Science, another faith system ?

  • Thread starter Moneer81
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  • #126
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Then why don't they start jumping on ideas? You don't gain evidence by settling for the current evidence.
They have started jumping on ideas.
They aren't settling for current evidence, it's just that that is what the evidence is saying so far.
And jumping one new ideas won't make you gain evidence at all. The evidence will arrive independantly.
It's not like we will get evidence which contradicts the the constancy of light only when we begin investigating the theory behind it.
 
  • #127
loseyourname
Staff Emeritus
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Just to note, guys (most of you seem to get this anyway), this forum isn't meant for critiquing the actions of scientists. It's meant for discussion of the philosophical underpinnings of science and mathematics, which can include methodology, the logic involved, and the history of how these things developed. If you're going to claim dogmatism, then you need to link that somehow to the scientific method or its justification. If you're simply going to claim that science as an institution is dogmatic (or anything else), that really isn't a philosophical discussion and belongs in social sciences, as it is a social phenomenon.
 
  • #128
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What's the problem lose? We're discussing the philosophy of science and religion, (mostly science now) and their logic, the only way to do that is to include the methods. If the methods seem dogmatic. I'm just going to say it, I do have freedom of speech on this subject right? I am backing it up by stating the way science stops at every bump and begins to worship instead of move forward, and how hard it is for those who try to move forward because of the religious comparison.
 
  • #129
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lol, although I think you have a point, I can see loseyourname's concern. I had a forum (still do, but I have a serious lack of membership) and have of the members were idiots that called people dumb***es for disagreeing with them. Then when I talked to them about it, they were all like, "I have freedom of speech, I can say whatever I want." So I beleive their should be a certain degree of control on content, yes?
 
  • #130
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Sure, but there is no one here cussing. That analysis was a bit off course. We aren't calling each other dumb****'*. I say, let the members have a discussion if they are having a healthy discussion, there's no problem here. Afterall this is a "Help" forum, an internet website where people can come together and discuss ideas and views, it wasn't a monarchy last time I checked, but who knows!
 
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  • #131
TheUnknown said:
What's the problem lose? We're discussing the philosophy of science and religion, (mostly science now) and their logic, the only way to do that is to include the methods. If the methods seem dogmatic. I'm just going to say it, I do have freedom of speech on this subject right? I am backing it up by stating the way science stops at every bump and begins to worship instead of move forward, and how hard it is for those who try to move forward because of the religious comparison.
The problem isn't with empirical science, but with human scientists. Perhaps if there are really Vulcan scientists they might change their opinions with the presentation of new evidence. Some humans in the sciences make the mistake of stopping after they learn things one way and don't want to move on to new ideas. In some cases it may be because they don't have a separate set of religious beliefs that are constant.

Religion has definite truths. Science is a search for the truth. Like the frog who can only jump halfway to his final destination, scientists approach the complete truth but don't quite get there. Increases in knowledge can lead to more questions as well as some answers.
 
  • #132
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This is really confusing. I think the point is there are certain things we can predict with very high probability, and that is very useful and comforting. If the human race had no concept of "physics" emm we wouldn't be discussing this on this forum, which would be a great shame in my opinion, meaning that we wouldn't have the internet and so couldn't download cool music and books and stuff. Or wouldn't we? Perhaps the internet could have been invented by trial and error with no concepts with which to predict the way it could work, (optical fibre technology and such, Electromagnetism etc etc...), but probably not... more examples? I'm sure there are countless positive things that could not have been achieved without physics "knowledge", although there are probably many more positive things that could be achieved if the human race in general were to apply some of the true christian principles, like caring and sharing.
 
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  • #133
On Hume's Problem of Induction and the Original Topic

Hume's problem of induction, which with regards to science effectively rules out the principle of the uniformity of nature and restricts how general a theory can be, itself has problems. I'd like to point out a situation in which the problem of induction fails:

Einstein postulated in his general theory of relativity that space-time behaves like a differentiable manifold. This was a reasonable assumption, but an assumption nonetheless and deserved to be tested. Well, it has been, and since general relativity has been verified to ridiculous extents, it has been confirmed that, at least over all observed regions of space and time, space-time has the properties of a differentiable manifold. Thus, the regions that behave like a differentiable manifold should obey the rules of differential geometry. In differential geometry, geometric equations inherit a property called covariance - a geometric equation (such as something that relates a vector to some other vector) expressible in a covariant form in one coordinate system in a region on a differentiable manifold will have the same algebraic form in any other coordinate system and at any other point on the manifold.

Let's bring this over to the laws of physics. If we can express a law in a covariant way, then, since space-time acts as a differentiable manifold, the law should be good over all space and all time.

But wait! What if there is some strange and sudden discontinuity in space-time and it no longer behaves as a differentiable manifold? Well if that happens, then it's no longer the same space-time we've come to know and love. So to this end, how much sense to it make to say "at this point in time, time is no longer time" or "at this point in space, space is no longer space?" None. To refer to a point in time, we need a time coordinate; to say at that coordinate time is no longer time means that we can't refer to that coordinate since it can't be a time coordinate.

I feel like this gives plenty of motivation to accept the principle of uniformity of nature and ought to make one question Hume's problem of induction. Furthermore, it shows how through the immutable power of mathematics, a theory can be confirmed, not just facets of it. With regards to experimental falsification, if a facet of a theory is confirmed, certain mathematical requirements may demand that many other facets of the theory be correct (if a vibrating string is discovered to obey the wave equation over some region, then the endpoints of the region that obeys the equation MUST have one of the two boundary conditions admitted by the equation, otherwise the region CAN'T be described by the equation).

Now, on to the original problem with the friend.
So, "what if gravity is just God's will?" I like your response: that's just giving gravity another name. No matter what the "metaphysical" cause is, it still happens, it's still mathematically modelled, it's still covariant, and it's therefore still a good physical law. I know some physicists who say that if there is a god, then it's nothing more than nature. This gets into another topic which I wish to avoid, but my point is if your friend is going to argue such a thing, then it has no physical consequence...I would imagine an all powerful being should get bored by moving stuff all the time, though. :)

I read someone's earlier post discussing that crackpot reformed physcist, Thomas Kuhn (I refer to him as such simply because his book is misleading. One can hardly say that the science of the middle ages, Ptolemy, and the Greeks compares to the method used today - namely now we require evidence). I believe Kuhn's point that there was a paradigm shift between Newton and Einstein and that the explanations and equations for gravity between them differ was brought up. I want to say, if I may, that this is bull****. :) The correspondance principle isn't applied to just quantum mechanics, it's a generally good principle. The same variables in Newton's equations DO appear in Einstein's! Mass isn't a relativistically important quantity, so it was generalized to energy density. The energy density isn't covariant, so it was generalized to the stress-energy tensor. You can see in the non-relativistic limit that the energy density becomes mass density and the spatial components of the stress-energy tensor vanish. Taking the weak-field limit and describing space as flat space with a slight perturbation produces Poisson's equation for Newtonian gravity, an embodiment of Newton's laws. True, Newton's space was flat, but in the weak field limit, space is generally treated as flat with the gravitational potential (the perturbation to flat space) kept the same as Newton's. There was no change, and Newtonian equations and modes of thought are STILL valid in the appropriate limit.
I would then like to say that GOOD theories aren't replaced, they're generalized. The generalizations always reproduce the special theory in the appropriate limits and circumstances.
 
  • #134
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While theories about science like Kuhn's may be interesting for history or sociology, I fail to see why they can be interesting for science.

People blamed Popper for focusing merely on ideas to better develop science ; eh, isn't that the whole point? I was wondering, have there been other philosophers after Popper who focused on the process of discovering good scientific theories?
 
  • #135
794
1
Interesting thread --(even though it seems to have many variations in other threads)

Some things I see:

from post 87 is that there is a difference in the definitions of #1 and #2

post 98 is good---and logical

and 118 too.


I see the discussion more from a viewpoint of invention:

(observations>hypothesis>results>theory>conclusion)

[a thinking process where the 'conclusion' is the end of a thought until the very next input/observation]



What anyone 'knows' is what one of their fives senses has told them, even a schizophrenic going through a delusional state of hallucination (on one end of the scale) to a moment of lucidity (Archimedes).

Faith (or some other similar word having about the same definition, not the religious definition) has to start somewhere, and it may be the beginning of science long ago.


E.g.---The caveman stuck his toe in the water. The water was cold. He pulled his toe out of the water. He stuck his toe back in the water. The water was still cold. He pulled it back out again. He did this several more times. -----Now, how many times would he have had to stick his toe in the water to come to the realization that the water was cold at THAT time on THAT day. And would (and when) he somehow realize that on a hot summer day (it may have been a winter day in the first scenario) that the water would be warm? Would he have also thought about grabbing a rock that was in a fire?


Within a given set having a large enough variable base, there is and will be extremes. When was the very first time that someone attributed a sensory input to a 'higher power'? When did that 'higher power' get a 'following'? When were other sensory inputs attributed to that 'higher power'? ---(And I don't mean 'a diety' specifically here)





For me, here's the tricky part to think about:


At what level of consciousness/belief (their accumulated knowledge of what they have come to know and experience), do they tell themselves:

"I am going to stop thinking about all other possibilities of 'what and why' something happens, and relate all my new experiences on what I know right now." ---(And I don't mean 'a diety' specifically here, either)




Even in this sub-set there's probably a bell shaped curve, so some may want to learn 'some things' and others won't.

Then,
(observations>hypothesis>results>theory>conclusion)


can be written for those:


[observations>(someone else's/an earlier)hypothesis>(someone else's/an earlier)results>(someone else's/an earlier)theory>(someone else's/an earlier)conclusion]





(IMHO, as another chit-chatter hanging usually at the ol' office quantum well--hmm, some cold water does sound good right about now)
 
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  • #136
794
1
post 127 was inspiring (THE reason for the 135 post)
 

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