This is a page I prepared for homeschool in order to introduce my children to a scientific mindset.
A fact is something that is regarded to be true.
A belief is something that is considered to be a fact, but which cannot be physically demonstrated or logically proven.
Before the world was proven to be round, most people considered it to be a fact that the Earth was flat. It wasn’t thought to be a belief because its flatness seemed obviously true. The line between belief and fact is not always easy to discern.
Hearsay is something that someone else states to be a fact, but that you yourself don’t know to be true.
Credibility is the amount of trust a person places in a source of hearsay.
Different people often place different degrees of credibility in a given source of information. The Bible is an example of a source to which people assign a wide range of credibility.
A theory is an explanation for a set of facts.
Science is a methodical search for knowledge; and it is also the knowledge thereby gained.
A hypothesis is a suggestion about what could be true based on what is already believed to be true.
Two popular scientific methods:
Create a hypothesis, then test that hypothesis.
Gather data, then develop conclusions based on that data.
Open-mindedness is the willingness to consider new ideas.
One reason to be open-minded is that we don’t know everything, and something that seemed to be a fact may turn out to have been based on partial or incorrect information or reasoning, and may not have been a fact after all. Another reason is that although the mind is an amazing organ for receiving, processing and storing information, sometimes things we perceive or remember aren’t accurate.
Skepticism is the unwillingness to automatically accept that a given idea is correct.