The Science and Culture Initiative  

The mission of the Science and Culture Initiative is to promote public understanding of science, scientific thinking, and the connections between science and other forms of culture.

 

Science, which is one of the many facets of modern culture, attempts to explain the world and how it works.  It is possible to conceive of all aspects of culture, from the arts and humanities to science, as ways of explaining things.  In the arts and humanities the explanations are generally about things that arise in the mind—feelings, emotions, opinions, and the like—whereas scientific explanations are about things in the natural world.   Another very important difference is that scientific explanations must be consistent with the way the world actually is, whereas non-scientific explanations need not be.  But no matter what an explanation is about, whether it is scientific or not, it stems from the same place: the inescapably relentless drive to explain that is the signature characteristic of our species.

 

Science and technology are hugely important in today’s world.  People who understand science and the scientific process will certainly be better prepared to make critical decisions on science-related issues affecting their own lives as well as those affecting society as a whole.  But anyone who embraces the foundation of the scientific process, scientific thinking, in which ideas aren’t accepted just because someone says so but because they are supported by evidence and are consistent with the sum total of knowledge, will make better decisions whether they involve science or not.