The term 'scientific"is to be understood in a broad sense as the most reliable way of gaining knowledge about anything, whether it be the human spirit, the role of great people in history, or the structure of DNA. A "scientific concept" may come from philosophy, logic, economics, jurisprudence, or other analytic enterprises, as long as it is a rigorous conceptual tool that may be summed up succinctly (or "in a phrase") but has broad application to understanding the world.
My response to the EDGE 2011 Question is here ("Ambient Memory And The Myth Of Neutral Observation").
Richard Dawkins (who will be returning soon as a Boing Boing guestblogger, I'm happy to report!).
(Image: RUDBECKIA, Katinka Matson)