In Eli's humble experience, junior high school and the Internet are major problems, at least as far as understanding what science is, because of the superhero syndrome, driven by Darwin, Newton, Einstein and Popper. Popper, of course gets most of the blame and he deserves it.
There are problems with this. The model has some validity at the far edge, where nothing is known nor is there much experiences, think extreme high energies where string theory is currently doing battle with the multiverse but it is only there, in junior high classrooms where it is simple to teach and the Internet where everybunny is Galileo.
Normal science is done as a chess problem. Players/scientists work out positions but they don't change the rules of the game. There can arise situations such as pawn promotion which changed in the nineteenth century, but chess is a game of puzzle solving and it is not less interesting for that. Changes in the rules improve and broaden the game, they don't change it into checkers.
Thomas Kuhn, in "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions" understood what normal science is
Normal Science means research firmly based upon one or more past scientific achievements, achievements that some particular scientific community acknowledges for a time as supplying the foundation for its further practice.”Normal Science by definition operates when scientists share a common set of theories, models and observations, in other words when there is a consensus. Normal science is puzzle solving within the field’s consensus. Kuhn understood how fascinating normal science can be, trying to understand the world within the structure of current knowledge.
The observant amongst bunnies out there have already noticed that this chops away at some of the most popular myths about science. To Kuhn, and actually to 97%+ of the practicioners, consensus is where science starts and building upon that consensus is where 99.999% contribute. Kuhn points out that consensus among practicioners is almost unique to science and it is what allows science to progress. This unique willingness of scientists to work within the consensus of their field is what drives scientific progress. Policy communities, economists, social scientists are intellectually less constrained and less demanding of consistency.
The existence of a scientific consensus in a field implies a knowable nature.Because a problem has not yet been solved within the current consensus does not mean that a completely new consensus is needed. Experience shows that it is more likely the observation or theoretical work has overlooked some factor or made a mistake. It is only when a large body of work cannot be understood within the current consensus that scientists start looking for a new paradigm. Major changes in the consensus, Kuhn's paradigm are almost without exception extensions of previous paradigms rather than refutations. The new paradigm extends the region of validity of the old.
To this Eli can add a bit describing a useful scientific paradigm. It is characterized by coherence, consilience and consensus, the rule of the three Cs.
Coherent paradigms are consistent
Consilient, paradigms explain much efficiently and are coherent
And consensus means just what Kuhn said, that members of the community can talk with each other in the framework of a coherent and consilient paradigm.