The wording of this question is so very interesting because there are so many assumptions and idiosyncrasies to certain words. Science is a very broad descriptive quantity that is difficult to sum up in one particular definition. It is organic and ever changing, which leads me to suggest that it does NOT undermine it’s own search for answers. However, I can see why people might think that and suggest that science is it’s own worst enemy. Here are a few thoughts on what science does to itself in the quest for knowledge and “truth”.
WHAT IS SCIENCE, REALLY?
If we read our history, we understand that study, knowledge, and terminology change almost as often as the fashions do over the years. Science as we understand it today is not what it was one hundred years ago. In addition, “science” is broken into a variety of subjects and categories, all of which have their own path to knowledge acquisition and discovery. As fast as we can put controls in place, people are imagining new methodologies and dreaming about innovative discoveries.
SLOWS IT DOWN, BUT DOES NOT STOP IT
One thing that science does create for itself is structure, which can be a “double-edged” sword. The scientific community is very concerned that any science performed be, for lack of a better word, “scientific”. In other words, studies, experiments, and searches for truth must follow properly adjudicated protocols in order to be recognized as proper “science”. This is beneficial for maintaining some semblance of standards and consistency, but one could argue that it might stifle creativity when it comes to “out-of-the-box” thinking. The difficulty for those that criticize this structure is, what would be better? Without some sort of accountability, could anything be validated and duplicated?
As science continues to “progress”, it is likely that it will be redefined, and then redefined again. Every new discovery will broaden our understanding. In some ways we may be stifling ourselves, but without the awareness of greater scientific understanding we may not have the capacity or the knowledge to even know it. So goes the irony of new discovery.