Is Science Futile? | Unlocking Nature's Mysteries

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In summary, I do not think that scientists know anything definitive about the universe. Everything is a theory, and as such, could be false. Scientists spend their entire lives trying to understand something that is probably impossible to understand because it's beyond our realm of understanding, and even if we did learn what makes the universe tick, what are we going to do with that knowledge? We can never leave Earth to avoid extinction and we'll eventually die out, and all of our knowledge will be gone.
  • #36
You got to do something for a paycheck. Not everyone can be a plastic surgeon without borders reconstructing jaw-lines pro bono for malformed Peruvian newborns. And it's even harder to become a male porn star, which seems to be your suggestion.
 
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  • #37
Upisoft said:
And then what.. repeat the process all over again, because the new place would be exactly the same. The resources will be limited and the local star/s will eventually follow our Sun bright example. That process has an end too. Then we run where?
Yes, repeat if necessary. Just a reminder, your own proposal consist of what ? Give up and die ?
Upisoft said:
Curiosity is a trait of many species. My cat has it too. Unfortunately he is a fat tomcat that has never done any genuine research. And at this point his curiosity is limited to what is next available for eating. Also I know people that do what they call science without any curiosity, just being very pedantic. Anyway the point is that curiosity does not necessary mean science nor science necessary mean curiosity.
So you do let your cat fulfill its curiosity, but you deny it to humans ?
Upisoft said:
freedom to do what?
Freedom to act to do better.

It is not up to general public and laymen to define the directions of fundamental research, but it is the responsibility of researchers to discuss with society at large and come to an agreement on the borders beyond which fundamental research can not go based on ethical grounds. To focus the discussion :

(1) do you accept that fundamental research has brought genuine progress for society which could not be foreseen beforehand ?

(2) If (1) holds then we should continue the pursuit of fundamental research in physics ?

(3) If (1) and (2), is your question essentially : why does fundamental research need to proceed with cosmology ?
 
  • #38
Hurkyl said:
We might build cars, televisions, computers, air conditioners, global positioning systems, ...

This.
 
  • #39
Pythagorean said:
These two excerpts are contradictory. In the one hand, you seem to be a hedonist (which I essentially am, myself) by saying that people should do fun stuff (senseless pleasure, orgies, etc) that they enjoy. So then why would you criticize cosmologists without knowing their motivation? It could be erotic, interesting, addictive, and fun to them.

But then on the other hand you talk about benefiting mankind (which again, if you're a hedonist, it does benefit mankind by satisfying their curiosities).

And this.
 
  • #40
humanino said:
If the pursuit of fundamental research had to be justified, it would historically justify itself from the benefits. I meant to say that we can not justify today's research by arguing about it's potential future discoveries.

I understand that and I think we can.

Are you saying that we can't justify the immediate cost because we derive no immediate benefit, or are you saying that we can't justify the cost based on the potential for profound future discoveries, because we don't know that we will have any?
 
  • #41
Ivan Seeking said:
Why can we never leave the Earth? This statement assumes that we know the limits of technology, which we can't without first knowing what makes the universe tick. This is what ultimately determines the limits of technology. A complete understanding of physics is almost certainly dependent on our understanding of the cosmos. So the future of humanity could depend in part on the work of Cosmologists, Astrophysicists, and Astronomers. Beyond that, the money spent on this sort of science is very small compared to what we spend on things like, weapons, for example. Now if you want to talk about something that is futile and wasteful, how about war? Going way back, I have often wondered about the significance of the burning of the Library at Alexandria. How long did this set back all of humanity, and how far? We can never know.

Why can we never leave Earth? Because we don't live for thousands of years and it's impossible to go faster than light. All the science used to explain the universe is theoretical, or in other words, only in our imagination.

Ivan Seeking said:
I thought this was interesting. Someone once noted that as a nation, we spend many times [probably orders of magnitude, not sure] more on video games, than we do to detect earth-crossing asteroids that could wipe out life on earth. Of course, were it not for Astronomers like Eugene Shoemaker, we wouldn't even know the threat exists.

What could we possibly do to stop something from destroying the Earth? Humans have this strange idea that we control nature. We are the mercy of the universe, not the other way around.
 
  • #42
Vexa said:
Why can we never leave Earth? Because we don't live for thousands of years and it's impossible to go faster than light.



What could we possibly due to stop anything from destroying the Earth? Humans have this strange idea that we control nature. We are the mercy of the universe, not the other way around.

it's currently believed to be impossible, doesn't mean it's impossible

we know so little

only way to save the Earth=Europe regains self-confidence and takes over world
 
  • #43
humanino said:
Yes, repeat if necessary. Just a reminder, your own proposal consist of what ? Give up and die ?
We are already dead. Time is just another dimension. Just look at the other end of the scale.

humanino said:
So you do let your cat fulfill its curiosity, but you deny it to humans ?
Nope. I don't deny it. Let them do it with their own money, as I do. This way there will be no nonsense research.

humanino said:
Freedom to act to do better.
Looking at the bright side, yes.

humanino said:
It is not up to general public and laymen to define the directions of fundamental research, but it is the responsibility of researchers to discuss with society at large and come to an agreement on the borders beyond which fundamental research can not go based on ethical grounds. To focus the discussion :

(1) do you accept that fundamental research has brought genuine progress for society which could not be foreseen beforehand ?

(2) If (1) holds then we should continue the pursuit of fundamental research in physics ?

(3) If (1) and (2), is your question essentially : why does fundamental research need to proceed with cosmology ?

(1) You may see progress if you look on the bright side, you may see regress (wars, etc. things i already mentioned). But if you look objectively you can see only change. Progress or not is in the eye of beholder.

(2) and (3) fail on the if side.. no discussion required.
 
  • #44
Vexa said:
Why can we never leave Earth? Because we don't live for thousands of years and it's impossible to go faster than light. All the science used to explain the universe is theoretical, or in other words, only in our imagination.
There are lots of ways to "leave Earth" beside going to another star.

What could we possibly do to stop something from destroying the Earth?
You made this statement in response to Ivan's comment about Earth-crossing asteroids. Given ample response time there are lots of things we could do to stop such an asteroid from destroying the Earth. That is the primary justification for looking for them.

Humans have this strange idea that we control nature. We are the mercy of the universe, not the other way around.
That we most certainly do control nature to a very large extent is blatantly obvious whenever you take an airplane flight. Humans have reshaped a significant portion of the face of the third of the Earth covered by land. Whether that is a good thing is a different question.
 
  • #45
D H said:
There are lots of ways to "leave Earth" beside going to another star.

Good luck terraforming Mars.

G037H3 said:
it's currently believed to be impossible, doesn't mean it's impossible

we know so little

only way to save the Earth=Europe regains self-confidence and takes over world

Even if we knew a lot more, we would still know nothing.

I guess people didn't understand what I was trying to say in my original post. I'm only trying to express that we shouldn't spend our time worrying about the rest of the universe. It's a big boy and can take care of itself. Science should be used to improve life on Earth (while it is still here).

As for my post about my hedonistic attitude, I'm not being selfish saying we should only worry about fulfilling our own desires. As humans, we must rely on each other. So any advancements made by one can benefit everyone. Advancements made trying to prove the fairytale that is string theory, benefit no one.
 
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  • #46
Ivan Seeking said:
Are you saying that we can't justify the immediate cost because we derive no immediate benefit, or are you saying that we can't justify the cost based on the potential for profound future discoveries, because we don't know that we will have any?
I was essentially saying your former formulation. In particular, I am convinced that we have many profound discoveries to come, and I would bet even during my lifetime. My preferred formulation is that trying to justify today's research is misguided. It is an ill-posed question since we obviously do not know the future.

But maybe I will try to elaborate then : it appears to me that the benefit we gain is often inversely proportional to the time it takes for it to unravel.
Upisoft said:
(1) You may see progress if you look on the bright side, you may see regress (wars, etc. things i already mentioned). But if you look objectively you can see only change. Progress or not is in the eye of beholder.
I think we have ample evidence that violence decreased in our societies.
Steven Pinker on the myth of violence
Also take a look at the number of historical deaths due to now virtually extinct diseases. Do you ever use modern medication ?

Vexa said:
I guess people didn't understand what I was trying to say in my original post. I'm only trying to express that we shouldn't spend our time worrying about the rest of the universe. It's a big boy and can take care of itself. Science should be used to improve life on Earth (while it is still here).
I mentioned earlier artificial satellites for the observation of Earth, or the Computing Grids which came to reality thanks to SETI and greatly expanded in the LHC age. Both of them are tremendous contributions for a better Earth coming from fundamental questions about the Universe.
 
  • #47
You consider building gadgets to be "unimportant"? Really?
Gadgets turn out to be useful and fun but no, i don't think they are "important". Thousands of generations have lived without them; do you think their life was empty without gadgets and scientific inventions? My point is that, scientific quest is much too beautiful to be constrained to a 'purpose' of promoting inventions. Read Ken Natton's post (below this post of your's)
 
  • #48
Vexa said:
I'm only trying to express that we shouldn't spend our time worrying about the rest of the universe. It's a big boy and can take care of itself. Science should be used to improve life on Earth (while it is still here).

As humans, we must rely on each other. So any advancements made by one can benefit everyone. Advancements made trying to prove the fairytale that is string theory, benefit no one.

Accept the fact. Life is purposeless. Distinguishing things into beneficial and worthless wouldn't take you anywhere. Does sex make any 'sense'. Yet its driving the world. Even you, apparently.
 
  • #49
I think it comes back the the same old questtions that we all ask. What is the point of life? What does it all mean? etc. Some people take religion to asnwer these questions. Others don't even think about such things. The rest of us seem to look towards science. The think is that science is the last place to look for such answers. Sience tells us how things work, and from that we can improve our lives in a physical sense. But this is all science does. It only expalins the how, not the why that we all seek. No matter hwo much knowledge we optain we will never learn the true nature of life. The answers will never be some equation.
So yes, science is futile when it comes to knowing what life is. But no science is not futile in our lifes.
 
  • #50
Vexa said:
I specifically said "sciences of the universe (cosmology, astrology, astrophysics)." Maybe I should have excluded Earth. I'm not arguing science isn't an invaluable tool, I'm saying that we use it to try to understand something far beyond our reach. We have so many problems on Earth, that I don't believe we can afford to stare at galaxies all day.
Well it still can be applied.

Remeber in the past our ancestors used astronomy and the stars to navigate through the seas.

Nowadays we try to understand what is the direction the universe is heading to, and finding earth-like planets to obviously someday inhabit it.

Everything is applicable...
And anyway Cosmology is cool!
:!)
 
  • #51
Vexa said:
Sciences of the universe seem like a colossal waste of time to me. Do scientists actually know anything (outside of the few laws we've established) to learn anything definitive about the universe? Everything is a theory, meaning it's fabricated and could be absolutely false. Yes, we may have some proof-like ideas to support theories, but in the end you cannot know for sure. How could you spend your entire life trying to understand something that is probably impossible to understand because it's completely beyond your realm of understanding?

Even if we did learn what makes the universe tick, what are we going to do with that knowledge? We can never leave Earth to avoid extinction and we'll eventually die out and the Earth will cease to exist and all that knowledge will be gone.
Ok, I am coming in very late into this discussion so maybe all these points have been made already.

To me this looks like 2 questions, rolled into one.

First, have scientists really discovered anything of significance. Second, if they have done that, what's the point in their having done so.

Anything we have ever discovered about this universe (including ourselves) we have done through science. The scientific method is the best way we currently know of guarding against human fallibilities. Like it or not, we have to accept the fact that we humans are extremely fallible creatures. Prone to deception and wishful thinking. And we tend to see patterns in everything, whether or not there are any. So its important to have some rigorous method to weed these away. People usually thank science for the technology we have today. Like Dawkins says, praising science for things like television and air travel is like praising music for providing exercise for the composers arms, it kind of cheapens it. However, I don't think that can be trivialised either. We do have science to thank for all the marvels of modern civilization - the television, telephone, air travel, automobiles, modern medicine and antibiotics (which have a flip side as well).

Coming to the next question. Whats the point in knowing about the universe ? Well, what else would you rather do ? Given that we are here in the world, in this universe, maybe the only priveleged intelligent life to experience this fleeting few decades of life - what more noble purpose than finding out all we can about this universe. We may never find out all there is, in fact I strongly believe that there are limitations to what we can comprehend given our brain's limitations (we evolved as nomadic hunter gatherers, living in small tribes in the African grasslands and our brains evolved to successfully survive and propogate our genes in that environment). But whatever time we spend here, and whatever we may learn, is indeed a privilege.

As Jacob Bronowski said - We are a scientific civilization. That means a civilization in which knowledge and its integrity are crucial. Science is only a Latin word for knowledge... Knowledge is our destiny.
 
  • #52
Vexa said:
Sciences of the universe seem like a colossal waste of time to me. Do scientists actually know anything (outside of the few laws we've established) to learn anything definitive about the universe?


If you were hoping to know what is really going on or what really exists or how it exists, there isn't the kind of very definite answers for that. Science is geared towards technology and making life easier and more bearable. Nevertheless, you do understand that we do know quite a lot about the universe?



Everything is a theory, meaning it's fabricated and could be absolutely false. Yes, we may have some proof-like ideas to support theories, but in the end you cannot know for sure. How could you spend your entire life trying to understand something that is probably impossible to understand because it's completely beyond your realm of understanding?



You have to believe that the universe is rational to be a working scientist.




Even if we did learn what makes the universe tick, what are we going to do with that knowledge? We can never leave Earth to avoid extinction and we'll eventually die out and the Earth will cease to exist and all that knowledge will be gone.



How do you know what we could find? What if we find an almost endless source of cheap energy? What if we find a way to stop apoptosis?
 
  • #53
Maui said:
What if we find an almost endless source of cheap energy?

almost endless source [itex]\neq[/itex] endless source

Therefore end.
 
  • #54
Maui said:
What if we find an almost endless source of cheap energy?


Upisoft said:
almost endless source [itex]\neq[/itex] endless source

Therefore end.




Was that an attempt to make a point about something? If yes, where do you think i said "endless source of energy" instead of "almost endless source of energy"?
 
  • #55
Maui said:
Was that an attempt to make a point about something? If yes, where do you think i said "endless source of energy" instead of "almost endless source of energy"?

You didn't said it. Any "almost endless source of energy" will end. Maybe after long long long time. And there is the futility of science. After the end the science will not matter.
 
  • #56
Upisoft said:
You didn't said it. Any "almost endless source of energy" will end. Maybe after long long long time. And there is the futility of science. After the end the science will not matter.



When one source is over, there could be others waiting to be found.
 
  • #57
Maui said:
When one source is over, there could be others waiting to be found.
I hate to repeat myself, but here it is again. Do you think there is endless number of energy sources? Finite number multiplied by finite number is still finite number. My point still stands.
 
  • #58
Upisoft said:
almost endless source [itex]\neq[/itex] endless source

Therefore end.

Why do you keep on living? Why do you waste our Earth's resources by carrying on living, you could just top yourself right now.

The above is an almost direct analogy to what you are saying about not bothering to advance technology so that we can move planets when we need to; just on a much larger (and more important, sorry) scale.

And how do you know that we will eventually end? It could be possible that one day we discover a way to enclose a certain amount of energy or perhaps top it up with some clever method of drawing from vacuum energy.

In fact, don't bother thinking about that, it would just be a "complete waste of time".
 
  • #59
Jamma said:
Why do you keep on living? Why do you waste our Earth's resources by carrying on living, you could just top yourself right now.
Will it matter at the end? No. Why do I kill myself then?
You just find the idea repulsive and your desire to destroy it is irrationally transformed to desire to destroy me. No man, no problem.

Jamma said:
In fact, don't bother thinking about that, it would just be a "complete waste of time".

Yes, it is, but unfortunately I have no better alternative.
 
  • #60
Upisoft said:
You just find the idea repulsive and your desire to destroy it is irrationally transformed to desire to destroy me. No man, no problem.

It seems that you are failing to understand my logical argument. I have no desire to destroy you, when did I say that? I was simply drawing an analogy whereby your argument should be applied to another situation, if you believe it to be true, forcing you to accept either both your own argument and the highlighted situation or to decline your original argument. It's a common technique in arguments...

Well, I suppose you can just say nothing matters, everything is futile, but I feel that you then need to define what you mean by something "mattering". If you are saying that everything is futile because we will all eventually be destroyed, you need to prove that it is inescapable that we will definitely eventually be destroyed. So please define what you mean by something "mattering".
 
  • #61
Jamma said:
It seems that you are failing to understand my logical argument. I have no desire to destroy you, when did I say that? I was simply drawing an analogy whereby your argument should be applied to another situation if, you believe it to be true, forcing you to accept either both your own argument and the highlighted situation or to decline your original argument. It's a common technique in arguments...
You actually expressed proposal that I do the dirty job myself. Anyway your arguing technique is not working. You assumed that my life is "waste of time" and then proposed that I end this "waste of time", thinking there is a difference between both. But ultimately at the end, there is no difference, therefore doing one or another is equally "wasteful".

Jamma said:
Well, I suppose you can just say nothing matters, everything is futile, but I feel that you then need to define what you mean by something "mattering".
Something matters if there is a difference at its end. And since we are talking about the science, I say it doesn't matter.

Jamma said:
If you are saying that everything is futile because we will all eventually be destroyed, you need to prove that it is inescapable that we will definitely eventually be destroyed.
I cannot prove that everything will be destroyed. And you cannot prove that it will continue ad infinitum. It is just observation that life depends on free energy and that amount of free energy is going more or less in one direction.
 
  • #62
Upisoft said:
You actually expressed proposal that I do the dirty job myself. Anyway your arguing technique is not working. You assumed that my life is "waste of time" and then proposed that I end this "waste of time", thinking there is a difference between both. But ultimately at the end, there is no difference, therefore doing one or another is equally "wasteful".


Something matters if there is a difference at its end. And since we are talking about the science, I say it doesn't matter.


I cannot prove that everything will be destroyed. And you cannot prove that it will continue ad infinitum. It is just observation that life depends on free energy and that amount of free energy is going more or less in one direction.

Right, so this free energy thing, and everything you are basing your argument on is BASED upon scientific research; you wouldn't even be able to make such arguments without science. Therefore, it is possible that from more understanding of science your arguments may be changed too; i.e. if we do figure out that it will be possible to exist forever. You can't say that the thing you are basing your arguments on doesn't matter because you are admitting to ignoring the thing which you are basing your arguments on.

You say that something matters if there is a difference at it's end and you just admitted also to the fact that you can't prove that we won't all be destroyed. So you are admitting that it is possible that science will make a difference and therefore also admitting that science does matter.

QED

And it is irrelevant that I can't prove that everything won't end, because there is the possibility that it won't which validates my position. And there are some people who would still say that things matter even if everything will end; it's just that this position is harder to defend.
 
  • #63
Jamma said:
Right, so this free energy thing, and everything you are basing your argument on is BASED upon scientific research; you wouldn't even be able to make such arguments without science.

O - observation,
S - science,
M - my position.

It is O->M, O->S. You wrongly assumed it is O->S, S->M.
 
  • #64
What do them arrows mean? You say O->S which I assume means that science is based on observation, so by extension the first diagram shows that your position is based upon observation. And what aids observation the most and our ability to understand it? Science of course! Why should your argument based upon YOUR observations be taken without greater understanding of observations i.e. the pursuit of science.

You say that "It is just observation that life depends on free energy and that amount of free energy is going more or less in one direction. " but that is most certainly not a trivial observation, and has a LOT of science behind it.
 
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  • #65
Jamma said:
You say that "It is just observation that life depends on free energy and that amount of free energy is going more or less in one direction. " but that is most certainly not a trivial observation, and has a LOT of science behind it.

The science is a tool that helps me to express my ideas in more compact and understandable form. It is useful for me. I don't deny its usefulness in context of "now". But as any tool its usefulness depends on the existence of the user.

Your answer to the problem is in the unknown(that we don't know what may happen in the future), I'd say you hope for a miracle.

People just need something that explains their lives. Something external to them. Something that shapes the Universe and gives meaning to everything in it. They call it God, unknown future, whatever. They forget that most simple explanation is most probably the correct one.

"There is no meaning" is simpler than "There is meaning, because we don't know what will happen in the future".
 
  • #66
I wouldn't say that it is hoping for a miracle. I'm sure that thousands of years ago, people would have considered it a miracle that we would be flying around in aeroplanes and be able to almost instantly send information to each other.

It's not too much of a leap to think that there is a possibility that one day we will be so advanced that we will find a way to ensure our continued existence. One could argue us having got so far scientifically still exists in some context when the universe has gone, although this is a bit of a weak point.

The topic is called "Isn't science futile?" and by the everyday usage of the term futile, it's pretty obvious that it isn't.
 
  • #67
Jamma said:
I wouldn't say that it is hoping for a miracle. I'm sure that thousands of years ago, people would have considered it a miracle that we would be flying around in aeroplanes and be able to almost instantly send information to each other.
This is quite different. In this example there are two types of observers. The ancient people who think that the airplane is a miracle and we who know that it isn't.

But when you talk about endless power I see only one type of observers. These who imagine something now considered impossible (a miracle). It is even not a real observation, it is merely an imagination.

Jamma said:
It's not too much of a leap to think that there is a possibility that one day we will be so advanced that we will find a way to ensure our continued existence. One could argue us having got so far scientifically still exists in some context when the universe has gone, although this is a bit of a weak point.

The topic is called "Isn't science futile?" and by the everyday usage of the term futile, it's pretty obvious that it isn't.

I'm not discussing the everyday usage of the science. Anyway I'm not making that leap of faith you are suggesting. You see, more we know more boundaries we find. People believed that there is no speed limit until we found it. People believed there is no limit to the precision of the measurements, until we found there is. And you believe there is an energy source without boundaries...
 
  • #68
I'm not up on all of the discussion, simply I wish to ask what we mean to say when we say does something "matter"? From what I have read, Upisoft stated what he considered his definition for the discussion of something "mattering" that is "X matters iff it makes a difference in the end" From this definition of "matter" the argument was made that "X matters iff it makes a difference in the end. Science does not make a difference in the end, therefore Science does not matter". This seems to be an ample definition, but for it to have any meaning, or to be true we have to analyze the term "difference" because now we are saying that X matters iff X stands in a certain relation r to y. Now this all seems like unneccessary complication, because "difference" is a common term, so anything that changes the state of affairs that would have been can be called a "difference". But, now what does it seems as though we come to? The concept of difference seems to rest inherently on underlying assumptions, because at this point we can make tautologies out of the definition, that is for any x we put in the statement will be true. If you believe that difference means changing something in the end, and your underlying assumptions are that of somebody who believes in strict determinism/fatalism and denies the existence of possibility, you have it where any x you put in would not make a difference and therefore nothing would matter. But, on the other hand, if you were to admit of possibility and by extension the reality of temporality, you would have to admit that if you put in any value for x the statement would be such that everything mattered, because everything that is done, will change the possible outcome of some future state. You could claim that you meant "make a difference on a large scale" thus taking us from a local view to a more global picture, but in this case what level would you zoom to? Clearly the implementation of Science has "made a difference" in individuals lives, and through technology it has made a difference to the Earth itself. If you zoom out further than the Earth and say "there it has not made a difference" then you are rgith, but by that definition little else has. If the assumption of determnisim/fatalism, then the only thing that could make a difference would be the initial state of the universe, and otherwise everything makes a difference.
 
  • #69
JDStupi said:
I'm not up on all of the discussion, simply I wish to ask what we mean to say when we say does something "matter"? From what I have read, Upisoft stated what he considered his definition for the discussion of something "mattering" that is "X matters iff it makes a difference in the end" From this definition of "matter" the argument was made that "X matters iff it makes a difference in the end. Science does not make a difference in the end, therefore Science does not matter". This seems to be an ample definition, but for it to have any meaning, or to be true we have to analyze the term "difference" because now we are saying that X matters iff X stands in a certain relation r to y. Now this all seems like unneccessary complication, because "difference" is a common term, so anything that changes the state of affairs that would have been can be called a "difference". But, now what does it seems as though we come to? The concept of difference seems to rest inherently on underlying assumptions, because at this point we can make tautologies out of the definition, that is for any x we put in the statement will be true. If you believe that difference means changing something in the end, and your underlying assumptions are that of somebody who believes in strict determinism/fatalism and denies the existence of possibility, you have it where any x you put in would not make a difference and therefore nothing would matter. But, on the other hand, if you were to admit of possibility and by extension the reality of temporality, you would have to admit that if you put in any value for x the statement would be such that everything mattered, because everything that is done, will change the possible outcome of some future state. You could claim that you meant "make a difference on a large scale" thus taking us from a local view to a more global picture, but in this case what level would you zoom to? Clearly the implementation of Science has "made a difference" in individuals lives, and through technology it has made a difference to the Earth itself. If you zoom out further than the Earth and say "there it has not made a difference" then you are rgith, but by that definition little else has. If the assumption of determnisim/fatalism, then the only thing that could make a difference would be the initial state of the universe, and otherwise everything makes a difference.

The problem with expressing my ideas is based on the fact that people developed their languages to express mostly temporal phenomena from the everyday point of view. So, when I move my view point from now to the distant future, most of the language becomes useless and I have to redefine the meaning of the words on the fly.

Of course, if you look at the universe as a whole everything makes difference. You can't make single change in an atom without affecting something else. The effect of your changes will travel with the speed of light at max. But in everyday usage of "does it matter?" we are rarely interested of effects our actions can cause to the distant galaxies or if the distant galaxies cause something to us. We filter the information in different ways, usually defined by the context. Thus there is no fixed meaning of that phrase, it is rather flexible.

So, if we ask the question, "does the science matter?" without context, we ask nothing. If the context is if it affects our lives now, then of course the answer is "yes".

I was exploring another context - the distant future when there will be no free energy available to support life. Also, the question is not if different evens due to different developments of science can cause different arrangement of matter in distant future. The obvious answer here is "yes", because everything causes effect on everything else with some finite speed of propagation.The context is if there will be something we care about now. Examples: We care about life, and there will be no life; we care about friendship, love, achievements, etc. But in that context there will be no one to care about things. All what will be there(filtered from details we don't care about) is cold, dark, empty and lifeless universe.

Will science have some effect on that? Some people believe, putting their faith in something: God, unknown future, etc., that there will be difference. They escape this conclusion by creating fictional realms(heaven, hell, etc.) or fictional entities (unknown but existing advances in science, etc.). I'm not a believer, I choose the simpler answer as the correct one. From my point of view, believing in fictional entities is all the same, no matter how plausible some of them may look like.
 
  • #70
Upisoft said:
All what will be there(filtered from details we don't care about) is cold, dark, empty and lifeless universe.

That's an assumption, a belief of yours, no matter how plausible it may look like to you.
 

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