The journal Science published an editorial on October 18, 2013 entitled “Science Demystified”.

Science” has many definitions. It is important to understand which “science” is intended and not to mix them.

In the old and general sense, “science” only means knowledge. Science could mean general philosophy, theology, modern natural science or other things.

To confuse such very different matters is like confusing rock music with a piece of granite.
But exactly such confusions are commonplace. That is a big part of the problems in
discussions of science.

It is best to be clear about what is actually being discussed.

If the topic is science, the modern natural philosophy or the body of knowledge which has been developed, then the basics should not be mysterious.

Science is a creation of humans and the basics are, after all, nothing more than the natural and ordinary things that humans do when finding things out. Except that it includes only what can actually be observed in nature and does not include things merely imagined or dreamed or made up.

Mystifying, however, is that so many people expect to know and to understand, without actual study, extensive, specialized and complex knowledge which extends beyond the basics of most interests.

It is also mystifying that people should confuse behavior and creations of human beings with what are often expected of super nature and of super beings.

Science is limited to matters of the natural universe and has nothing to do with any aspect of super-nature such as mysticism or gods.

Science is observed and developed by humans. It has nothing which could be described as revealed knowledge handed down by any sort of higher power.

Because it is observed and developed by humans, it changes and evolves with the addition of more information, understanding and tools.

It is not perfect and it is not for-ever.

Scientists are human. They are subject to mistakes as everybody else.

However, science seems to understand pretty well the things it does study.

One reason that science seems to work pretty well is that science limits its interest and knowledge to things which can be actually observed in nature and checked.

Another reason is that science checks facts and understanding against what can be observed in nature.

A third reason that science works pretty well is that science has observed that some ways of doing things (such as seeing what’s what) work pretty well and that other ways don’t work very well at all and that it is often possible to know the difference and to choose.

Scientists are intent on using the methods and concepts which are seen to work best.

While science is not perfect and can not provide information and understanding about the super natural or other things which can not be checked by observation, it does seem to do a good job and is pretty reliable within its established limits.

Much of the confusion and criticisms are because science is not something other than science. People are unhappy because it is not what they would like it to be. It is not, for example, a theology or mysticism or made up imagined story.

They are unhappy because it is not simple, easy, perfect, complete and never changing. People are unhappy because scientists are not always complete and perfect in their understanding and information.

They are unhappy because scientists don’t tell them about the unknown or about the supernatural.

But so what?

Why would anyone expect anything like that?