The nine main characteristics of science are as follows: 1. Objectivity 2. Verifiability 3. Ethical Neutrality 4. Systematic Exploration 5. Reliability 6. Precision 7. Accuracy 8. Abstractness 9. Predictability.1. Objectivity:
Scientific knowledge is objective. Objectivity simple means the ability to see and accept facts as they are, not as one might wish them to be. To be objective, one has to guard against his own biases, beliefs, wishes, values and preferences. Objectivity demands that one must set aside all sorts of the subjective considerations and prejudices.2. Verifiability:
Science rests upon sense data, i.e., data gathered through our senses—eye, ear, nose, tongue and touch. Scientific knowledge is based on verifiable evidence (concrete factual observations) so that other observers can observe, weigh or measure the same phenomena and check out observation for accuracy.
Is there a God? Is Varna’ system ethical or questions pertaining to the existence of soul, heaven or hell are not scientific questions because they cannot be treated factually. The evidence regarding their existence cannot be gathered through our senses. Science does not have answers for everything. It deals with only those questions about which verifiable evidence can be found.3. Ethical Neutrality:
Science is ethically neutral. It only seeks knowledge. How this knowledge is to be used, is determined by societal values. Knowledge can be put to differing uses. Knowledge about atomic energy can be used to cure diseases or to wage atomic warfare.
Ethical neutrality does not mean that the scientist has no values. It here only means that he must not allow his values to distort the design and conduct of his research. Thus, scientific knowledge is value-neutral or value- free.4. Systematic Exploration:
A scientific research adopts a certain sequential procedure, an organised plan or design of research for collecting and analysis of facts about the problem under study. Generally, this plan includes a few scientific steps—formulation of hypothesis, collection of facts, analysis of facts (classification, coding and tabulation) and scientific generalisation and predication.5. Reliability:
Scientific knowledge must occur under the prescribed circumstances not once but repeatedly. It is reproducible under the circumstances stated anywhere and anytime. Conclusions based on casual recollections are not very reliable.6. Precision:
Scientific knowledge is precise. It is not vague like some literary writing. Tennyson wrote, “Every moment dies a man; every moment one is born”, is good literature but not science. To be a good science, it should be written as: “In India, according to the 2001 census, every 10th second, on the average, dies a man; every 4th second, on the average, an infant is born.” Precision requires giving exact number or measurement. Instead of saying “most of the people are against love marriages,” a scientific researcher says, “Ninety per cent people are against love marriages”.7. Accuracy:
Scientific knowledge is accurate. A physician, like a common man, will not say that the patient has slight temperature or having very high temperature but after measuring with the help of thermometer, he will pronounce that the patient is having 101.2 F temperature.
Accuracy simply means truth or correctness of a statement or describing things in exact words as they are without jumping to unwarranted conclusions.8. Abstractness:
Science proceeds on a plane of abstraction. A general scientific principle is highly abstract. It is not interested in giving a realistic picture.9. Predictability:
Scientists do not merely describe the phenomena being studied, but also attempt to explain and predict as well. It is typical of social sciences that they have a far lower predictability compared to natural sciences. The most obvious reasons are the complexity of the subject matter and inadequacy at control etc.