Science and Terminology

So, the word science is one of the most abused terms in modern discourse.

I have heard the word science being used to refer to:

  1. Nature (Look at all the science…when it’s actually a mountain or the sky being looked at)
  2. Technology (this kind of makes sense but it isn’t the same)
  3. Mathematics (this baffles me)
  4. The views of scientists about anything in particular
  5. The process of doing lab work (this is only referred to as science very rarely and when it is done, it is in a sort of idealized sense)
  6. The findings of a particular science experiment or meta-analysis (journalists all the time)
  7. The lay of a land in a particular field
  8. The word “biology” is sometimes used to refer the physical processes in a living being.
  9. Moral Positions (Sam Harris)
  10. Philosophical Positions (Richard Dawkins)
  11. Religious commitments (certain Christian apologists)
  12. Political positions  (lots of politicians)
  13. Pictures of outer space (every meme on The Facebook)
  14. Facts about nature (The ocean is deep, I love science!)
  15. Speculation about galactic civilization (not kidding here)
  16. Any actual knowledge (people who say, “We can only know things via science…then collapse things they know by other means into science)

Words have plastic meaning, that’s fine. But what often happens in disagreement is that people will use one of these many meanings and then default back to meaning sixteen.


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