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Sara Turmel

Reflection Essay 2/7/2017

Feyerabend claims that science is a religion. While I do not think science is necessarily a

religion itself, I do think some people treat it as one. In many ways we teach that science is the

ultimate truth and that it can save us, and in that case science can become a god. One example of

this is our teaching on evolution. In a push back against religion and misconception, I think some

science teachers teach evolution as an absolute truth. In the biology class I observe, there was no

mention of religion and why some do and do not agree with evolution. I think it is a great

disservice to the students, because without acknowledging what other ways of knowing exist, it

is hard to teach students about the nature of science. I think we should discuss why science says

what it does and how science is different from art, religion, math, history, etc. Students are

unlikely to change their mind about evolution if their current framework of thinking is not


Feyerabend makes an interesting point about Kuhn's work. He asks if normal science

ever really happens. Kuhn himself says that normal science changes with the paradigm (2012,

p.103). Therefore, can we really define normal science? I think in schools we teach in a way that

is similar to Kuhns perspectives. Students learn about some of the major revolutions of the past.

Most of our teaching is focused on using the current paradigm, i.e. normal science. We seldom

discuss why the paradigm is what it is and what effects that has on the scientific community.

Feyerabend criticizes Popper, saying that, Applied resolutely, Popperian criteria would

eliminate science without replacing it by anything comparable, (Feyerabend, p.59).

Revolutionary science is not usually falsifiable because one cannot always fathom the scenario

that can falsify it. I think that is difficult for someone to imagine in complex matters something

unexplained by the best theory at hand. It is often difficult enough just to understand what the
Sara Turmel

theory really says and means. I do think that falsifiability is addressed in science education.

When we emphasize experimental methods to our students, we teach that science is made up of

testable ideas that can be shown to be wrong.

Feyerabend criticizes education for essentially brainwashing students. Feyerabend writes,

There is no attempt to waken the critical abilities of the pupil so that he may be able to see

things in perspective, (Feyerabend, p.56). I do think this is beginning to change some. In the

Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), the nature of science is a key component, as

included in Appendix H. These standards put science into perspective. For example, in Appendix

H it says, Science is a Way of Knowing (Appendix H). This opens the door for students to

think critically about why science is a privileged way of knowing in our society.
Sara Turmel

Works Cited

APPENDIX H Understanding the Scientific Enterprise: The Nature of Science in

the Next Generation Science Standards. April, 2013.

Kuhn, T. S. (2012). The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (Vol. 4). Chicago: The

University of Chicago Press.

Feyerabend, P. How to Defend Society against Science.