What is Science?

What is science?

Before we address this, good to note what it isn't, because popular culture tends to confuse the issue significantly.

Why do we need a Scientific Method?

Because the human mind doesn't automatically process information in a way that's conducive to scientific thinking.

Consider Thomas Kida's Six-Pack of Problems.


To protect us from these natural tendencies, we have developed a range of critical thinking skills. Think of them as the mental equivalent to martial arts skills. They don't come naturally but are very powerful, and have to be learned. They include:

The hypothetico-deductive method of science


The Scientific Method

The guiding principle of scientific inquiry was perhaps best summed up by a non-scientist, the novelist Arthur Conan Doyle, who placed into the mouth of his character Mycroft Holmes these words:

"First we eliminate the impossible options. What is left, however improbable, is the truth."

The modern practice of science is based on a method that employs that principle, with a little twist.

Key components of the scientific method: