Why is the word Science so difficult to define?
It’s actually easy to define if one is not avoiding discomfort. If not, one simply describes the essential behavior involved. Unfortunately, of those people who define the word, most cannot tolerate the discomfort provoked by radical, exciting science. Therefore, they awkwardly define science in a way that disqualifies subjects that provoke their discomfort. They cannot allow science to be what it really is. The typical result is a blithering pile of ambiguous terms that no one understands or remembers.
For example, Oxford Dictionaries gives us: The intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment.
Similarly, from Britain’s Science Council: Science is the pursuit of knowledge and understanding of the natural and social world following a systematic methodology based on evidence.
The essential behavior of science is not plainly stated above. Science means learning. What type of learning? Science is the process of learning new information, i.e. new to humanity. Anything that opposes learning also opposes science. “Scientific” refers to attitudes and practices that support learning. A “scientist” is someone who learns or pursues learning of new information.
How is new information learned? Observation is indispensable. Avoidance of observation equals opposition to science. How does one observe when conducting science? If one is sincerely trying to learn, one observes in any way possible, by any means available—including subjective experience of feelings and intuition. To disqualify any means of observation equals opposition to science.
Exactly what does one observe when learning new information? If one is trying to learn, one observes everything that can be observed—including feelings and intuition, which are often (but not always) essential data. How do we know what constitutes relevant data? Data equals observation. We need to acknowledge all observations, repeat them if possible, then strive to see how they contribute to our learning process. If they indeed contribute to learning, such observations are called “evidence.”
Importantly, when trying to learn, one must observe the phenomenon in question, whatever that may be. A neat word for the “phenomenon in question” is reality. Reality must be distinguished from simulated reality, which will never equal reality. Simulations are often used—by people who avoid observation of reality—to attack and disprove reality. The simulation does not allow reality to happen, thus the public is tricked into believing that the phenomenon in question is fraudulent.
A simple, concrete definition of science emerges: Observation of reality for the purpose of learning new information. The complementary definition of science—as a body of knowledge—refers to information that is already learned, versus the learning process.
However, dysfunction complicates everything. In this case, when people cannot tolerate learning about radical subjects, they discourage learning with every possible tactic. For example, when defining “science,” they don’t allow it to be a simple definition of a type of learning. They use words that invite attack on unwelcome subjects—e.g. systematic, evidence, natural—which are defined by popular opinion. In other words, if they cannot tolerate a subject, they exclude the subject from their definition of science. It becomes morally inferior, something that one should never learn. For example, if they don’t like the evidence, they simply say that there’s no evidence. This is equivalent to asserting that no observations have been made, which is seldom correct. Or, the subject is “supernatural,” as opposed to “natural,” and therefore cannot be studied with the methods of science. Limited methods equals prohibited observation, which opposes learning. Insidiously, they will say that a simulation is “systematic.” Avoidance of reality is not systematic learning.
The word Science has been hijacked by those who are compelled by dysfunction to prevent science from happening. “If we don’t like the subject, then it cannot be science.” Therefore, it should not be funded, observed, taught, or otherwise acknowledged. It should not be learned. Learning becomes immoral, while those who learn are called “stupid,” including actual scientists who make helpful discoveries.