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What answers do you seek in science?

  1. Jul 2, 2005 #1
    Humans have the need to understand the existence we have here on this planet, in this galaxy and in this universe. The questions that burn in our minds the most are usually those which in our life time anyways have no answers. Whats this life and why? What happens when we die? Were we created by some "god" or are we some higher beings science experiment? So I tend to believe those who are into science are searching for some proof to what this all means. What answers do you seek ultimately, If you could have one question answered what would it be?
     
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  3. Jul 2, 2005 #2

    Pengwuino

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    I mainly want to devote my carreer to figuring really cool things that make big noises and flashes of lights. Cop movies turn me on....
     
  4. Jul 2, 2005 #3

    Janus

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    I think that those who are into science are more interested in the "hows" and not the "whys". The big questions you mention are just not within the purview of Science.
     
  5. Jul 2, 2005 #4
    search for intelligence or understanding astrophysics at the fundamental level.
     
  6. Jul 2, 2005 #5

    Pengwuino

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    Arent hows and whys pretty much the same?
     
  7. Jul 2, 2005 #6
    I have always believed that Science gives you the How's and Philosophy (Religion) gives you the why's.
    I am personally interested in both.
     
  8. Jul 2, 2005 #7
    ~~forgive me but this is a poor reply IMO because well in order to understand how somthing works dont you first want to know why? Im not here to debate with you guys just asking a question that requires some imagination and some thought try answering this with your heart-Id like that.
     
  9. Jul 2, 2005 #8
    An addition to that statement, bear with me, it will be vary vague as my memory of these things is not very good, and I don't want to give any false statements.

    Ok, the birth of science was tied into religion or philosophy, and was intended to understand the nature of reality and God. Physis (now physics) was a greek understanding of reality above pure mathematics but below philosophy. It was believed that mathematics, though divine, could not disprove anything physis had proved, and physis could not disprove anything philosophy (the soul) had proved. Simple example, if you created a formula to prove gravity didn't exist it would be discarded because physics proves that it does, (what goes up must come down, even if you mathematically prove it doesn't)
    But, then along came Chrisitanity, and my next point, one of the first book on physics, (this is where I wish I could remember details), one of my friends if currently writing his PHD thesis on it, his point that this ancient Roman book of physics is actually a book on morality. IE, it was trying to remove from people the fear of God by lessening or disproving his existance. Since then there has been factions of the scientific community who are compelled to disprove God's existance for the sake of freeing morality.
    Now, one of my studies lead by Dr. Klostemier (a class called "Science and Religion") proposed that there are now three types of scientists, (three motivaitons).

    1. Those who are still putting all thier efforts (conciously or subconciously) into disproving the existence of God or Gods.

    2. Those who are spawned by the first and are blindly and often fruitlessly trying to prove the existance of God and disprove any theories of the first. (Anti-evolutionaries, ect)

    3. Scientists who are simply trying to find out the truth.

    The first and second are equally harmful to society and the scientific community, but sadly you see them everywhere.

    Where is this going? Ah yes, "What answers do you seek in science?"
    Well good scientists are those who are, "simply trying to find out the truth."
    In science that is generally HOW, I believe if you look to the WHY you are overstepping your bounds and stepping on the feet of the theologians and philosophers.
     
  10. Jul 2, 2005 #9

    Janus

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    No. example: one could very easily figure out "how" an alarm clock works without knowing "why". How it works is by the particular arrangement of gears that drives the hands such that one hand makes one revolution for every 60 of the other. But you don't need to know why this particular arrangement was chosen to do so. "Why" implies a reason. "How" doesn't.
     
  11. Jul 2, 2005 #10
    wonderful reply Captin-im seeing things in a tinge diffrent light now as I understand thinnking on it that how and why are pretty diffrent though I think they both are seeking some answer and both spawned from curiosity and the desire to understand.


    And Janus yes your right but I think my real question here is like hmm..say for instance Astronomy, what is the ultimate goal of this field and how can it not tie in with some greater picture or spirituality-(i dont mean religion) I look up into the sky and it moves me i see pictures of the universe and im in awe its the same thing when i listen to music I love that feeling that puts your hair on end and makes you feel happy to be expieriencing life...
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2005
  12. Jul 2, 2005 #11

    Janus

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    See my post above. No, you do not need to know "why" to learn how.
     
  13. Jul 3, 2005 #12

    Ivan Seeking

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    To know the mind of God.

    [Define God however you like]
     
  14. Jul 3, 2005 #13

    selfAdjoint

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    I'm with Ivan. To say anything is not in the purview of science is not right. Science may not know NOW the answers to the why questions, but it aims to find out everything that can be found out. It may turn out that the why questions are just human projection of their tribal values on the universe, but if the questions have answers, science will eventually try to find them.
     
  15. Jul 3, 2005 #14

    arildno

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    Perhaps the chief value of science lies in developing the skill of formulating answerable questions..:wink:
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2005
  16. Jul 3, 2005 #15

    Ivan Seeking

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    ...and not assuming which questions can and can't be answered. :wink:
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2005
  17. Jul 3, 2005 #16
    What answers do you seek in science? When I was young, I wanted to understand the universe (and you should note that "the universe" is usually defined to be equivalent to "everything"). What did I mean by "understand"? Did I mean I wanted the emotional rush of recognition that I understood it? Not no, but hell no! I wanted to be able to explain my experiences! Not just any explanation, as explanations are a dime a dozen, but an explanation which would hold up to detailed examination. :uhh:

    Well, I found it! Michaelangelo was always credited with being the last man on earth to "know" everything; in the same vein, I am the first person on earth to "understand" everything. Are any of you interested? It's out there if you care to look. But don't scan it first, read it line by line. If you cannot resist a cursory scan, at least do me the courtesy of reading my model of a general explanation first. :grumpy:

    What does one seek in science? One seeks solutions to the fundamental equation:
    :biggrin:
    [tex]
    \left\{\sum_i\vec{\alpha_i}\,\cdot\,\vec{\nabla_i}\,+\,
    \sum_{i\not=j}\beta_{ij}\delta(\vec{x_i}\,-{\vec{x_j}})\right\}
    \vec{\Psi}\,\,=\,\,K\frac{\partial}{\partial t}\vec{\Psi}\,=
    \,iKm\vec{\Psi}[/tex]

    And that is the whole story in a nutshell. :tongue:

    Have fun -- Dick
     
  18. Jul 4, 2005 #17
    ~~Wow impressive-May I ask you what that paper was written for? Was it a class, your job or for the heck of it?
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2005
  19. Jul 4, 2005 #18
    To understand what's goin on, to make concepts and use them...
     
  20. Jul 6, 2005 #19
    My original paper was written for publication. However, all attempts to get it published failed. Take a quick look at John Baez's post on this forum. John is a well respected professional physicist employed by the University of California at Riverside. He has an excellent web page where a lot of very important stuff is laid out in easily understood presentations. :smile:

    I only comment on John's post because I have had a very real personal experience with the issues Lee Smolin is talking about. I have a Ph.D. in theoretical physics. I got there, not because I wanted to "do physics" but, because I wanted to understand the universe (and by the way, "the universe" is everything by definition) and physicists seemed to have a better handle on the problem than anyone else; however, by the time I received my degree, I was throughly disappointed with the physics community. My thesis adviser and I disagreed on the importance of "number crunching" as compared to underlying principals. :tongue:

    Just as an aside, every theoretical physicist I have ever met made it quite clear that they had utterly no doubt as to the correctness of modern theory (all it might need are minor corrections which could be found by careful examination of the predicted results and experiments: i.e., "diligent number crunching"). One once told me (who I do not remember), "don't worry about the logical defense, people much better than you have already examined that issue exhaustively". One day (when I asked my thesis adviser a simple question) he said, "only geniuses ask questions like that and, believe me, you're no genius." I never thought I was but I didn't think you had to be one to ask questions. It did make me think about the meaning of the word "genius" though. I decided that the real purpose of the word is to provide an out for the professional's failure to spot the errors in their own perspective. :yuck:

    One year, when I was taking a Quantum course given by the chairman of the department, I commented to him about something I had noticed. [That would be exactly the same issue I tried to explain to Hurkyl here (actually consists of three posts because of length)]. The professor looked over my work one evening with me and, after several hours of serious discussion, said, "well, of course you are right, but don't show this to any of the other students, it will just confuse them!" At the time, I respected him and kept what I had noticed to myself (after all, at the time, I knew of no applications anyway so what difference could it make). I only mention this because it reflects the stifling of original thought practiced in US graduate schools.

    So, after I got my degree, I earned my living outside physics (no one wanted to support the kind of thing I wanted to think about and I certainly didn't want to teach things I couldn't support). None the less, I continued to think. I had discovered the equation I gave above,

    [tex]
    \left\{\sum_i\vec{\alpha_i}\,\cdot\,\vec{\nabla_i}\,+\,
    \sum_{i\not=j}\beta_{ij}\delta(\vec{x_i}\,-{\vec{x_j}})\right\}
    \vec{\Psi}\,\,=\,\,K\frac{\partial}{\partial t}\vec{\Psi}\,=
    \,iKm\vec{\Psi},[/tex]

    back when I was a graduate student but I could not solve it then. Thus, at that time, it was little more than a useless representation of an idea. However, some twelve years later, I managed to pull out a solution. Once I saw how to solve the thing, everything just fell into place. When I tried to publish my results, every journal I submitted it to rejected it (I don't think a referee ever saw it as they all said it was outside the interest of their publication).

    I went to my thesis adviser for help in getting it published. He was very helpful :rofl: ; he informed me that "no one would ever read my work because I had not paid my dues". Oh yes, he also refused to look at it himself. Well, I didn't believe him and I continued to try to generate some interest. As it turned out that he was quite right. The physicists said it was philosophy; the philosophers said it was mathematics and the mathematicians said it was physics. So I have discovered a new field of interest to no one. I laid it aside and when on with my life. :biggrin:

    And that is the way it would probably have ended except for two events. In 1987, I bought an IBM286 PC at a garage sale that happened to have "Word Perfect 5.0" on it. That program could display mathematical equations and had spell check (my spelling is normally atrocious). So I copied my old hand work over to a WP file and sent it out to a few people. The response was no better than before. In 2000, I was cleaning the attic and ran across a copy. I commented about it to my son-in-law who suggested I self publish on the web which I did. Except for some minor corrections, that is exactly what is posted on my web page (click on the book).

    The thing on explanation was generated after some conversations with Paul Martin. As I say, it is the underlying essence of the other paper. As I said earlier, anyone who seeks to understand anything is seeking solutions to the fundamental equation given above whether they know it or not. It is quite easy to show that understanding a language (and thus the ability to think) is itself a solution to that equation. Is it philosophy or is it physics or is it mathematics? It is all three as it is an analysis of exact science itself.

    Have fun -- Dick
     
  21. Jul 11, 2005 #20
    I would like to know how the brain takes information, which we call 'pain' and 'pleasure', and turns it into a physical experience.

    In fact I think I'll make a thread on this somewhere. I wanna see everyone's theories.
     
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