Science gives us a tool to work out whether what we experience is real and what we are told is true.

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"Science gives us a tool to work out whether what we experience is real and what we are told is true."


 Nicola Montague-Patel

Firstly, what is science? There are numerous possible answers to that, one of which could be “Is it to question, observe, and hypothesize about what we see or at least think we can see?”

Over the millennia scientists have used tools and instruments to observe, conduct experiments, to record data from those experiments and to draw logical conclusions be they practical (i.e. visible) or purely hypothetical. Often in order to conduct scientific study in a new area scientists also needed to invent the very tools and instruments needed to perform the experiments.

In all instances we know that conducting single experiments in isolation will not provide enough data to prove or disprove any theory. Scientist’s always seek to build a viable case; this process can often involve many years of striving to collect further experimental evidence and proof for their theories. There is a repetitive element to scientific experimentation due to inherent uncertainties, especially if the area of study is new. In the world of science proving a scientific theory is just as important as perhaps disproving the theory. In many cases scientific theories are frequently proved or disproved many years after the original proposals were made and all too frequently many years after the demise of the proposer.

From these initial ideas we can deduce the scientific study should not be undertaken lightly and without a great deal of commitment to ones ideas. However, that has not and should not ever stop scientists from embarking on such endeavors.

Secondly, how do we determine “whether what we experience is real”, humans rely upon their senses in order to determine the nature of their experience. Let us suppose that we have all of our senses and that they are fully functional. Most people will use all of their sensory inputs in order to determine the reality of what they are experiencing. However, should we be skeptical about relying on these sensory inputs? We know that it is not impossible to fool or trick people into believing something to be real when patently it cannot be (a good example being tricks being performed by latter day magicians).

Finally, “what we are told is true”; this is a very broad and open statement. Many factors must be taken into account before deciding the validity of facts, information or theories presented. In some cases it could be argued that the general public will often believe what they want to believe despite evidence to the contrary. In these instances we have to rely upon the integrity and honesty of those presenting the ideas, data etc. Whilst we can generally believe that most people have these qualities, many a human will have tried and succeeded in the dissemination of false information as “truth”, with or without dire consequences as history has shown.

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"Science gives us a tool to work out whether what we experience is real and what we are told is true."  If we take this statement as a whole it can be interpreted in many ways. In order to help conceptualize the issues, we could fall back upon two of the foremost philosophers of their age Aristotle and Plato who respectively had a common goal to find the truth behind what their world was comprised of. The means by which they intended to achieve this aim were both quite different:

(“Aristotle believed that everything in the world could be understood ...

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