From a helpful fellow scientist. Can’t you just feel the bonhomie? Prof. PZ Myers responds thusly:
#1: Science is a changing and growing collection of knowledge, characterized by transparency (all methods are documented, and the lineage of ideas can be traced) and testability (prior work can be repeated or its results evaluated). It is an edifice of information that contains all of the details of its construction.
#2: Science is what scientists do. We have institutions that train people and employ them in the business of generating new knowledge — contributing to that edifice in definition #1 — and we have procedures like the bestowal of degrees and ranks that certify one’s membership in the hallowed ranks of science.
#3: Science is a process. It is a method for exploring the natural world by making observations, drawing inferences, and testing those inferences with further experimentation and observation. It isn’t so much the data generated as it is a way of thinking critically about the universe and our own interpretations of it.
In other words, it is a dynamic body of knowledge, it is a profession and it is a process. This is a reasonable and comprehensive definition. I most certainly appreciate it and shall make use of it going forward. It’s particularly useful, in fact, as this provides a basis for delineating between scientage, scientistry and scientody.
We give you leave to henceforth refer to us as the Shakespeare of Science.
(Somewhere underneath a pile of snow, a fellow scientist is shaking his head and thinking, “well, he was lucid for one bright shining moment, anyhow.”)