Science is the systematic study of observations in order to acquire knowledge and forming empirical methods about the physical and biological world. Earlier in pre-scientific times, people were more likely to believe in magical and supernatural explanations for natural phenomena like eclipses, earthquakes, thunderstorms, etc. By contrast, scientifically minded people looked out for reasons to figure out the natural world through testing and observation. But Skeptics often question, why science can’t explain all the natural phenomena happening around the world? But, we need to keep it in mind that science is not magic, it couldn’t solve humanity’s problems but sure is the most powerful method for acquiring knowledge about the observable universe. Some of the essential elements of science are-
- Systematic observation- Scientists observe, record, and measure the data systematically. Recording the data is necessary so that our memory biases are not able to creep in.
- Observations lead to hypothesis- Hypothesis and theories are such to be stated that they could be tested. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary pieces of evidence.
- Democratic- Nowadays science has gone democratic, earlier people were willing to accept the views of their kings, pharaohs, or priests. But itis not so, nowadays it doesn’t matter how reputable one is if their theories do not conform to the data, it is invalid. Earlier scientists like Copernicus, Galileo faced discrimination, because of the autocracy of the priests of the church.
- Cumulative- Science is cumulative. Today a physics student or chemistry would know more than Newton, Rutherford could ever know, despite being eminent scientists of their time. This is so because we learn from earlier advances, so as to build on them and move farther along the path of knowledge.
- Relevant- It is related to reality rather than floating in space.
- Consistent- Science is consistent. It has consequences, answers relevant questions, and pursues promising leads.
There are many people who have made substantial positive contributions to humanity in modern times. Exempli Gratia, Dr. Edward Jenner, often considered the father of immunology since he was first to conceive of and test vaccines. His pioneering work led directly to the eradication of smallpox. Fritz Haber and Norman Borlaug created The Green revolution by producing hybrid agricultural crops and synthetic fertilizers due to which we are able to meet the needs of seven billion people on people. The starvation caused is due to the political and economic factors rather our collective ability to produce food. Earlier there were fewer cars, telephones, refrigeration or electricity but now tables have just turned. 80% of the population has televisions, 84% have access to electricity all thanks to the scientific community and their inventions. Average life expectancy has substantially increased from 47 years in the 90s to 75+ years in the contemporary world. Even average IQ has also been increased due to better schooling and nutrition. All these advances are going to continue, there would be no saturation in the foreseeable future. In a civilized society democracy is prevalent in every field, be it science or any other. Therefore people should be able to take criticism and not be ignorant and contribute most to the society rather than blindly following rituals that have been there for ages.
It won’t be tangible to talk about all the feats of science in such a short space and time. Science is vast than we could imagine, therefore we should introspect into our lives and look for ways in which we can contribute to it.