Science as ongoing story telling and story revision: repeated making of observations, interpreting and summarizing observations, making new observations, making new summaries ... individually and collectively
Science as skepticism, a style of inquiry that can be used for anything, one which everybody is equipped to to/can get better at/be further empowered by, and contribute to - a way of making sense of what is but even more of exploring what might yet be
Multiple stories for a given set of observations
3,5,7, .... ?
1+1=2 or 1+1=10?
Observations in turn depend on stories
Science is as much about creation as about discovery
If science is as much about creation as discovery then the "crack"is a feature, not a bug ... and differences among people are an asset to the process rather than a problem or an indication it isn't working
Is one or the other story true? Have there been others? Will there be others?
Scientific stories are frequently efforts to summarize the widest possible range of observations, always motivate new observations and hence new stories, should never be understood as "authoritative" or "believed in", do not compete with or invalidate other stories.
Key issues about scientific stories
What observations do they summarize?
What new observations do they motivate?
Which of the following stories do you prefer?
Existing life forms (including humans) are as they are because of a previous and ongoing process of evolution consisting of random change and natural selection (differential reproductive success).
Existing life forms (including humans) are as they are because of repeated creative acts of a supernatural being with a plan and intent?
Existing life forms (including humans) are as they are because of an initial creative act with a supernatural being with a plan and intent?
Because of ...
observations made by others (personally verified or not)?
Loopy story telling science is a tool to help one become better at thinking for oneself
at using observations and stories (of one's own and other peope) to make stories that motivate new observations that motivate new stories, to create as well as to discover
The "get it wrong" instead of "get it right" contrast has some problems
There are lots of ways to be "wrong", not all useful
Getting it "right" in a new way can be useful for creating new things
One can legitimately aspire to/enjoy being "right" in establishing that previous ways of making sense of things were "wrong"
The key here is that science as story suggests scientists should always be skeptical, not only of other peoples' stories but also their own, and should do so because that's the way to avoid becoming dogmatic/fundamentalist and so be capable of contributing to the next "less wrong" understanding. Its the latter that helps to distinguish between more and less useful "wrongs", helps to account for being "right" as a route to creating new things, and not only permits but encourages enjoyment of being locally "right" in suspecting that previous understandings were wrong.
Originally used for BMC summer research students (See "Right" and "Wrong" in Science (and Elsewhere) for student comments, continuing conversation), slightly modified and used for BMC science for college program (high school students) 26 June.
Played up "multiple stories" side more, noting observations change stories but (sun/earth) stories can co-exist, be chosen among for different reasons. Ditto re evolution. Cleaner distinction between "disproving" stories (not for any of evol possibilities) and choosing among them. See student thoughts.
Emphasized science as "loopy", went on to brain as loopy. Nice parallel emerged: brain as explorer, tester of models, multiple stories in science for same set of observations, ditto ambiguous figures. Story teller as way of acknowledging/making use of ambiguity.