One of the great themes in Western thought is the contrast between science and other forms of knowing, believing, and thinking. Philosophers, historians, and pundits of all kinds have examined the contrast between science and common sense, between science and religion, between empirical science and speculative philosophy, and between universally valid science and localized “truths,” such as those of law, custom, and social practice, among others. Each of these has helped to clarify the question of what is distinctive about scientifi c thinking and what is distinctively “better,” more sure, or more valued about the conclusions scientists reach, although none of them has provided an entirely satisfactory answer. Even today, such ideas as “creation science” show the confusion surrounding the question of the character of science.