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DrPhill

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The trouble is that 'science' is more than just 'a thing'. There is the 'scientific method' which is 'get some evidence to support or discount you assertions'. In other words a statement is only useful if it is falsifiable. Can you devise an experiment that will clearly show whether the statement is true or false? If so, do the experiment, observe the result. Add the information to your view of reality. Because you tested it, and proved it, it is allowed into the scientific world view.

At the other end of the scale is 'science as a religion'. Not knocking it as it has given us some really good things. Like with most religions you have to accept some 'givens' before you start. Once you have accepted these then you can build a consistent world view. Again nothing wrong with that. But people who teach science never touch on these 'articles of faith' and somehow treat science as so much more fundamental than other religions.

Articles of faith:
  • There is a real objective universe out there independant of individuals
  • The real universe has measurable state, and that everyone who measures it will get the same values
  • That the state of the universe is truly understandable by humans
  • That the state of the universe changes in ways that show regularities (laws of nature)
  • That the laws of nature can be comprehended by humans
  • That the laws of nature apply equally at every point in the universe, at every time in the past and will at every time in the future.
It seems to me that non of those are really 'provable' by the scientific method, and so are not 'scientific facts'. As a result they should not be allowed into the scientific world view - except that without them we will not get very far.
 

Spectric

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I think we have a problem accepting when something cannot be explained so to make everyone happy someone comes up with a theory.

We have only really got out act together in the last 3000 or so, and yet we are well on the way to destroying ourselves.
It is a really sad fact that reasonably inteligent human life has been on planet earth for about 300,000 years, in a more modern guise where they started to live in dwellings and formed towns probably about 50,000 years yet in just several hundred years since industrialisation we have managed to pollute every part of the planet, hunt many species to extinction and generally start the process of human extinction, it is no wonder that nature would like to see the back of us.

On another note, how can time and the speed of light be linked. The theory says that time stops if you reach the speed of light, so how or what stops your body from ageing/decaying ? You could argue that by traveling anywhere faster you take less time to complete the journey and have therefore aged less anyway.
 

D_W

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Those of us who are problem solvers understand the value that creative dreamers bring to society. What do I mean by that? The conscientious (the attorneys, engineers, etc) tend to keep things going day to day and set the structure for the worker bees. But they do not advance society in great leaps and bounds.

What does the class of problem solvers who actually do that do? Well, they're often a bit crazy, but when something is unknown and you do not have a provable conclusion, you then have to posit a possible conclusion, and then see if you can prove it or disprove it. If you refuse to move on, you will...

...never move on.

Most of the world likes to live in black and white, but not a single one of us can really definitively prove that the world exists as we perceive it. I can't. We have to assume it does. We either assume that there aren't multiple realities around us or that if there are, they're not materially important for us to recognize.

The nutballs give us things like alternating current motors, rockets that can come back and land standing up, etc. Without them, we tend to just try to make the things already solved cheaper, faster, whatever else.

As for the folks who confuse religion or proof or who think religion (I am a believer. I do not have to be, I choose to be) is the only non-provable conclusive thing that can exist, I don't have a lot of time for them. I don't think it does religion a whole lot of good to say "here, i aim to prove that I can ban my sect from having curiosity and I have countless generations before me to prove that it can be done....as I type this on my iphone and recognize that the starts and the universe aren't turning around us."
 

D_W

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On another note, how can time and the speed of light be linked. The theory says that time stops if you reach the speed of light, so how or what stops your body from ageing/decaying ? You could argue that by traveling anywhere faster you take less time to complete the journey and have therefore aged less anyway.
The earth will be fine with or without us. There's no need to turn it into a vengeful person.

As far as relative time, if you move away from something at the speed of light, then you see it as what it was at a point in time. I don't think there's an assumption that if you go "really really fast", you'll stop aging - just that anyone who could observe you moving away quickly would see you the same and you them. If you changed directions instantly and came back at them, you would not be the same age, nor would they.
 

Sachakins

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Learning things from history is purely dependent on who and what history they observe. The future is unknown, unlike history, which unfortunately is a distortion brought on by the observer. So clearly we all know that we don't know the future, but we don't know what we know about history other than our own, but we know that others don't know either. So history is largely like the present future, it is dependent on the observer.
 

Sachakins

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Those of us who are problem solvers understand the value that creative dreamers bring to society. What do I mean by that? The conscientious (the attorneys, engineers, etc) tend to keep things going day to day and set the structure for the worker bees. But they do not advance society in great leaps and bounds.

What does the class of problem solvers who actually do that do? Well, they're often a bit crazy, but when something is unknown and you do not have a provable conclusion, you then have to posit a possible conclusion, and then see if you can prove it or disprove it. If you refuse to move on, you will...

...never move on.

Most of the world likes to live in black and white, but not a single one of us can really definitively prove that the world exists as we perceive it. I can't. We have to assume it does. We either assume that there aren't multiple realities around us or that if there are, they're not materially important for us to recognize.

The nutballs give us things like alternating current motors, rockets that can come back and land standing up, etc. Without them, we tend to just try to make the things already solved cheaper, faster, whatever else.

As for the folks who confuse religion or proof or who think religion (I am a believer. I do not have to be, I choose to be) is the only non-provable conclusive thing that can exist, I don't have a lot of time for them. I don't think it does religion a whole lot of good to say "here, i aim to prove that I can ban my sect from having curiosity and I have countless generations before me to prove that it can be done....as I type this on my iphone and recognize that the starts and the universe aren't turning around us."
This is were belief constructs, of which religion is only one format, have the advantage over science. Religion as a subset is a belief construct, were as science requires quantifiable proof. One can prove or disprove a result, or undetstand a hypothesis is an unknown state. But belief requires no proof, no evidence, no experiential definitive construct.

This gives belief systems a security that science can not give.
So anything you have a belief in, as opposed to believe in, can never be neither proven nor disproportionately be unproven.
That view then encompasses belief constructs as anything that you as an individual neither want nor seek to be a proven factual event not requiring evidentiary proof.

Please note, I am careful to say a belief construct, not religious construct, as Athesim or agnostic beliefs are viewed as non religious, but they are STILL belief constructs, as anything that you believe in, without need of evidence or proof is still a belief tenet, whether it is constrained within or without religious context.

Landlord, another large brandy.:unsure::unsure::dunno:
 

Fergie 307

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The trouble is that 'science' is more than just 'a thing'. There is the 'scientific method' which is 'get some evidence to support or discount you assertions'. In other words a statement is only useful if it is falsifiable. Can you devise an experiment that will clearly show whether the statement is true or false? If so, do the experiment, observe the result. Add the information to your view of reality. Because you tested it, and proved it, it is allowed into the scientific world view.

At the other end of the scale is 'science as a religion'. Not knocking it as it has given us some really good things. Like with most religions you have to accept some 'givens' before you start. Once you have accepted these then you can build a consistent world view. Again nothing wrong with that. But people who teach science never touch on these 'articles of faith' and somehow treat science as so much more fundamental than other religions.

Articles of faith:
  • There is a real objective universe out there independant of individuals
  • The real universe has measurable state, and that everyone who measures it will get the same values
  • That the state of the universe is truly understandable by humans
  • That the state of the universe changes in ways that show regularities (laws of nature)
  • That the laws of nature can be comprehended by humans
  • That the laws of nature apply equally at every point in the universe, at every time in the past and will at every time in the future.
It seems to me that non of those are really 'provable' by the scientific method, and so are not 'scientific facts'. As a result they should not be allowed into the scientific world view - except that without them we will not get very far.
I agree. The problem is that your proofs can only be based on what you know. There is always the risk that in the future someone will discover something you didn't know about that undermines or destroys the foundation of your proof. So rather than talk about absolute laws of nature of physics we should really add "as far as we can determine now". So Einstein's theory of relativity appeared to be spot on, until quite recently when it was discovered that sub atomic particles don't behave in accordance with Einstein's theory, so it turns out it is not universal after all.
 

Anthraquinone

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Wow! Yes everything has a frequency and everything is made from atoms
But atoms are made of up and down quarks. Everying we see and can touch is made of just three particles (including the electron but not the neutrino) and they are controlled by only four forces. As ususal I should add "as far as we know at the moment"
 
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Anthraquinone

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Or it's just a convenient way for scientists to explain why their sums don't work, rather than considering that some of their fundamental principles may actually be wrong.
It is well known that some of the fundements theories have gaps and made need changing. Gravity and relativity are incompatable and something else is needed to explain what is out there. That is what makes science so exciting.
 

Anthraquinone

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They generally seem to have such great confidence that what they believe is correct
I do not think any working scientist would ever say that. The pundits you get on TV to feed the masses are a different matter. The people who believe in one of the various faith systems, religions, or what ever you care to call them are usually the ones that have absolout certaintaty that they have all the answers. If scientists ever thought that they kew everying they would start looking for a new job. The unknown and the thrill of discovery is what keeps us working.
 
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Anthraquinone

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Where was the big bang? Easy, it's right in the center of the universe
The correct answer at the moment is thought to be "on the tip of your nose and everywhere else" This can be difficult to think about but assuming the big bang theory is correct and it most likely is all the universe as we know it was once compressed into a infinately small space which has now expanded to what we can see. The big bang happened everywhere in the universe.
 

Fergie 307

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And that is exactly what makes science so exciting
I agree entirely. Just sometimes find it a bit strange. Dark matter is a good example. It is supposed to be all around us in considerable quantities, and yet in 20 years or more no one has been able to find any. Seems to me that it might be a good idea to look at the calculations which inferred its existence and question whether they might be flawed, however uncomfortable that might be. It seems there is little appetite for this, so we carry on searching for the elusive dark matter. Just doesn't seem very logical to me.
 

Anthraquinone

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Dark matter by definition is extremely difficult to detect directly and so far all atempts have failed - that is not to say it is not out there.
At the moment something is needed to explain the rotational speed of stars in Galaxies and galaxies in galaxy clusters. These differences are well observed and unexplained.

Dark matter can account for these as can some modifications of the Newtonian laws of gravity. Nothing definate has been proved one way or the other. Anyone who says that they know the answer is talking garbage. If / when this is sorted out there is a nailed on Nobel prize waiting as there is for the unification of gravity and relativity.
 

D_W

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I agree entirely. Just sometimes find it a bit strange. Dark matter is a good example. It is supposed to be all around us in considerable quantities, and yet in 20 years or more no one has been able to find any. Seems to me that it might be a good idea to look at the calculations which inferred its existence and question whether they might be flawed, however uncomfortable that might be. It seems there is little appetite for this, so we carry on searching for the elusive dark matter. Just doesn't seem very logical to me.
Without it, you probably have a problem, because the "light matter" or observable stuff has behaviors that don't follow formulaic patterns. That doesn't seem very likely. So, we press on with ideas, waiting to prove them or not prove them.

To me it seems at least as logical as the idea that everything that's out there would just be easily observable by us.
 

AlanY

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I will have a pint of whatever you have been drinking, Roy.

And the rest of you. What a thread! Somebody has been watching Discovery Channel, I think!

Reminds me of the heavy conversations had when me and my friends were teenagers lying on the beach with a fire glowing and us looking at the stars, patiently waiting for the 'shrooms to kick in.

Again, great thread and well presented by all.
 
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Fergie 307

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It just appears to me, as a layman, that there are broadly two possible explanations for the sums not working as anticipated. 1) The presence of dark matter to make up for what appears to be missing for the sums to work as expected. 2) There is something fundamentally wrong with the calculations, perhaps because of some other factor we don't understand or have yet to discover, or because some of our laws of physics may be flawed for similar reasons. From what I have seen and read, and admittedly not having delved into it exhaustively, option 1 is being pursued with some enthusiasm, option 2 less so. This doesn't seem especially logical, particularly after we have spent so long looking for dark matter without success. I entirely agree we should not expect the answer to be easily discoverable whatever it may be. My bet would be that it will probably end up being option 2 in the end, in which case the answer will probably be a real game changer. As you say whoever comes up with the solution will certainly be deserving of tea and medals.
 

D_W

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I think option 1 is explored with vigor because it's there in front of us. You can observe it, set a hypothesis, try it and call it out of it fails.

If there is something unobservable influencing observable matter, well - that's awfully difficult, because if we could observe the unobservable stuff, we could identify it and attach a formula to it. I think this is a more likely solution, but if you can't observe it, you can't prove it. Instead, we add the "Dark matter" fudge factor to explain the differences, but we perhaps back into that to show that our current formulas work. As we get more resolution, we find instances either where they don't, or we later find out that perhaps they did and our observations were incomplete.

As one of my professors said "learning hurts". Once you get the easy stuff, most of the rest is painful and tedious to progress toward.
 

kwakataker

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My cheap answer to life the universe and everything isn't just 42, Its we are here, We exist (i think) and space is endless< Of course we are not alone.
 
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