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The Most Important Scientific Concept To Understand

by zoobyshoe
Tags: concept, important, scientific
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May3-05, 05:32 PM
zoobyshoe's Avatar
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A pole of scientists gives a surprising variety of opinions:


The one that stood out to me, in the context of PF, was: "Science is disputative."

Alot of people echoed Feynman's answer to this question: "everything's made of atoms."

Which one resonates for you?

Warning: this apparently off hand quetion is a surreptitious rohrschach test. Your answer will reveal masses of information about the festering corruption and pathological contortions latent in your subconscious.
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May3-05, 06:39 PM
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Carlo Rovelli

the ideas you have in mind, and that seem so certain to you, might be wrong.
May3-05, 06:51 PM
Evo's Avatar
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I had to go with David Deutsch because I like him.

There are a few concepts in the philosophy of science which I wish everyone understood. But I'm not sure that I can single out one concept, or even a few, in science itself. I wish everyone were familiar with the basic ideas of our most basic theories. So I guess I wish that everyone would read my 1997 book, The Fabric of Reality: Towards a Theory of Everything.
He's shameless.

May3-05, 07:14 PM
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The Most Important Scientific Concept To Understand

Quote Quote by Leo Tolstoy
I know that most men, including those at ease with problems of the highest complexity, can seldom accept even the simplest and most obvious truth if it be such as would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they have delighted in explaining to colleagues, which they have proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabric of their lives.
Knowing and accepting when you are wrong, such as in Einstein's case with Quantum Mechanics.
May3-05, 07:32 PM
P: 1,783
That no matter how close your predictions are, your explanation is still not quite right and suffers from the fundamental flaws inherent in your assumptions.
May3-05, 07:34 PM
P: 1,408
I would have to say what my chem prof. always said. "science doesn't explain why, but how."
May3-05, 07:36 PM
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Danger's Avatar
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Reality never conforms to the blueprints.
May3-05, 07:43 PM
Sci Advisor
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Gokul43201's Avatar
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When a scientific explanation is simple, it's most often wrong; and when it is right, it's terribly complex.
May3-05, 07:56 PM
zoobyshoe's Avatar
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Quote Quote by Gokul43201
When a scientific explanation is simple, it's most often wrong; and when it is right, it's terribly complex.
I have a problem with this as a blanket statement because aren't simplicity and complexity of explanation relative to the mind of the individual pondering the matter?
May3-05, 07:59 PM
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Quote Quote by Evo
So I guess I wish everyone would read my 1997 book...
ron damon
May3-05, 11:56 PM
P: 185
Learning how reality can be understood in terms of information and rules is the most amazing thing I've taken from my study of physics and mathematics. How an idea can contain the subtlest of phenomena really makes me wonder why it should be so. The first time I say how a disarmingly simple polar equation could reproduce the shape of a flower, my mind was born anew...
Ivan Seeking
May4-05, 01:08 AM
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Here is one that I liked: Science can validate experience, but not deny it.

I don't know if this is the most important to understand, but for me one of the most profound realizations was that physical theories are merely models which may or may not ever approach the essence of reality; whether or not they do, we can never know. I found this to be damned annoying and quite disappointing really, but I have since learned to love this fact.
May4-05, 01:23 AM
zoobyshoe's Avatar
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Did anyone find a lamer one than:

Scientists fall in love - with experiments.

May4-05, 02:39 AM
P: 183
This should be made clear in all high-schools:

Science is nothing but trained and organised common sense
May5-05, 06:35 AM
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I only read the first two pages (I at least pretend to have a life ). I think the one that would have the greatest impact on people's lives was:
Quote Quote by Jesse M Bering
Evolutionary biology implies that human life is meaningless, and existential psychology asserts that human life is fundamentally absurd
And the most useless:
Quote Quote by Dr Alec D Bangham
Amphiphiles are molecules that have an affinity for both aqueous and non-aqueous media.
May5-05, 02:13 PM
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The ones I like the most are variations on a common theme: "How science inspires puzzlement and wonder"; "Uncovering the layers underlying observable phenomena gives a picture of reality that is more profound than reality appears to be"; "Conclusions drawn from scientific experiments are more satisfying, more intellectually stimulating and much more amazing than fiction"; "The fascination that attends the discovery of how things function"

Most important, I'd say, is "The potential benefits of stem-cell research are enormous"

Corniest: "Science = imagination + humility^2"

Most boring (albeit useful): "There are many small tricks to shorten calculations, or to check the results of calculations - such as estimating, rounding, and divisibility tests"
May5-05, 07:10 PM
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Monique's Avatar
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The most important scientific concept is to be critical.
The Rev
May5-05, 08:08 PM
P: 77
Sh*t happens.


The Rev

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