Win a copy of Five Lines of Code this week in the OO, Patterns, UML and Refactoring forum!
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
programming forums Java Mobile Certification Databases Caching Books Engineering Micro Controllers OS Languages Paradigms IDEs Build Tools Frameworks Application Servers Open Source This Site Careers Other all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
Marshals:
  • Campbell Ritchie
  • Bear Bibeault
  • Ron McLeod
  • Jeanne Boyarsky
  • Paul Clapham
Sheriffs:
  • Tim Cooke
  • Liutauras Vilda
  • Junilu Lacar
Saloon Keepers:
  • Tim Moores
  • Stephan van Hulst
  • Tim Holloway
  • fred rosenberger
  • salvin francis
Bartenders:
  • Piet Souris
  • Frits Walraven
  • Carey Brown

Should science alone be used to explain everything?

 
Ranch Hand
Posts: 783
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
In another topic the topic came up about about whether science can be used to explain everything. Rather than hijack that thread, I am starting another one ...

I often meet people that say they will not believe in something unless it is tested and proven through science. However, there are some things that, for various reasons, simply can not be replicated in a laboratory setting. What is the litmus test for the existance of the supernatural, or a diety?

I think the biggest mistake someone can make is to draw a conclusion to the existance of something based on a lack of evidence. Lack of recorded evidence neither proves nor disproves the existance of anything. If we were to rely solely on the scientific method to dictate what we believe in, then we would be left in a Schrodinger state in regards to something like a god, where it both exists and does not exist to us.

As human beings, I don't think that is possible for us to accept that something exists and doesn't exist at the same time, so we are forced to make a decision as to our beliefs. In this case, I think culture and observation should come in to play.

What are your thoughts?
 
author
Posts: 23878
142
jQuery Eclipse IDE Firefox Browser VI Editor C++ Chrome Java Linux Windows
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
IMO, I don't see a problem with using science, theology, and philosophy to explain nature. In fact, they tend to flow from one to another in a conversation quite easily. And I do it all the time.

I do have one issue though. If you are going to draw a conclusion or theory from a discussion that involves science, theology, and philosophy, please don't call it a scientific theory!

Henry
 
author and iconoclast
Posts: 24203
43
Mac OS X Eclipse IDE Chrome
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Originally posted by Paul Bourdeaux:

I think the biggest mistake someone can make is to draw a conclusion to the existance of something based on a lack of evidence.



There are several fallacies here. First of all, I disagree that we as humans are unable to accept undecideability. I don't know everything. I will never know everything. I suspect that these statements apply to most people I know, as well. We all function nicely regardless of this awareness of our own ignorance.

Second, there's the notion that all questions must be considered. If I were to ask you whether you believed in the Flying spaghetti monster, I suspect you'd have no trouble quickly dismissing the question as unworthy even of consideration. In general, posing questions is easy. Not everyone will care about the answers to all questions.

And finally, sometimes a lack of evidence is indeed a valuable conclusion of a scientific experiment. The famous Michaelson-Morley experiment was designed to measure the unkown magnitude of a predicted effect, and failed to make a measurement significantly different from zero -- and yet it was the nail in the coffin of the "luminiferous aether" theory of light propagation, and paved the way for our modern understanding of photonics. A null result is indeed a valid contribution to a scientific dialog. For example, no peer-reviewed controlled study has ever provided evidence for the existence of paranormal phenomena. Is it unreasonable to use these null results to hypothesize that in fact there is no such thing? Not at all -- that hypothesis fits the facts very well.
 
lowercase baba
Posts: 12871
62
Chrome Java Linux
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
i think i'm one of the people partially responsible for this thread, so here's some of my thoughts.

Should science be able to EXPLAIN everything? Nope. But it sure is gonna try. That's what science DOES. it is always re-examining itself, trying to figure out what "the truth" is. It never gets there, but it keeps marching closer to it.

Science is NOT the END. it's the MEANS. when something comes along that doesn't fit with what are the current theories/beliefs, science does everything it can to improve itself to account for the discrepancies. Many of the scientists we celebrate were the guys who came along and said "what we believe is close, but then THIS strange thing happens", and then they propose a new possiblity that accounts for that. The world was quite happy before Einstein came along. a few folks knew SOMETHING wasn't quite right with Newtonian physics in certain cases. Albert came up with the idea that fit with everything from before, AND explained the weird cases being observed. the THEORY of relativity was born.

Can Science Explain things like Telepathy, Dowsing, predicting the future or contacting the dead? nope. But, if these abilities exist, they should be measureable.

Take dowsing (the ability to find something hidden, often water, gems or some such underground). There have been dozens (if not more) tests of this "ability". the James Randi Educational Foundation has conducted many such test. First, they do a "baseline test. they put 10 jars in a room, fill one with water, and leave them uncovered. the subject comes in, and lo and behold, finds the water. he can do this with 100% accruacy. This is done so that everyone knows the ability is working that day. The dowser states "yup, my rod/energy/ability is working just fine. i got 100%!!!).

the subject is asked to leave the room. the water is moved, and all jugs are covered so they can't be seen. the dowser comes in, and tries to find the water.

the test is repeated many times. without exception, the dowser only finds water about 10% of the time.

Telepaths have been tested. their results are abysmal.

people like John Edward on the Sci-Fi channel who "contact the dead" - are doing nothing more than a "cold reading". if you REALLY pay attention, he'll say things like "i'm seeing a man, an authoritative man, and the letter J". somebody will say "My FATHER was named JOHN!!!" and everyone is shocked that Mr. Edward made contact with the audience members father.

the skeptic will realize mr. edward NEVER mentioned the word "father" or the name "John". he made very broad statements, and the audience unwittingly fills in the blanks.

Science may not be able to explain these abilities. But NONE of these abilities have ever been shown to exist.

Once they have been (and by doing so that person could win $1million), science surely WILL at least TRY to explain it. and it'll KEEP trying.
 
Paul Bourdeaux
Ranch Hand
Posts: 783
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Can Science Explain things like Telepathy, Dowsing, predicting the future or contacting the dead? nope. But, if these abilities exist, they should be measureable.

You are absolutely correct. And in the examples you listed, tests were devised to accuractely measure the abilities, and the results speak for themselves.

But I think these all point to abilities, not to the existance of something underlying. Just because the dowser does not really have the ability to detect water, is it fair to imply from that that the water does not exist (i.e. all the jars are empty). Similarly, just because John Edwards (man I hate that guy :roll: ) can't really contact the dead, is it fair to draw the conclusion that spirits do not exist?

To be honest, I tend to agree that the vast majority of supernatural events are not real. But there is at least one I do believe in, and the inability of science to measure its existance is not enough for me to change my mind.
 
Paul Bourdeaux
Ranch Hand
Posts: 783
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Originally posted by Ernest Friedman-Hill:

There are several fallacies here...



OK, that was a well put post, and I can concede a few things...

First of all, I disagree that we as humans are unable to accept undecideability.
On some issues, such as religion, we do seem to have a problem accepting undecideability. I think most people have a belief, one way or the other, on the existance on a god (or goddess, or gods...). i would be interested intalking to someone who was simply undecided, and not pursuing some type decision either way.

Second, there's the notion that all questions must be considered.
You mean the Flying Spaghetti monster doesn't exist?? Actually, I concede this point. It would be both futile and unreasonable to try and consider every question. Although this brings philosophy into it, because what deems a question worthy of consideration? And can the same question, under different circumstances, be deemed differently? If someone from this forum asks me if monsters live in closets, I would probably not consider it. But if my three year old daughter ask me...

And finally, sometimes a lack of evidence is indeed a valuable conclusion of a scientific experiment.
Again, I concede this point.

Is it unreasonable to use these null results to hypothesize that in fact there is no such thing? Not at all -- that hypothesis fits the facts very well.
Agreed, but before I make a conclusion, I would need more information. For instance, how many peer-reviewed controlled studies of the existence of paranormal phenomena have there been? Using the religion example again, what kind of control would we even use?
 
fred rosenberger
lowercase baba
Posts: 12871
62
Chrome Java Linux
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
All these tests have shown is that on THAT day, in THAT location, the ability failed to manifest itself. Each one in and of itself PROVES nothing.

but you start to add them all up... EVERYBODY who has been tested has failed, and they all honestly believed they had the ability.

You choose to believe in something of which there is no scientifically measureable evidence. That's great! i applaud your faith. I respect your right to believe it.

Myself, i choose to not believe in things unless there IS evidence. and i'd be happy if someone COULD provide me evidence, one way or another... but i'm not going to hold my breath.
 
town drunk
( and author)
Posts: 4118
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I would be interested intalking to someone who was simply undecided, and not pursuing some type decision either way.

This leads me to a question I'd like to have answered by a rational theist.

For the sake of argument, I assert that Map likes to molest poodles. Also for the sake of argument, I will officially offer no objective proof.

Now, In your day to day goings-on, will you henceforth claim that you don't know if Map is a poodle molester? Are you an agnostic on the subject? I'd like to hear your arguments either way: however, I don't want to hear arguments based on expediency (that is, 'well, I have a poodle, so I'm going to be careful around Map'): this is a matter of actual conviction, not prudence.

M
 
Ernest Friedman-Hill
author and iconoclast
Posts: 24203
43
Mac OS X Eclipse IDE Chrome
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
This is my Flying Spaghetti Monster question in different pants.
 
Wanderer
Posts: 18671
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
How does a FSM change pants, anyway?
 
Leverager of our synergies
Posts: 10065
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Max: For the sake of argument, I assert that Map likes to molest poodles.

You really had to say this to everybody, didn't you?
 
Jim Yingst
Wanderer
Posts: 18671
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Look, it was just not possible to keep this covered up indefinitely. There have just been too many incidents, and someone was bound to talk.
 
Max Habibi
town drunk
( and author)
Posts: 4118
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
...someone was bound to talk

or bark, whelp, squeal, and yip.
[ October 20, 2005: Message edited by: Max Habibi ]
 
Ranch Hand
Posts: 1241
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Originally posted by Paul Bourdeaux:
Similarly, just because John Edwards (man I hate that guy :roll: ) can't really contact the dead, is it fair to draw the conclusion that spirits do not exist?


No, but then its also not reason to think they exist. There are people (none here though!) who claim the existence of all sorts of phenomina such as ghosts and dieties because "science can't dispove them, so they must be true". :roll:

Normally I don't have much of a problem with this kind of thing, but it does upset me when people get conned into giving up money and time by people claiming to be able to do "supernatural" stuff. One example is people who use trickery to "prove" that some kind of magic healing works, and then manage to get people to pay for it. These con artists then normally spout out something along the lines of "ignore the scientists who try to tell you this kind of healing doesn't exist - its outside the realms of science". This is a bit odd - had they really found a new way of healing then scientists would be very happy to know about it and try to replicate it. I expect that most people who make this kind of denial are in truth slightly worried (maybe subconsciously) about being proved a fake.
 
Mapraputa Is
Leverager of our synergies
Posts: 10065
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Now that you brought this up, I can tell you that I much prefer parrots, but they don't like me!
 
(instanceof Sidekick)
Posts: 8791
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Can Science Explain things like Telepathy, Dowsing, predicting the future or contacting the dead? nope.



Rather than "nope" I prefer "not yet". Science has been a long time getting where it is, it has a long ways and a long time to go. If these things are real humans will likely figure out how they work one day. Oh, wait, was I just predicting the future?
 
Max Habibi
town drunk
( and author)
Posts: 4118
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
To answer the original question: to the degree that science is an exercise in rationality, and (further) to the degree that you consider yourself a rational being: yes.

M
 
Henry Wong
author
Posts: 23878
142
jQuery Eclipse IDE Firefox Browser VI Editor C++ Chrome Java Linux Windows
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Originally posted by Ernest Friedman-Hill:

Second, there's the notion that all questions must be considered. If I were to ask you whether you believed in the Flying spaghetti monster, I suspect you'd have no trouble quickly dismissing the question as unworthy even of consideration. In general, posing questions is easy. Not everyone will care about the answers to all questions.



I know that this is a tangential point, but I have to defend the FSM movement -- at least a little. The FSM movement is a grass roots movement to counter the Intelligent Design movement, which is considered by FSM to be a way to do an "end run" around the U.S. constitution, in order to get religion into public schools.

It is ridiculous, but it was meant to be. And like Intelligent Design, there is no way to prove that it is wrong via the scientific method.

Henry
 
Max Habibi
town drunk
( and author)
Posts: 4118
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'd really like to see an Intelligent Falling focus, to counter the inconsistencies in the theory of gravity.

M
 
Ernest Friedman-Hill
author and iconoclast
Posts: 24203
43
Mac OS X Eclipse IDE Chrome
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Originally posted by Henry Wong:
I have to defend the FSM movement



Maybe I was misunderstood. I both grok and totally support Pastafarianism -- I wasn't attacking it, but presenting its argument. The fact that the Pastafarian creation legend is too ludicrous to consider as true -- even though empirically and rationally, it has precisely the same standing as any other creation myth -- is precisely the point,
 
Ranch Hand
Posts: 687
Hibernate jQuery Spring
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Going back to the start almost literally, can science explain how life was created?

Yes, I have read the theory of the primordial soup and somehow an infinite number of probabilities coming together to give birth to life. I believe in the theory of evolution but have always been fascinated by the very start of life.

We as in the humans, animals, plants, microbes, *.* living �Things� on this planet have evolved and there are scientific theories which back the same but can science explain what started the whole darned thing in the first place.

I consider myself a non believer in the Supreme Being - God, I pray but that is just to calm myself down when I fly of the handle. I would love it, if science is able to explain what separates consciousness from non-consciousness.

The environment that we live in has enough clues, we have virus as life forms which have both states, plants which I assume are a non- conscious [some people may differ and we can always agree to disagree].

If we believe in evolution, is it safe to assume that plants could one day communicate�. or do they do that already and we do not know just coz we are not intelligent enough to know.
 
Max Habibi
town drunk
( and author)
Posts: 4118
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Going back to the start almost literally, can science explain how life was created?


Science offers some reasonable theories on how life was created: is that what you mean?


I ... have always been fascinated by the very start of life.

So have I. I think that's one of the most amazing things about science: it doesn't destroy your sense of wonder, it enhances & feeds it. I think the world is an amazing place: I think it's astonishing, surprising, and wondrous to behold. I guess I never felt like it needed that extra 'supernatural' element to be worth the bother.

M
[ October 24, 2005: Message edited by: Max Habibi ]
 
Greenhorn
Posts: 25
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Originally posted by Max Habibi:
I'd really like to see an Intelligent Falling focus, to counter the inconsistencies in the theory of gravity.

M



Actually, one of the dominant theories before Gallieo was an "intelligent falling" variant. Archimedes held that it was a natural property of matter to "want" to move in a particular direction, and that it would do so unless restrained.

In any case, there is no gravity, there is merely the curvature of space/time, so the inconsistencies in the theory of gravity isn't really relevant, is it?
 
Robert Watkins
Greenhorn
Posts: 25
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Originally posted by Devesh H Rao:
Going back to the start almost literally, can science explain how life was created?



Actually, yes.

Life is a general term for self-organising, reproducing assemblies of matter. And the simple maths of the situation says that self-organising reproducing assemblies of matter will continue to trend towards the complex, defying entropy's arrow. Basically, anything which allows repeated reproduction will win out.

All that is needed is a way to kick start the self-organising material. It turns out that there is a very common substance which will help structure organic matter in complex fashions - enough to make the creation of amino acids and protein chains possible. It's clay. Clay has a structure which essentially allows it to be a template factory for life.

This is not to say that life arose on this planet from clay. It merely indicates that this was such a possibility - naturally, there is no evidence to support this either way. It is equally possible (perhaps more probable, even) that life on Earth was "bootstrapped" by the arrival of interstellar bacteria. We know that bacteria can survive being frozen, and can tolerate vacuum). Given that complex self-organising reproducing matter will win out over time, it would not be surprising to find deep space riddled with floating bacteria colonies (very sparse ones, of course). This explanation does beg the "well, where did that life come from" question, of course, but as already indicated, there is a possible answer for that, too. This theory (known as panspermia) will be able to be tested if we ever do get samples of interstellar life - nearly all life on Earth is closely related genetically, and if there is a similar degree of relationship with interstellar life, then panspermia is almost certainly true. We (the human race) will almost certainly find out one day.
 
Devesh H Rao
Ranch Hand
Posts: 687
Hibernate jQuery Spring
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Originally posted by Max Habibi:
I guess I never felt like it needed that extra 'supernatural' element to be worth the bother.
M
[ October 24, 2005: Message edited by: Max Habibi ]




I do not believe in 'supernatural' as in �GOD�, I believe in �supernatural� as in knowledge. Knowledge that there exists a lot more than I or we as in humans probably know or science can explain.

Originally posted by Robert Watkins:
Actually, yes.
Life is a general term for self-organising, reproducing assemblies of matter���..
All that is needed is a way to kick start the self-organising material. It turns out that there is a very common substance which will help structure organic matter in complex fashions - enough to make the creation of amino acids and protein chains possible. It's clay

[ October 24, 2005: Message edited by: Max Habibi ]




I agree to all that you are saying, but have we been able to replicate the above theory. We have all the raw material on planet earth and the theory which says how it all happened. Has it been possible to replicate life artificially? Have we been able to create a single insignificant nuclei which lives, given that science knows all the above.

We are able to clone cells, mutate them, tinker around with them but they are all cells which are already present and alive. Has science been able to explain what conscious and what�s not?

I am not arguing that it will never be done, it will/may be sometime in the future and then it will be science. Science itself says its all assumptions and theory until it can be replicated over a sustained period of time in controlled environment.

When I say science cannot explain everything, I mean at this point in time there is unknown probabilities which science doesn�t know about. To say that science can explain everything would be closing our eyes to probabilities which go against our established views.

If all the humans had ever thought that science can explain everything, we still would be learning that its dangeroues to row out far at sea coz we would never know when we would fall off the edge.
 
Dave Lenton
Ranch Hand
Posts: 1241
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Perhaps we don't need to consider an exact dividing line between life and non-life. Life is basically a self-replicating pattern, but some self-replicating patterns are so simple that we don't consider them life (I could make a self replicating pattern using Java without too much trouble, but it wouldn't be called "life" by most). Maybe there is a transitional phase between non-life and life. I suspect that this transitional phase happened when some stuff like proteins managed to become self replicating, but then my knowledge of biology and physics is not great. It depends how you define life.

Originally posted by Devesh H Rao:
If we believe in evolution, is it safe to assume that plants could one day communicate�. or do they do that already and we do not know just coz we are not intelligent enough to know.


Some plants do communicate, but only in very simple ways. There is a kind of tree (damn, can't remember what its called), which secretes a chemical when it is attacked, for example when a herd of elephants begins to eat it's leaves. When other trees of the same species detect the chemical floating on the wind, they speed up growth of thorns. Granted this is very simple communication, but its a start!
 
Devesh H Rao
Ranch Hand
Posts: 687
Hibernate jQuery Spring
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Originally posted by Dave Lenton:

when some stuff like proteins managed to become self replicating



What and how was this triggered is something I would like an answer to, yes we have theories which try to explain the same but again those are theories and I keep my mind open to the alternate theories.

I have come across opinions which says a higher life form was responsible for life, ok point taken then the question I will ask is what was responsible for the creation of the so called higher life forms.
[ October 25, 2005: Message edited by: Devesh H Rao ]
 
Max Habibi
town drunk
( and author)
Posts: 4118
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Originally posted by Devesh H Rao:
What and how was this triggered is something I would like an answer to, yes we have theories which try to explain the same but again those are theories and I keep my mind open to the alternate theories.[ October 25, 2005: Message edited by: Devesh H Rao ]



A theory, be definition, is testable: it provides a mechanism by which it can be refuted and/or supported. What you're describing as 'alternate theories' are not theories at all: they are conjecture.

M
 
Devesh H Rao
Ranch Hand
Posts: 687
Hibernate jQuery Spring
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Originally posted by Max Habibi:


A theory, be definition, is testable: it provides a mechanism by which it can be refuted and/or supported. What you're describing as 'alternate theories' are not theories at all: they are conjecture.

M



"conjecture: proposition (as in mathematics) before it has been proved or disproved" [I picked this up from the link posted]

how is it different from

"A theory, be definition, is testable: it provides a mechanism by which it can be refuted and/or supported"

I am not questioning the above assumption, I am just curious to know the finer nuances, as english is not my first language.
 
Devesh H Rao
Ranch Hand
Posts: 687
Hibernate jQuery Spring
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Originally posted by Max Habibi:


A theory, be definition, is testable: it provides a mechanism by which it can be refuted and/or supported. What you're describing as 'alternate theories' are not theories at all: they are conjecture.

M



Science says nothing travels faster than light.

Do you want to belive in that or would you rather belive that at the current point in time and given our knowledge of the universe we do not know of anything which travels faster than light.

The above sentances make a world of difference as far as my understanding is concerned. maybe i am wrong, maybe I am not.
 
fred rosenberger
lowercase baba
Posts: 12871
62
Chrome Java Linux
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I don't think science says "Nothing can travel faster than light". i believe the correct interpretation is "Nothing except light can travel at the speed of light. for everything else, that speed is a barrier."

in other words, things travelling SLOWER than light will ALWAYS travel slower than light. Things that are travelling FASTER than light might exist, but they will ALWAYS be travelling faster than light.
 
Henry Wong
author
Posts: 23878
142
jQuery Eclipse IDE Firefox Browser VI Editor C++ Chrome Java Linux Windows
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Originally posted by Devesh H Rao:

Science says nothing travels faster than light.

Do you want to belive in that or would you rather belive that at the current point in time and given our knowledge of the universe we do not know of anything which travels faster than light.

The above sentances make a world of difference as far as my understanding is concerned. maybe i am wrong, maybe I am not.



First, a scientific theory does not have to be testable... but it must be challengable. It must be possible to develop the tests that could eventually prove it false.

Second, a scientific theory does not have to be proven correct. In fact, many scientific facts, are not facts at all, but theories that have stood the test of time.

This means that if you want to challenge a scientific fact, then by all means do so. But don't believe that it is the science that is flawed, because challenging any scientific fact is just part of the scientific method.

Henry
 
Max Habibi
town drunk
( and author)
Posts: 4118
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Originally posted by Delves H Rao:


Science says nothing travels faster than light.

Do you want to believe in that or would you rather believe...



I think this is crux of the issue. What I would rather believe is irrelevant. I would rather, for example, belive that I am 22 years old with 7% body fat: but it's just not true. The process of weeding of the most reasonable approach endures.

regarding conjecture and theory.

A conjecture is pure speculation: it has no(or very little) evidence either way. It's often a precursor to a theory, but it's more often not. For example, it's conjecture for me to speculate that you have six toes on your left leg. it's also conjecture to speculate that you have wings, fangs, and/or horns. Most conjecture never see the light of day( and for good reason).

However, a theory that you have six toes on your left leg would offer some supporting evidence: at the very least, it's disprovable (we could just check and see). Of course, theories grow out of conjecture. A supported theory provides hold some weight, but is not completely accepted. For example, if we verified that you have six toes by examines your shoes. They may indicate that you have six toes, but it might not be enough to be completely convicting.

the two terms are often confused in vernacular English, but they actually specify to disparate concepts. Often, some will say that 'such-and-such is just a theory', when they really man that 'such-and-such is just conjecture'

M
[ October 25, 2005: Message edited by: Max Habibi ]
 
Devesh H Rao
Ranch Hand
Posts: 687
Hibernate jQuery Spring
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Originally posted by Henry Wong:

Because challenging any scientific fact is just part of the scientific method.

Henry



Perfect. I couldn't agree more.
 
Dave Lenton
Ranch Hand
Posts: 1241
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Originally posted by Henry Wong:
First, a scientific theory does not have to be testable... but it must be challengable. It must be possible to develop the tests that could eventually prove it false.


A fact sadly lost on some school boards.
 
Max Habibi
town drunk
( and author)
Posts: 4118
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Originally posted by Robert Watkins:


Actually, one of the dominant theories before Gallieo was an "intelligent falling" variant. Archimedes held that it was a natural property of matter to "want" to move in a particular direction, and that it would do so unless restrained.

In any case, there is no gravity, there is merely the curvature of space/time, so the inconsistencies in the theory of gravity isn't really relevant, is it?





Wow. Maybe I should write a book of post factual psychics...
 
Stan James
(instanceof Sidekick)
Posts: 8791
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Surely IF is part of the FSM belief system isn't it?
 
Ranch Hand
Posts: 2107
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
re: original question

it looks like, currently, all those not proven by science has as least a small amount of doubt over it.

all those proven by science have no doubt over it.
 
Devesh H Rao
Ranch Hand
Posts: 687
Hibernate jQuery Spring
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Blind Sight

Whats Blind Sight

Mechanism of 'blindsight' explored

Wikipedia - Blindsight

Would this be termed normal or something which we can readily accept, Again let me stress on the point that I am not putting forth this argument to say things beyond science exists. All I am saying is not everything out there can be explained by science.

Blindsight is a scientific phenomena which has been well documented and researched but how and why does it occur is some thing beyond us atleast as of now.

PS: Anyways thanks to this thread I came across this information, 4 Years back it could have helped me make a stronger pitch for my robotic project at college
 
Dave Lenton
Ranch Hand
Posts: 1241
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Originally posted by Devesh H Rao:
All I am saying is not everything out there can be explained by science.


Absolutely, if we were to be utterly pedantic, its impossible to know everything. Lets say we wanted to build a computer which could model the entire universe. If we wanted to record information about a single atom, the chances are that we'd need to use up more then one atom to model it. This would mean that we'd need a computer bigger then the entire universe to know everything.

But I'm being a bit silly here. What we're really talking about is the ability to understand everything, not about understanding everything simultaneously. Even this is most likely beyond us. No matter how much we learn, our brains are probably too simple to grasp some of the more complicated aspects of the universe.

Should we give up though? Hell, no. Curiosity may well kill the cat, but it'll have some wonderful experiences first
 
If you settle for what they are giving you, you deserve what you get. Fight for this tiny ad!
Building a Better World in your Backyard by Paul Wheaton and Shawn Klassen-Koop
https://coderanch.com/wiki/718759/books/Building-World-Backyard-Paul-Wheaton
    Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic