Science has NOT always been with us. If you think that, you are confusing science with technology or knowledge in general. Science is a worldview that arose in the late Renaissance with Galileo and Kepler, around 1600. Technology, associated with tools, has been with us for some 2 million years, since Homo habilis began making tools in East Africa.
There is strong archeological evidence that the mythic world view dates
back to at least 500,000yrs and it is logically convincing that it dates
at least as far back as tool making.
While Natural Philosophy of the Greeks, shares some of the traits of science such as its quest for understanding, it is not science. It generally does not see itself as based in natural phenomena and experiments as science does. It is based on logic. As such, it is a philosophical system, not a scientific one that arose in Ionia, a series of Greek cities in Western Turkey with Thales in the.
The last 150 years have been associated with the industrial revolution. In the last century and a half, great strides have been made in our understanding of the world as our knowledge base has increased, and as technology has given us ever-better tools to look, probe and analyze this world. Still, science started 400 years ago.
Questions 5 and 6
Many descriptions, answers, models and explanations get proposed in scientific journals. However, any addition, change to that organized body of knowledge (science) is by agreement, concensus of the professional community in that field. Sometimes, acceptance is immediate (Newton's Laws), sometimes only after lengthy debate (Darwin & evolution). Nor does it make any difference as to public opinion (cf. the Scopes monkey trial or the cold fusion fiasco on the role of the judicial system or that of newspapers), or the opinion of scientists in another field. This occasionally leads to the argument that science is a closed shop, where new ideas are not accepted because they are proposed by people from outside etc. While that may be true to some extent (remember that science is done by people), the major concern is that new ideas, models, explanations must fit all the known facts and must withstand the scrutiny and test of other professionals in light of all of these facts. This ensures that only ideas that advance our knowledge will be incorporated into science.
There are two things wrong with answer c.
First of all the way we do science does not follow a series of steps, like a recipe. Not every one does double blind tests or for that matter even experimets with controlled variables. Think of astronomers or geologists. Pretty hard to tickle a star....
So to suggest that there is a tried and true scientific method, applicable to all who do science, with steps that one has to follow is like totally bogus, man. The second thing is that anyone can do it. Not true. Every field of science is by now so complex that it takes years to master the accepted models. Often also, we depend on sophisticated technology and techniques to do our observations and experiments. Most people cannot afford mass spectrometers to run chemical analyses.
This does not imply that one has to have degrees to do science. BUT, amateur scientists have to follow the same rules that professional scientists do (i.e. have a complete understanding of the field, have to publish and have their ideas critically reviewed just as anyone else) and that makes it to say the least, tough.
Questions 8 and 9
Fundamentally science is grounded in natural phenomena. That is where it all starts. What it intends to do is to describe and explain the physical phenomena, the universe, nature, the cosmos. It does not care to consider all possibilities, only th reality of this universe. Sure it's fun to speculate but that's not science. So in an extreme way, our source of information is only nature. Remember that an experiment or test is only a way of asking nature a question: what happens under these specific conditions.
Questions 10 and 11
The goal of science is to describe, understand and explain the universe, nature, the physical reality in which we live. In its pure form, it does not care whether it improves the human condition or not. That is left to technologists, engineers etc. There is no implication as to greater nobility in either task. That does not make a scientist better than an engineer. It simply means that they have two different tasks. Because technology has become extremely dependent on science, it is difficult at times to separate the two, and the same person may wear two different hats at the same time, or at different times. The molecular biologist that is searching for a vaccine for AIDS and has to first figure out how the virus behaves is doing science. When he assesses how effective a molecule is in attacking the virus, he is a technologist. Feynman won a Nobel prize in physics for diagraming subatomic particle interactions (science). During WWII he was part of the research team that designed the atomic bomb (technologist). Later on, he figured out the cause of the Challenger space shuttle disaster cause by the failure of the O rings in the booster rocket due to cold (technologist). Simply ask yourself is it done to understand? Then it's science. Does it have practical, economic, personal, aesthetic or moral value? Then it's technology.
Nor is this a new issue. In fact it is as old as the quest for rational
understanding which began with Thales and the Ionians in the VIth century
BCE. The story goes that a local king made fun of Thales asking what good
this egghead Natural Philosophy understanding was. He couldn't make any
money off of it. To which Thales replied that he could be as rich as the
next guy if he wanted to but that he chose to do better things with his
mind. The king just laughed at him and said "Oh Yeah?". Thales said "Yeah..I'll
show you" and marched out pursued by mocking laughter. The next spring,
Thales went and put on option on every olive press in the region (olive
oil being one of the main products of the kingdom). Came fall, Thales had
a corner on the olive press market, and made a mint charging everyone including
the king for the use of his presses. "I told you so..."
One point of the story being of course that the two pursuits are different and one cannot judge either by the standards of the other.
These words have a specific meaning in science. Unfortunately, they are also used, usually wrongly, in everyday speech.
A hypothesis is a working explanation, one that is being used by a scientist while working on a problem. While tentative, it is NOT an educated guess.
A theory is not an opinion as in "well, that might be your theory". It is a broad, large-scale, comprehensive model or explanation that we use for significant bodies of knowldge. For example, gravitational theory is not the opinions we hold about gravity but are the body of explanations connected with gravity. Evolutionary theory for instance is not an opinion that is held by some scientists but all the knowledge that we have about evolution. Theory is somewhat akin to a paradigm but you'll have to look that one up for now.
A law is a limited, usually mathematical relationship between some quantities. It deals with a small portion of a theory or model. It is not the ultimate achievement of science. To come back to gravity for instance, it includes the following law:
gM1.M2/D2 Note that this law only allows you to calculate the gravitational attraction between two bodies. Nothing else. Powerful yes, but also very limited to a very small aspect of gravitational theory.
Finally, we do not progress from hypothesis to theory to law.