Certainty in Science

Ross Koning koning at ECSUC.CTSTATEU.EDU
Fri Feb 20 13:15:41 EST 1998


At 11:05 AM -0500 2/20/98, Piero Morandini wrote:
--snip--
>I imagine NOBODY would analyse the soup your wife prepares for you this
>evening -if you fear I am not for equal opportunities say the chicken you
>bought for this evening- for the presence of poison.  You trust her (trust
>your local store), you know her.  You do not use a scientific method to
>reach certainty about her, do you?

The idea that science achieves certainty is
one worth discussing in classes too.  If our
statistical procedures allow a percentage of
error due to chance alone, is a PROOF possible?
As a science educator, I generally teach
"scientific proof" as an oxymoron. Our culture
hopes/demands proof from science, but all we
give back are piles of evidence culminating in
a THEORY. That word is a problem too...because
we mean a thoroughly-tested-never-rejected
hypothesis but they hear "speculation!"  Our
basic science education is failing if these
points of science are not made clearly.

ross

________________________________________________________________
Ross Koning                 | koning at ecsu.ctstateu.edu
Biology Department          | http://koning.ecsu.ctstateu.edu/
Eastern CT State University | phone: 860-465-5327
Willimantic, CT 06226 USA   | fax: 860-465-4479
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