of time. This is after it has been subjected and passed several tests. However, the same theory may fail the same tests that it successful passed earlier. This is referred to as falsifiability of scientific theories. Again, just like scientific theories, scientific facts are also fallible. This is because scientific facts too need interpretation. It is therefore accurate to say theories and knowledge of science are meant to explain specific phenomena. In brief scientific knowledge does not guarantee certain or exact knowledge of reality.

Despite uncertainty of scientific knowledge, science as a discipline is not delusional. There are certain scientific truths. The theories are considered to be either true or false after they are subjected to a number of empirical tests (Carrol, 2009). It is from these theories and further experimentation that discoveries are able to be made. In this way science has been able to drive off ignorance, delusions and superstitions that are predominant in human society (American Association for Advancement of Science, 1990). In addition it is for the same reason that most people have wrongly perceived science to bring about certain knowledge of reality.

Science and Facts or Data
As much as there are lots facts or data collected by scientific research, it is not the primary role of science. The theories advanced by scientists are meant to aid the understanding of the world. It is out of these theories that facts or data is derived. The goal of science is therefore to develop ideas by means of thought, observation, experimentation and validation (American Association for Advancement of Science, 1990). With this goal in mind it is inevitable for scientists to come up with certain facts useful to human beings. Theories that are able to prove facts are perceived practical in the scientific community. Despite apparent utility such theories are confined to a specific phenomenon. Nevertheless, the value of a particular theory does not hinder scientists from subjecting it to a number of tests. It is therefore the role of science to continue to advance more theories about the world. The theories are constantly subjected to tests in order to establish their practicability.
Since scientists have to constantly test theories in order to come up with the most accurate it has been mistake as the primary role of science. This is just a process of which the end is to derive most precise description of the world. There is no alternative perception of the world apart from the human perception. Scientists too are human beings. Their observation can only be true or false after approval from further experiments. For this reason scientist have to rely on a trial and error method.

According to science the world can be understood by human beings through careful study and the use of a number of instruments. The basic rules of the universe are applicable everywhere. This means the knowledge that has been gained in one part of the universe can be applied in other parts as well. Since it is a process of careful observation of phenomena then it is prune to change. As scientists continue to observe nature closely theories are constantly tested and subjected to proof. For this reason each and every scientific idea is subject to change. There is no certain knowledge of reality.
Nevertheless for knowledge to qualify as scientific it must be durable. Initially theories and ideas may arise as accidents or guesses but through empirical tests some of these ideas are established as scientific truths. Scientists try as much as possible to improve on existing ideas as opposed to absolute rejection. Most of the ideas in modern scientific community are an improvement of ideas from earlier scientists. It is this process of constant production of knowledge which is referred to as science.


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