Collins American Dictionary Definition

  1. the state of fact of knowledge; knowledge;
  2. a.  the systematized knowledge of nature and physical world

Author’s Definition

  1. the systematic knowledge of the natural world gained through observation and experiment.

Note: This definition of physics and chemistry excludes matter/energy with embedded intelligence because conflating science with philosophy causes confusion. 

Merriam-Webster’s first definition is “the state of knowing.” This definition applies to any field, e.g., art and philosophy. It implies that something that is not understood is not science, e.g., entanglement, dark matter and energy. I am sure that scientists would disagree. And the phrase “the science of (fill in the blank)” is commonly used even as titles of classes and curriculum in universities.

I learned that  science is about the physical sciences (physics and chemistry) and philosophy was about the mind (logic, math) by the department they were taught. However, engineering was in the school of science. But this was over 50 years ago. I see that today, the sciences are typically divided into two divisions, natural sciences and formal or applied sciences. Natural sciences are what I thought of as “science” and engineering as applied science. Applied science implies adding intelligence to science and fits the idea that engineering merges the realms of science and philosophy.

However, mathematics, now called a formal1 or applied science should stay as in the realm of philosophy as it is a mental abstraction, in my opinion.

For the purposes of this site, the term science, without an adjective, means physics and chemistry, geology, weather, etc. or natural science. 

Part of the purpose of this site is to make a clear distinction between outcomes that result from natural causes (laws of physics sans intelligence) and matter/energy with embedded intelligence resulting from engineered manipulation, and that science and intelligence are two separate things.. This is impossible to do if terminology used is not clearly defined and understood. 

The proponents of ID have argued life is only possible because of a mind, and the probability that something with the coherence and complexity exceed the limits of reason. These arguments are absolutely true and it would seem that the debate should be settled. But it isn’t. The concepts put forward offer alternative ways to think about the issues involved, amplify the ID argument, and provide means to falsify materialist claims.

Since writing the paper “On the Limits of Natural Causes”, I’ve found that many scientists think of science being a process unrelated to any particular topic. I’ve always associated it with the natural world only, thinking that is the proper interpretation, but maybe it is not.  If the definition of science is agreed to be a method of pursuing knowledge of any topic, then I would need to change the word science to physics or biology when referring to the field of endevour, or scientific method when referring to process of gaining knowledge in my writing.

© 2016 Mike Van Schoiack

  1. I don’t understand the use of the term “formal”
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