Nature Science

6230 Words25 Pages
Christine V. McLelland
GSA Distinguished Earth Science Educator in Residence

Reviewers and Contributors:
Gary B. Lewis Director, Education and Outreach, Geological Society of America

Contributing GSA Education Committee members:

Rob Van der Voo University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Mich. Keith A. Sverdrup University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Wis. Mary M. Riestenberg College of Mount Saint Joseph, Cincinnati, Ohio Virginia L. Peterson Grand Valley State University, Allendale, Mich. Wendi J.W. Williams University of Arkansas, Little Rock, Ark. Sandra Rutherford Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, Mich. Larissa Grawe DeSantis University of Florida, Gainesville, Fla. Aida Awad Des Plaines, Ill. Stephen R. Mattox Grand Valley State
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Falsifiability is the principle that a proposition or theory cannot be scientific if it does not admit the possibility of being shown false. Science takes the whole universe and any and all phenomena in the natural world under its purview, limited only by what is feasible to study given our current physical and fiscal limitations. Anything that cannot be observed or measured or shown to be

false is not amenable to scientific investigation. Explanations that cannot be based on empirical evidence are not a part of science (National Academy of Sciences, 1998). Science is, however, a human endeavor and is subject to personal prejudices, misapprehensions, and bias. Over time, however, repeated reproduction and verification of observations and experimental results can overcome these weaknesses. That is one of the strengths of the scientific process. Scientific knowledge is based on some assumptions (after Nickels, 1998), such as • The world is REAL; it exists apart from our sensory perception of it. • Humans can accurately perceive and attempt to understand the physical universe. • Natural processes are sufficient to explain or account for natural phenomena or events. In other words, scientists must explain the natural in terms of the natural (and not the supernatural, which, lacking any independent evidence, is not falsifiable and therefore not science), although humans may not currently recognize what
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