When people think "science," they wrongly and often think "permanence." The Brainpickings blog has collected definitions of science from leaders who personify the field, and yet their explanations contradict what we hold true in our popular imagination. Some examples:
"All of science is uncertain and subject to revision. The glory of science is to imagine more than we can prove" - Freeman Dyson
"Science is a way of thinking much more than it is a body of knowledge." - Carl Sagan
Confusion about what "science" means has a profound impact on public policy discussions and affects how people make decisions as they ascend up levels of certainty. Consider the word "theory," as in "the theory of evolution" or "big bang theory." Read this great layman's explanation of what a theory actually is, versus how we use the term in common culture (tip of the hat to Reddit for surfacing):
"The difference between a theory and a law is not one of 'truth' or in how confident we feel about it. It is not a difference in degree. Theories are not 'inferior facts.' Theories don't graduate to become 'laws' by being 'proven'...A theory is an explanation for facts. A theory can embody a large set of statements which can grow as the theory expands to explain more observations, more facts.
It explains facts. It cannot 'become' a fact...The theory of gravity is NOT the 'dispute over whether gravity exists...it means 'what explains gravity, or what is is explained by gravity."