0708-Towards a Scientific Culture

Background reading material for Yr 1 PPSD session on 08th August 2007 by Professor Omar Hasan Kasule Sr.


1.1 GETTING KNOWLEDGE: The mind must be trained to observe, analyze, think and act in a scientific manner. Blind following is condemned. Knowledge should be spread. Ignorance spreads when knowledge is lifted.  Knowledge removes blind following. Knowledge is acquired by study. Humans were ordained to read. Knowledge is so important that migration in its search is encouraged. Travel in search of knowledge is encouraged. Severe punishment is reserved for those who know and hide their knowledge from others. There is punishment for speaking without knowledge. Knowledge by itself is not useful unless it is associated with work


1.2 UNDERSTANDING: Understanding is deeper than knowing. It is possible but not desirable to know without understanding. Understanding is not possible without knowing.


1.3 THINKING: Thinking is very important in science. Thinking can lead to new knowledge or to deeper understanding or appreciation of existing knowledge. Thinking by observing the environment around us: living and non-living things. TheFreedom of thought and freedom of belief are necessary for thought to flourish.



2.1 DESCRIPTION OF THINGS IN THE ENVIRONMENT: The beginning of scientific development is description of what we see in the environment around us. Some of these descriptions appear simple but they are the beginning of scientific inquiry. Mountains are elevated, stable, but sometimes mobile. Barriers exist between waters of different oceans. Iron is beneficial to humans. The wind is a necessity for life. It raises clouds and sends them to cause rain. It pushes boats on water. Plants are described as of different kinds. The atmosphere is described as layers. Honey is a cure of disease. Water is described as the source of life.


2.2 DESCRIPTION OF CHANGES and MOTION: Around us we seen phenomena of motion of the earth, the boats, the sun, the moon, the water, and of the wind.


2.3 DESCRIPTION OF PROCESSES: Many processes around us can be described such as iron making, boat-building, growth of plants and animals.


2.4 DESCRIPTION OF THE CONSTANT LAWS OF NATURE: The laws of nature are fixed and stable. The laws operate in various situations: in change, reproduction, parity, in the past and in the present. Order is one of the most important laws of nature.


2.5 RECORDING OF OBSERVATIONS: For orderly scientific growth, observations must be recorded carefully.



3.1 EVIDENCE-BASED KNOWLEDGE AND ACTION: Knowledge must be evidence-based. Certain validity conditions must be fulfilled before evidence is accepted. False evidence is rejected. Knowledge not based on evidence such as sorcery is rejected. Speculation or conjecture are rejected because they are the most untruthful discourse not being evidence-based. Speculative or hypothetical thinking not related to reality is condemned. Human thought is a tool and not an end in itself. It operates on the basis of empirical observations and revelation, both objective sources of information. Thought that is not based on an empirical basis or revelation is speculative and leads to wrong conclusions. Care should be taken in giving opinions on matters for which there is no evidence.


3.2 OBJECTIVITY: Objectivity is enjoined in measurements. Subjective feelings should not be followed. Personal whims should not be followed because they lead to falsehood.


3.3 DRAWING CONCLUSIONS FROM EMPIRICAL OBSERVATION: Reliance of observation and not speculation is emphasized. Humans should observe the signs of the Creator in the universe and in humans. They however should be aware that human senses have limitations.


3.4 RATIONAL THINKING and LOGICAL OPERATIONS: Assertions based on reason have rational thinking behind them. Logical operations related to rational thinking can be identified.


3.5 PRUDENCE IN REACHING CONCLUSIONS: Even with the most rigorous empirical observation, care must be taken in reaching conclusions because errors are always possible.



4.1 ASKING QUESTIONS: Questions can be for finding out information. Too much speculative questioning on hypothetical situations is discouraged.


4.2 RESPECTING THE OTHER OPINION: Opposing opinions should be listened to and should be respected. They should never be suppressed.


4.3 ETIQUETTE OF DISCUSSION: Differences on scientific matters can arise and are natural. Discussion and exchange of views is a necessity for humans. Discussion has its own etiquette. The truth must be revealed. Contradictions must be avoided. Arrogance is condemned.


The following are attributes of good discussion: objectivity, truthfulness, asking for evidence, and talking about what you know. Humans have a tendency to purposeless disputation that is frowned upon.


4.4 ABANDONING FALSE PREMISES: If a person gives an opinion on a matter and then receives a correct information or interpretation, he should give up his previous opinion.


4.5 TRUTH: Fear of people should be no reason for not revealing the truth. Deception is condemned. The truth of any assertion must be checked. Certainty is the basis of knowledge; speculation is not.

ŠProfessor Omar Hasan Kasule, Sr. August 2007