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Are we learning this wrong part of science?

  1. Nov 12, 2016 #1
    I know that a scientific theory can have a wrong part and can be replaced by another theory . So scientific theories can be false so maybe we are learning a false part in science .
    Secondly can a law or fact be wrong like theories can ? Or can mathematics have some false theorems ?
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 12, 2016 #2
    A law usually implies it holds true and no exception has ever been found.

    Mathematics theorems are proved using logical methods, while science is usually empirical evidence. There is no false science in mainstream, it is the best model we have. Newtonian vs GR model, for most applications newtonian mechanics are good, some applications they have failed to predict the motion of planets but GR proved it correct.

    But there is a difference between proving a mathematical theorem and proving something in science..

    Logical proof is about using premises and deriving statements that can be further derived to form conclusions, the choice of premises is a creative and practical matter
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2016
  4. Nov 12, 2016 #3


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    This is far too vague to answer without asking for the definitions of the terms you use.
  5. Nov 12, 2016 #4


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    As stated, this is not true. An experimentally validated theory is experimentally shown to not be wrong within its domain of validity. Future theories will not replace the experimentally validated theory within its domain of validity. The most that will happen is that future experiments may show a previously unknown limitation to a theory's domain of validity and another theory may be proposed which is valid in the new domain.

    This can can be seen in Newtonian gravity and general relativity. Newtonian gravity continues to be taught and used because it remains valid within its experimentally confirmed domain. GR is used outside of that domain. Newtonian gravity did not get "replaced" by GR.
  6. Nov 12, 2016 #5
    I haven't told you that it will ne replaced . Take this example in past theories dark matter and dark energy existed and they where the solution for the expanding of the universe . Few days ago a new theory came up and everyone is speeking about . It explain gravity in a different way and it say that darl energy and dark matter does not exist and it shown a way for gravity to expand the universe . I know you will say it's just one of those new theory trying to changr something . But it's different I have seen it in many publication and they are finding evidence about it . So the part of dark energy in old theories was false and it was replaced using another one .
  7. Nov 12, 2016 #6


    Staff: Mentor

    That is what you said in the very first sentence of the thread!

    Please post a scientific reference to this theory.

    By the way, the theory is general relativity. Dark matter and energy are terms in the fit to the data, i.e. they are observations, not theories.
  8. Nov 12, 2016 #7
    Not really, its usually that we build on the existing knowledge.
    Example: newtons law of gravity (not wrong) -> Einstein theory of relativity
  9. Nov 14, 2016 #8


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    There was a relevant XKCD on this recently...

  10. Nov 14, 2016 #9
    Please read "The Relativity of Wrong" by Issac Asimov.
  11. Nov 14, 2016 #10


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    This is a philosophical question in my book, and not even a really good one.

    There's no way to ever actually experimentally "verify" anything with unlimited precision. So, science is less about truth, or actually describing nature precisely and fully (because it can't do that), then it's about describing better and better approximations to fit new data. All the while retaining models that work well enough, within the domain of applicability.

    There are no false theorems in mathematics that follow sound logic. That doesn't mean they're "true" either. I can suppose ##A×0=1## and then pick some other axioms and make a new kind of alegbra. It isn't wrong, because at its heart mathematics is abstracted from reality. It's probabaly not very useful for anything applied however, as we try to hold onto some semblance of nature in axoim choice. (I think, could be talking out of my rear here, not a mathematician, I just abuse it)

    So, there are no true or untrue parts of science. You should be asking "are we learning some unuseful models in science?" Looking at you Bohr. :eek:
  12. Nov 17, 2016 #11
    The positive inverse of this question, "are we're learning some useful models in science?" is obliquely addressed in today's minutephysics video.
  13. Nov 17, 2016 #12


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    Shut up and calculate is wrongly attributed.

    I don't think Feynman ever actually had his own interpertarion of QM. Unless you give him some credit for inspiring transactional interpretations or time symmetric ones.
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