Calm down; it’s probably not what you think

Fundamentalism is sticking with the foundations, the heart or core of something. It can accept additional things that are built up from that solid beginning, but rejects additions that get away from it.

For science, we must keep in mind that it is a tool that we humans devised for learning about and understanding the natural world and how it works. It is a method for investigating the world around us and discovering how much we can know for sure.

The fundamentals of science are:

  • Observability: science deals with things that are detectable by human senses, or with the aid of instrumentation.
  • Repeatability: science does not deal with claims that cannot be confirmed by multiple observations, preferably by different people. As they’ve said on Mythbusters, “If it ain’t repeatable, it ain’t science.”
  • Public Records: Science was greatly aided by the practice of making detailed records of observations and sharing them with others. Greater openness in sharing techniques and results, the printing press, photography, and scientific instruments that record what they detect have contributed to making scientific discoveries certain.
  • Demonstrability: All of the above combined, then refined and further repeated.
  • Constrained: Rather than simply accepting positive results, related but different observations are made, and when possible well-designed, controlled experiments are done, to rule out (as far as possible) other explanations. Supernatural causes are naturally beyond the application of the method.
  • Practical: Initial results may not appear to have any practical applications, but eventually the discoveries will lead to practices or devices that have uses beneficial to humans.

What science (the fundamental core of science) is not:

  • The attempt to explain everything (or everything in the natural world of matter and energy) as if nothing but matter, energy, and natural forces and processes have ever existed.
  • Based on popularity or consensus, even of the vast majority of scientists or the leading authorities.
  • Based on consistency of results — although consistency is important, it is not sufficient.
  • Based on correlation of facts — correlation is not causation.
  • Based on simplicity of explanation. It is wise to give first consideration to simple explanations compared to elaborate ones, but this is only a rule of thumb.

Keeping these points in mind, we can not only separate science from pseudoscience, but also discover that some areas now accepted as science have gotten off the base. These areas can be removed from science without losing anything of practical application. This fundamentalist science is also perfectly compatible with fundamentalist Christianity and creationism.

Please keep in mind, I’m Not Claiming This Is My Idea…

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