On a Science-Football Analogy

Science is a typical requirement throughout education, but I wonder how many people struggle defining science. They know that science does experiments, and provides explanations through facts, laws, and theories, but do they really know what science is and what science does.

Let’s think of science as football. Whereas football has players, a rulebook, referees, and a playing field, so does science.

Science and football are human endeavors. Both require knowledge of the game and rules, a trained mind, and a degree of imagination.

Science and football deal with connections, patterns, structures, a sense of history, and use of the senses and equipment.

Science and football have playbooks for the players to follow in order that they reach their goal. Whereas coaches design football plays as a counterattack in a chess match with the opponents, scientists have methodologies that they must follow in term of conditions and variables.

Science and football use referees to enforce rules. Whereas all of us can casually participate in either, the professionals must carefully follow the rules. While the powers at be designated football rules by numbers that are enforced by those in the white and black outfits, science referees are within the scientific community as new findings must be verified by others.

Science and football occur on a playing field with boundaries. Whereas football designates boundaries by white lines, science is limited to explanations within nature. Whereas no player scores a touchdown by crossing the goal line after going behind the bleachers, the work and explanations of science are limited to our natural surroundings.

Science cannot prove or disprove God’s existence because that question/topic lies outside of science’s self-imposed boundaries of the observable events in the nature world around us. Science cannot differentiate the natural and the supernatural because science cannot empirically observe God’s hand; but that does not discount God’s existence.

Science brings us new knowledge, yet knowledge for a given point in time because it can change based on newer knowledge. Science is a gift and one of our great tools, but not the only tool. Science is a way of knowing and making connections, but not the only way. Enjoy the video.

9 thoughts on “On a Science-Football Analogy

  1. Sports? SPORTS? Don’t you think of ANYTHING else? Jeez, bunch of jock-obsessed, sports-worshiping Neanderthals… 😉
    Actually, that’s an interesting post. I’ve seen sports defined by science, but not the other way around. Though I would pick one VERY small nit with your professional versus amateur comparison. I would say that, while those of us (or you) physically capable of playing football can feel similar feelings to the professional players (even if your game quality is laughable), it is difficult for even the most dedicated amateur scientists among us to truly know the sense of order and logic revealed to the more specialised arenas of science – thinking in my case of physics, especially sub-atomic particle studies. (I base my comment on the fact that you can get an understanding of sports in a short time, and even get a detailed understanding of ranks and strategies in a year, while my physics studies have literally taken decades.)
    But hey, that’s my hang-up. 😀 Great post!


    • John,
      Although I see your point regarding your professional-amateur analogy, my reference is in terms of the importance of following rules. Besides, writing about feelings is not my forte. Nonetheless, you’ve add good points for others to ponder. Meanwhile, I’m honored to be the first to define science by sport to you. FYI: I actually used this analogy in a Sunday school class. As always, thanks for sharing.


  2. I think it is a good analogy Science Football. I must say I’m slow to understand football. I watch with litmited knowledge and I still enjoy the game. I even have a favorite team. Maybe like Science over time I may learn and understand more.


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  4. Daughter #2 loves science and has taught it for 4 years now. She misses it now. Her assignment changed this year to math, her major. I’m standing on the sidelines wondering which will win out over her teaching career.
    In packing up boxes and treasures for the impending move, I came across all her science fair projects summarized in folders…I just couldn’t throw them out. Yep, they’re staying on the bookshelves to remember and perhaps inspire GS2.


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