"How science works"

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An interactive flowchart/concept map from Berkeley's Understanding Science project. Click around a while, and tell me what you think of it. Accurate? Too simple? Useful?

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Well, I suppose I could shoe horn the "poke-and-hope" elements of [at least some biological] sciences under the "exploration and discovery" label by simply saying they were "surprising observations." Genetics is particularly reliant upon chance mutations produced under mutagenic conditions for a vast level of its "surprising observations." Overall, though, I rather like the simplicity of it to explain the very basics, but like any visual representation of a thought process, it could be picked apart when you look at specifics.

Is it just me or does this resemble a technicolor version of the biohazard symbol?

For all the work done on what's in the circles, I think the arrows really need to be labeled or given a similar treatment to the circles. What exactly is flowing between the spheres and how do those flows happen? Why are the arrows around the edges only one way?

It's also quite separated from society as a whole. While I can see a simplicity reason for doing this, there is the downside of diminishing the contexts in which all this 'science' happens.

Here is something "interesting" from that Web site in the "Misconceptions" section:

Science contradicts the existence of God.
Because of some vocal individuals (both inside and outside of science) stridently declaring their beliefs, it's easy to get the impression that science and religion are at war. In fact, people of many different faiths and levels of scientific expertise see no contradiction at all between science and religion. Because science deals only with natural phenomena and explanations, it cannot support or contradict the existence of supernatural entities â like God. To learn more, visit our side trip Science and religion: Reconcilable differences.

This assertion has two problems with it: (1) It grossly conflates the reconciliability of science and religion as explanations of the nature of reality with some truth value versus the capacity for some individual human beings to reconcile the coexistence of religious and scientific conceptual frameworks in their own minds. (2) It presents one particular very controversial ideological position on the relationship between science and religion as if it were an undeniable fact.

I expected the graphics to be a navigation model, but they are not. After a couple of clicks one ends up in the middle of a linear set of regular static HTML with Next and Prev buttons, no way back to the model.

By Gray Gaffer (not verified) on 05 Feb 2010 #permalink

To my eye, it's all method and no motive. That may be the point, though.

By Mylasticus (not verified) on 09 Feb 2010 #permalink