What is a Scientific Fact?
not be believed for what they are, but for what they explain.
It is said
that half of the information in a science textbook is outdated within
a few decades. So what then constitutes a scientific fact? From
the point of view of outdated science textbooks, it can be concluded
that biology is a historical science, i.e., a scientific fact has
a history and could not be understood without understanding its
history. The changing knowledge in science is the result of refutations
or the falsification of a theory (see Karl Popper).
What has not
been refuted can be considered a scientific fact. This is a functional
definition and pays tribute to the 'fact' that knowledge changes
with time, and it is exactly this historical starting point that
will be adhered to most rigorously here. When looking beyond the
physical sciences, theories often lack mathematical formalism. So
how do we get hold of a fact? What is there that defines the relationship
between hypothesis, experiment and theory?
from the biological sciences shall shed light on the process of
acquiring scientific knowledge as we will gain hold on the concept
of a 'scientific fact' in the process. The example offered here
is about the currently accepted model of the structure of biological
cell membrane as a scientific fact
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Copyright © 2000-2003 Lukas