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Welcome to the Tuesday Coffee Hour here on Street Prophets. This is an open thread where we can hang out and talk about what’s going on in our worlds. I’m going to be coordinating a Scholars Seminar next semester on the topic of Science and Citizenship. To start our conversation today, I thought I’d post some quotes about the nature of science.

Guy Harrison, in his book 50 Popular Beliefs That People Think are True, writes:

“Science is imperfect and based largely on failure. It advances by riding on the backs of mistakes. Scientists make errors and then try to learn from these failures. The first thing that happens when a new discovery is made public or a new theory proposed is that scientists around the world try to figure out how they can tear it down.”

“Science is a brutal and unforgiving gauntlet because nothing is ever really proven ‘true’ in the final sense. In science, everything is left open to correction forever.”

“Science has been able to give us so much because it relies on evidence and experiments to make discoveries and answer questions. Scientists are able to do great work because they accept failures and learn from them.”

Lawrence Principe, in his book The Scientific Revolution: A Very Short Introduction, writes:
“Science is more than the study and accumulation of knowledge about the natural world. From the late Middle Ages down to our own day, scientific knowledge has been used increasingly to change that world, to give human beings greater power over it, and to create the new worlds in which we now live so much of our lives, seemingly ever more separated from the natural world.”
Republicans are well-known for their anti-science attitudes and their preference for making decisions which are not based in reality. While they may claim that there is conflict between science and religion (and by “religion” they usually mean their interpretation of fundamentalist Protestant Christianity), there are many religious leaders who would disagree with this conflict.

What do you think? Is there a conflict between science and religion? Should we being using science in making governmental decisions?

Originally posted to Street Prophets on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 02:06 PM PST.

Also republished by SciTech.

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