Scientists aren’t always right, and new evidence can always emerge to disprove a theory. Still, philosophy helps explain why there is good reason for us to trust science regardless.
Two simple rules can help us identify future-proof science.
Some scientists believe the ‘free energy principle’ can explain the behaviour of all living things – but others say it paints the world with too broad a brush to be useful.
Cutting-edge theories of physics suggest time may not be real – but even if they’re right, life can still go on as usual.
Scientists need to be good at asking questions, investigating the world to find answers, and keeping in mind that no matter how much they know, there’s always more to learn.
Did humans invent mathematics or does it exist independently?
‘Reality, including ourselves, is nothing but a thin and fragile veil’: a new interpretation of quantum physics says objects have no independent existence.
Politics always influences what questions scientists ask. Their intertwined relationship becomes a problem when politics dictates what answers science is allowed to find.
Quantum mechanics is strange. A philosopher explains just how strange, and what it means for reality.
What did Pythagoras do with all those triangles, anyway?
A new twist on an old experiment reveals several common-sense ideas about reality can’t all be true.
If expert advice on the pandemic turns out to be wrong, it will have dire consequences for how reliable scientific evidence is treated in other policy areas, such as climate change.
Scientific models can help us understand the important features of complex systems, but they need good data.
Are molecules, chairs, genes and humans really just the sum of their physical parts? A team of philosophers are trying to find out.
Scientists can’t expect the unexpected if they’re not open-minded about how their theories might be wrong.
Are you dreaming that you’re awake or are you living in a computer simulation? There might be no way to be sure.
Science should be about answering the “what if?” questions, but is that under threat by the privatisation of science and the drive for results ahead of any competition?
Science isn’t cold, hard facts uncovered by emotionless robots. Acknowledging how and where values play a role promotes a more realistic view and can advance science’s reputation for reliability.
Phrases like “knowledge production” conceal the fact that knowledge answers to something beyond itself and beyond us. To produce knowledge is to find out about something.
The final post in this series on how to understand and report science steps back to look at what science is, and what it isn’t.