Scientific method/rationalism = faith?

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  • #1
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this isn't crack pottery or really that philosophical so that's why i posted it here.

obviously science itself isn't faith based, we expect repeatable results and testable hypotheses from our scientists.

but there are open problems and all the people that see all the good science has done expect them to eventually be solved ( all or some is irrelevant right now ). this expectation is a faith in the scientific method or science's ability to solve problems. deep down it is a belief that the universe plays by rational rules.

personally i have faith :approve:
 

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  • #2
Chi Meson
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Is this day one of Philosophy 101?

Oh, I apologize right away for that.
 
  • #3
Hurkyl
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Empiricism and rationalism are very different things.
 
  • #4
Ivan Seeking
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this isn't crack pottery or really that philosophical so that's why i posted it here.

obviously science itself isn't faith based, we expect repeatable results and testable hypotheses from our scientists.

but there are open problems and all the people that see all the good science has done expect them to eventually be solved ( all or some is irrelevant right now ). this expectation is a faith in the scientific method or science's ability to solve problems. deep down it is a belief that the universe plays by rational rules.

personally i have faith :approve:
It wasn't until my senior year in college that I first considered that the universe might not be explainable by science. It was implicit in my thinking that the universe must make sense according to our reasoning - that a GUT was inevitable. It was only when a prof asked why it must be so, that my universe collapsed. :bugeye:

...and then the stars slowly began to wink out....
 
  • #5
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What's GUT? General Unifying Theory? Something like TOE?
 
  • #6
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this isn't crack pottery or really that philosophical so that's why i posted it here.

obviously science itself isn't faith based, we expect repeatable results and testable hypotheses from our scientists.

but there are open problems and all the people that see all the good science has done expect them to eventually be solved ( all or some is irrelevant right now ). this expectation is a faith in the scientific method or science's ability to solve problems. deep down it is a belief that the universe plays by rational rules.

personally i have faith :approve:
I don't really have that faith you speak of. I think it was Kuhn who first said that the scientific method is just a model built around an increasing amount of data. A lot of people think of science as getting closer and closer to the truth. It's slightly different from that. Personally, I'm a pragmatist, and the only reason sceince has any value is because of what it produces. Namely technology/technical knowledge. As for figuring out what the universe really is about - I don't think we really have a method for that yet.
 
  • #7
Ivan Seeking
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What's GUT? General Unifying Theory? Something like TOE?
Yes, sorry; "GUT" goes back to Einstein's efforts to produce a Grand Unified Theory - effectively the same thing as a TOE.
 
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  • #8
hypnagogue
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Any halfway decent biologist will tell you that a gut is not the same thing as a toe.
 
  • #9
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What is it then? Do I need to call Moonbear? (she is the biology one, right? - it's been a while for me)
 
  • #10
Ivan Seeking
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Any halfway decent biologist will tell you that a gut is not the same thing as a toe.
Sure, but a completely decent one would never mention it in public.
 
  • #11
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It wasn't until my senior year in college that I first considered that the universe might not be explainable by science. It was implicit in my thinking that the universe must make sense according to our reasoning - that a GUT was inevitable. It was only when a prof asked why it must be so, that my universe collapsed. :bugeye:

...and then the stars slowly began to wink out....
You forgot the word yet. Its not explainable by science...............yet. Also, why does it have to make sense by our reasoning? There are lots of every day things in science that smacks our common sense reasoning in the face.

Its much easier to explain away things to religion than it is to grind it out and find the true answer through hard work and critical thinking.
 
  • #12
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Yes, sorry; "GUT" goes back to Einstein's efforts to produce a Grand Unified Theory - effectively the same thing as a TOE.
Hey, I was close! :approve::biggrin:
 
  • #13
hypnagogue
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You forgot the word yet. Its not explainable by science...............yet. Also, why does it have to make sense by our reasoning? There are lots of every day things in science that smacks our common sense reasoning in the face.

Its much easier to explain away things to religion than it is to grind it out and find the true answer through hard work and critical thinking.
You miss the point. Your attitude is the same attitude Ivan had *before* his senior year in college. The contrary idea is that perhaps it is not explicable in scientific terms, even in principle. No "yet".
 
  • #14
Ivan Seeking
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You forgot the word yet. Its not explainable by science...............yet.
I didn't forget the word "yet". The idea was that it may not ever be explainable due to either the fundamental limits of our mental capacity, or for other reasons that, perhaps, in themselves are beyond our current and potential scope of knowledge and/or understanding.

Edit: Yes, as indicated by Hyp.
 
  • #15
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You miss the point. Your attitude is the same attitude Ivan had *before* his senior year in college. The contrary idea is that perhaps it is not explicable in scientific terms, even in principle. No "yet".
But you are basing this on nothing but speculation. I mean, it took us 3500 years to get to where science is today. And most of it really took off in the last 200 years. In the big picture, this is not even a grain of sand in a sandbox. You cant expect the answers to GUT overnight. It might happen a thousand years from now, but eventually it will happen - provided we dont kill ourselves first.
 
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  • #16
hypnagogue
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But you are basing this on nothing but speculation.
I am explaining the concept, not arguing for it.
 
  • #17
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Also, you have to factor in that soon computers are going to be able to 'think'. Once that happens, it opens up a world of possibilities. A computer does not have to sleep, it can grind out a solution non stop for years if you make it. I think I saw a program, maybe Kaku, where he said soon (next 100 years) computers will be able to process things as fast as the human brain.

Plus, you never know. We might get help from some little green men out there in space. Personally, I feel 99.9% confident that we are not the only planet with life on it. The universe is far too big and far too old for us to be that special.
 
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  • #18
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It's fair to assume, i think, that cyrus has faith.
 
  • #19
Ivan Seeking
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It comes down to this: Until we know the fundamental nature of the universe, that is, until we have a set of equations that describe everything within a single consistent model, we don't know that the universe can be reduced to such a set of equations. Of course we all assume that it can be [or at least some theoretical physicists must], but we have no way to know if this is true until done.
 
  • #20
wolram
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My fear is that money will run out before all the theories we have are tested,
space science is expensive and needs stable economies to fund it.
 
  • #21
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Even if we cant figure it out, what reason does that give us to say it must therefore be religion that has the answers? The church used to kill people that said the sun went around the earth, until it was shown otherwise. Quite frankly, religion never has the answers.

What is the alternative? We can give up science all together and grow out beards and live in caves like those nut jobs in Afganistan. Thats what happens when you surrender to religion.


The moment I hear someone turn to religion, I see someone taking the easy way out to finding the answer to a hard question because you look in your bible and there is the answer. How convenient. Now I dont have to think for myself, the bible can think for me.
 
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  • #22
Ivan Seeking
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Even if we cant figure it out, what reason does that give us to say it must therefore be religion that has the answers? The church used to kill people that said the sun went around the earth, until it was shown otherwise. Quite frankly, religion never has the answers.
What does this have to do with the discussion?

What is the alternative? We can give up science all together and grow out beards and live in caves like those nut jobs in Afganistan. Thats what happens when you surrender to religion.


The moment I hear someone turn to religion, I see someone taking the easy way out to finding the answer to a hard question because you look in your bible and there is the answer. How convenient. Now I dont have to think for myself, the bible can think for me.
Um, Cyrus, I suggest that you use science as an anti-religion, which is why this thread bothers you. Is your religion is being attacked?

This is not about religion. It is about the potential limits of knowledge.
 
  • #23
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What does this have to do with the discussion?



Um, Cyrus, I suggest that you use science as an anti-religion, which is why this thread bothers you. Is your religion is being attacked?

This is not about religion. It is about the potential limits of knowledge.
it's quite funny, he's using the perennial logical fallacy of the theists: false dichotomy.

yes at its root it is about the limits of human knowledge. superficially though it's kind of a poll asking what have you chosen.
 
  • #24
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My fear is that money will run out before all the theories we have are tested,
space science is expensive and needs stable economies to fund it.
That's something to think about.
It is about the potential limits of knowledge.
I don't see why there is any more reason that there are practical limits to knowledge than there aren't.
 
  • #25
Ivan Seeking
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I don't see why there is any more reason that there are practical limits to knowledge than there aren't.
The point is to recognize that the possibility exists. Nothing was said about it being likely or not.
 

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