SciBar is a series of public-friendly events, taking the form of talks from experts in an informal setting. It is aimed at non-scientists who have an interest in science.
The SciBar events would last 2-3 hours: talks would last 20-30 minutes with the rest of the time for drinks, questions and discussion.
What is this thing called science? A brief introduction to the philosophy of science.
Speaker: Simon Flynn
For many years, scientific theories were thought to be something derived purely from facts – crudely put, it was believed that the more facts you had, or examined, the better your theory was likely to be. However, as someone aptly put it, ‘the trouble with facts is that there are so many of them’ – how are you to decide which of them are relevant?
There’s an even bigger problem with a fact-leading-to-theory view of science – no matter how hard you try, it’s pretty much impossible for observation, typically the source of a scientist’s facts, not to be in some way theory-laden. Norwood Russell Hanson summed this up wonderfully when he said, ‘there is more to seeing than meets the eyeball’. Sherlock Holmes understood the danger that one might ‘begin to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts’. So, perhaps surprisingly, observed evidence isn’t necessarily sufficient for supporting the truth of a theory. Which begs the question, what is?

Simon Flynn worked in publishing for nearly fifteen years and is now a science teacher. He is also the author of The Science Magpie published by Icon Books

The event will be at The Star of Kings pub at 7pm on the 9th of January and will be free of charge

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