The Principal Elements of the Nature of Science: Dispelling the Myths

  • William F. McComas
Part of the Science & Technology Education Library book series (CTISE, volume 5)

Conclusions

The message from the Science and Engineering Indicators Study (National Science Board, 1996) discussed in the first chapter, and from an evaluation of the myths of science presented here is simple. We must rethink the goals for science instruction. Both students and those who teach science must focus on the nature of science itself rather than just its facts and principles. School science must give students an opportunity to experience science and its processes, free of the legends, misconceptions and idealizations inherent in the myths about the nature of the scientific enterprise. There must be increased opportunity for both beginning and experienced teachers to learn about and apply the real rules of the game of science accompanied by careful review of textbooks to remove the “creeping fox terriers” that have helped provide an inaccurate view of science and its nature. Only by clearing away the mist of half-truths and revealing science in its full light, with knowledge of both its strengths and limitations, will all learners appreciate the true pageant of science and be able to judge fairly its processes and products.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. American Association for the Advancement of Science (1993). Benchmarks for science literacy, New York, Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Bacon, F. 1952 (1620). ‘The new organon’, in R. M. Hutchins, (ed.), Great books of the western world, Vol. 30. The works of Francis Bacon, Chicago, Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc., 107–195.Google Scholar
  3. Campbell, N. (1953). What is science?, New York, Dover Publications.Google Scholar
  4. Carey, S. S. (1994). A beginners guide to scientific method, Belmont, CA, Wadsworth Publishing Company.Google Scholar
  5. Chaikin, A. (1994). A man on the Moon: The voyages of the Apollo astronauts. New York, Viking Press.Google Scholar
  6. Chalmers, A. (1990). Science and its fabrication, Minneapolis, MN, University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  7. Cole, K.C. (1986).’ Things your teacher never told you about science: Nine shocking revelations!’, The Newsday Magazine, March 23, 21–27Google Scholar
  8. Darwin, C.R. (1958). The autobiography of Charles Darwin, Nora Barlow (ed.), New York, W.W. Norton & Company.Google Scholar
  9. Dunbar, R. (1995). The trouble with science, Cambridge, MA, Haward University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Gibbs, A. and Lawson, AE. (1992). ‘The nature of scientific thinking as reflected by the work of biologists and by biology textbooks’, The American Biology Teacher, (54), 137–152.Google Scholar
  11. Gjertsen, D. (1989). Science and philosophy past and present, New York, Penguin Books.Google Scholar
  12. Gould, S.J. (1991). ‘An essay on a pig roast’, in Bully for brontosaurus, New York, W.W Norton, 432–447.Google Scholar
  13. Gould, S.J. (1988). ‘The case of the creeping fox terrier clone’, Natural History, (96), 16–24.Google Scholar
  14. Hallam, A (1975). ‘Alfred Wegener and the hypothesis of continental drift’, Scientific American, (2322), 88–91.Google Scholar
  15. Hodson, D. (1986). ‘The nature of scientific observation’, School Science Review, (68), 17–28.Google Scholar
  16. Homer, J.K. & Rubba, P.A (1979). ‘The laws are mature theories fable’, The Science Teacher, (46), 31.Google Scholar
  17. Horner, J.K. & Rubba, P.A. (1978). ‘The myth of absolute truth’, The Science Teacher, (45),29–30.Google Scholar
  18. Huizenga, J.R. (1992). Cold fusion: The scientific fiasco of the century, Rochester, NY, University of Rochester Press.Google Scholar
  19. Keeslar, 0. (1945a). ‘A survey of research studies dealing with the elements of scientific method’, Science Education. (29), 212–216.Google Scholar
  20. Keeslar, 0. (1945b). ‘The elements of scientific method’, Science Education, (29), 273–278.Google Scholar
  21. Klayman, R A., Slocombe, W. B., Lehman, J. S. and Kaufman, B.S. 1986. ‘Amicus curiae brief of 72 Nobel laureates, 17 state academies of science, and 7 other scientific organizations, in support of appellees’, in support of Appellees. Edwards v. Aguillard, 85–1513.Google Scholar
  22. Kuhn, T. S. (1970). The structure of scientific revolutions. 2nd edition, Chicago, IL, University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  23. Lopushinsky, T. (1993). ‘Does science deal in truth?’, The Journal of College Science Teaching, 23, 208.Google Scholar
  24. Medawar. P. B. (1963). ‘Is the scientific paper a fraud?’, in P B. Medawar (1991), The threat and the glory. New York, Harper Collins. (228–233)Google Scholar
  25. Menard, H. W. (1986). The ocean of truth: a personal history of global tectonics, Princeton, NJ, Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  26. National Research Council (1996). The national science education standards, Washington, D.C., National Academy Press.Google Scholar
  27. National Science Board (1996). Science and engineering indicators: 1996, Washington, D.C., United States. Government Printing Office (NSB 96-21).Google Scholar
  28. Newton, I. (1946). Sir Isaac Newton’ s mathematical principles of natural philosophy and his system of the world, A Motte, trans; revised and appendix supplied by F. Cajori, Berkeley, CA, University of California Press, (Original work published 1720).Google Scholar
  29. Popper, K.R. (1968). The logic of scientific discovery, 2nd ed. revised, New York, Harper Torchbooks.Google Scholar
  30. Popper, K.R. (1963). Conjectures and refutations: the growth of scientific knowledge, New York, Harper and Row.Google Scholar
  31. Rhodes, G. and Schaible, R. (1989). ‘Fact, law, and theory, ways of thinking in science and literature’, Journal of College Science Teaching, 18, 228–232 & 288.Google Scholar
  32. Rothman, M.A. (1992). The science gap, Buffalo, NY, Prometheus Books.Google Scholar
  33. Schwab, J.J. (1964). Theteadung of science as enquiry, in J.J. Schwab & P.F. Brandwein (eds), The teaching of science, Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press, 31–102.Google Scholar
  34. Sonleitner, F.J. (1989). ‘Theories, laws and all that’, National Center for Science Education, Newsletter, 9, 3–4.Google Scholar
  35. Shreeve, J. (1995). The Neandertal enigma: Solving the mystery of modern human origins, New York, William Morrow and Company.Google Scholar
  36. Taubes, G. (1993). Bad science: The short life and weird times of cold fusion, New York, Random House.Google Scholar
  37. Tobias, S. (1990). They’ re not dumb, they’re different: Stalking the second tier, Tucson, AZ, The Research Corporation.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • William F. McComas
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA

Personalised recommendations