Physics is not immune to questioning by supporters of nonscientific propositions such as “intelligent design” and “creationism.”1 The supporters of these propositions use phrases such as “it's just a theory” to influence those unfamiliar with or even fearful of science, making it increasingly important that all students and in particular science students (since it is often assumed that science students have an innate understanding of science in contradiction to all evidence) learn about the nature of science. Indeed, for at least a century one of the major objectives of science instruction has been to help students develop a sense of the nature of scientific investigation.2–5 In physics, the laboratory experiences are often used as a method to teach the nature of the scientific endeavor. Unfortunately, all too often these experiences are simply directed demonstrations that do no more than teach students to follow directions. In this situation, the scientific processes involved are simply ignored, even among science majors, and this omission is exacerbated when dealing with non‐science majors in general education science courses, where the students may have a fear or dislike of science.

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