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This information in its present form is not in your textbook, so please read it carefully here, and pay close attention to the words in boldface and the definitions in italics.Science is not merely a collection of facts, concepts, and useful ideas about nature, or even the systematic investigation of nature, although both are common definitions of science.But scientific thinking is not reserved solely for scientists.
The scientific method has proven to be the most reliable and successful method of thinking in human history, and it is quite possible to use scientific thinking in other human endeavors.
For this reason, critical thinking--the application of scientific thinking to all areas of study and topics of investigation--is being taught in schools throughout the United States, and its teaching is being encouraged as a universal ideal.
Reliable knowledge is sometimes called justified true belief, to distinguish reliable knowledge from belief that is false and unjustified or even true but unjustified.
(Please note that I do not, as some do, make a distinction between belief and knowledge; I think that what one believes is one's knowledge.
To succeed in this science course and, more specifically, to answer some of the questions on the first exam, you should be familiar with a few of the concepts regarding the definition of science, scientific thinking, and the methods of science.
Most textbooks do an inadequate job of this task, so this essay provides that information.
There are other methods of discovering and learning knowledge about nature (these other knowledge methods or systems will be discussed below in contradistinction to science), but science is the only method that results in the acquisition of reliable knowledge.
Reliable knowledge is knowledge that has a high probablility of being true because its veracity has been justified by a reliable method.
Empirical evidence is important because it is evidence that others besides yourself can experience, and it is repeatable, so empirical evidence can be checked by yourself and others after knowledge claims are made by an individual.
Empirical evidence is the only type of evidence that possesses these attributes and is therefore the only type used by scientists and critical thinkers to make vital decisions and reach sound conclusions.