Science

Here are two possible definitions of scientific knowledge, for your consideration:

(a) Scientific knowledge is knowledge produced by scientists.

(b) Scientific knowledge is knowledge produced according to the scientific method.

The two definitions are very different; if definition (a) is correct, science is something done by people with PhD’s in science subjects working as academics at universities, or working in corporate laboratories, or at non-profit research institutions or thinktanks, or working as scientists in government departments. On the other hand if definition (b) is correct science can be done by anyone, as long as they follow the scientific method; it’s the process that’s important.

A Venn diagram: an outer circle is labelled 'Knowledge', and contains two, overlapping, inner circles, which are labelled 'Knowledge produced by scientists' and 'Knowledge produced according to the scientific method'.

This is important because science plays a powerful and crucial role in how our society works – but “science” doesn’t always mean the same thing. Its meaning can shift from one moment to the next.

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