Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

The raged end

  1. Apr 12, 2003 #1


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    why is science so full of holes ,if science was a medical patient and the scientist the doctor the patient would have bled to death by now .we talk of black holes, worm holes, dark matter,vacuum energy, etc etc as if they are a reality, ask a scientist, "what is a proven fact", they reply "nothing",what is the use of continuing to pursue a truth that will always elude us?
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 12, 2003 #2


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    We (human society) learns a lot in the process, even though it is highly unlikely we'll ever get to an ultimate truth. Meanwhile we've got the internet, lasers, global positioning, just for starters, based on scientific developments (a lot due to Einstein) of the twentieth century.
  4. Apr 13, 2003 #3


    User Avatar

    Ah but that is the nature of scientific advancement. The concept of proof in science is always an unattainable one. The key point is that theories are judged on probabilities, not absolute truth. Take Relativity.... We know from experimental evidence that it has passed everytime. But there is always the chance that there is something we find that is inconsistent and would press us to revise the theory. So, though all the evidence points towards the theory being correct, it is not a proven fact. Can you really give anything that is a proven fact?
    The use of persuing the truth is the fundamental optimism of science. We assume we can never know the whole truth, but we do know we can get closer to it. It is undeniable that our current theories are more accurate than the old classical physics is it not? The point is that while we will never know everything, we can, will know anything. The goal of science is a never ending one of expansion. Stuff like lasers, internet are nice extras.
  5. Apr 13, 2003 #4


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Excellent posts, mathman and FZ+

    You prefer, perhaps, to give up and go back to living in caves? :wink:

    The scientific method is the best method we have for figuring out how the universe works. The universe is complex and hard to understand. The scientific method provides a way to examine and test it objectively. The method acknowledges limitations of knowledge and uncertainties. It is designed to be error-correcting.

    There are certainly "proven facts" in science, but the "nothing" response you are talking about is the acknowledgement of uncertainty and limitations...we can't know Everything, but we can build the best possible explanatory models based on the best available evidence and work from there.

    You'll find Perfect Truth in the fiction section of the bookstore. :wink:

    Hmm...shall I send this to Other Sciences or the Philosophy forum?...um, off to Other Sciences it goes!
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook