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Topic: It works so it is true ?!  (Read 10562 times)

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Offline renge ishyo

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Re: It works so it is true ?!
« Reply #15 on: December 16, 2009, 01:19:35 PM »
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I can't imagine scientists think "as far as we know, we haven't managed to decompose that stuff yet and in so far as we don't even know at all what it is, let's assert it's an element until detractors crop up" that sounds wrong. I just seek to gain an insight.

Yup, that IS the thinking (or what the thinking "should be" anyways). Scientists do experiments. The results of those experiments either support or contradict existing theories. When they contradict existing theories, then new theories have to arise that cover both the old and the new observations. Then these theories are tested against future experiments until some experiment comes along to challenge it, and so on and so on, etc. In other words, science isn't a static thing...it changes with time. Our "view of the world" changes with time along with it. The science of the 1700s is not the science of today. "The truth" from science in the 1700s is not the same "truth" of today (unless you consider that the truth of science was never meant to be absolute, which it isn't, in which case you would say that the truths of the past have merely been modified several times over to account for newer experiments).

We tend to overlook this even now (but Asimov doesn't, hence the value of his books!) when we describe science because it makes us feel better to believe that what we understand at present is "the absolute truth". For example, we claim that Democritus discovered the atom in ancient Greece, and that Dalton "proved it," and from then on the idea was accepted as "a truth" by scientists in happy harmony. It was simply not so. In fact, it was not until the early 1900s, when experiments started to demonstrate the structure (and substructure) of the individual atoms making up matter, that thinking about atoms became mainstream. There were MANY scientists in the late 1800's that fought bitterly against atomic theory, and some refused to accept it outright even into the 1900s. This came from the prominent discoveries of the past, which these sceintists were having a hard time letting go of. One such example was that of electricity. Benjamin Franklin imagined electricity as a continuous fluid, and not as an assemblage of discrete particles. Fluid theories were popular and existed in other forms such as the "caloric" for energy and theories at the time had to be explained in terms of a fluid being continuous to even be generally accepted...whether or not the experimenter believed that matter was continuous or not. This was part of the reason that Arrhenius graduate thesis in 1884, on the existence of "ions" in solution to explain electrical conductivity, was not only opposed at the time...he barely graduated with it (with the lowest possible distinction) despite the fact that it was argued so well that nobody could really oppose it. Now it is accepted (and Arrhenius got the nobel prize in 1903 for his ionic theory once some of the evidence that matter was particulate in nature had come streaming in), but at the time this line of thinking was frowned upon.

Perhaps one day our modern view of atoms will be gone (!) and we will be describing interactions between some new type of thing smaller than an atom (or perhaps, larger!) that someone will describe that can make sense out of quantum mechanics (but even to do that you have to overcome the modern thinking that quantum mechanics is "supposed" to not make sense by its nature...a philosophy put forth by Bohr and company largely, in my view, in an attempt to protect their theory from future theories and advancements). To do anything like that, you have to wait on the results of experiments. At present time, physicists are waiting for data from the Large Hadron Collider to see if the data that comes out supports our modern views of quarks and whatnot or if it opens the door to some new understanding that we can't really anticipate at present (actually we are merely waiting to see if the thing will ever even work...but it sounds more exciting to say it the other way  ;).

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I will wait till they find something right then.

Even if our modern understanding of science is incomplete, taken as a whole you can use it to predict things. There is its value. Any branch of knowledge has its value in this sense; the ones that are the most accurate in their prediction of the results are the ones we depend on the most when we go about influencing our lives. Even wrong theories like the Phlogiston theory that are thrown out to make way for new ones were useful at the time because they helped thinkers predict and understand what it was they were trying to do at least in some cases. If you are waiting for the "absolute truth" to come along so that you never have to refine your views, you will be waiting (in complete ignorance) for a long time. We don't have it, and I don't think we ever will (but then again, this is just my opinion...).
« Last Edit: December 16, 2009, 01:34:50 PM by renge ishyo »

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Re: It works so it is true ?!
« Reply #16 on: December 17, 2009, 10:51:05 AM »
I personnaly feel much better to think that's not the absolute truth, that theories could be not as definite as I thought, thus it set scientists down closer to my level in my mind, and further from the truth. It's less frustrating.

Light theories are strange, wether corpuscules or waves, what has followed is that we finally use both depending wether it suits or not, as far as I know. Rules out from observations might suffice to forecast in some cases, especially in this case because we tend to describe it with a mechanic way, and it requires to materialize light as a substance, how else could we visualize it than our mind is allowed to ?

Now I feel less bound to study theory, moreover not believing people, now, I believe they are always out of truth and that they could wait datas for long time ! Thank you renge ishyo and all others for your answers :)

Offline cth

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Re: It works so it is true ?!
« Reply #17 on: December 17, 2009, 12:01:47 PM »
Phlogiston theory was a good theory except for the thousands of witches which must have served as measure, that's a shame we let it down. I find today's theories more nihilist, colder, there's vacuum everywhere, we've reached the end of the beginning !

Phlogiston theory has been experimentally proved to be wrong, so it is not a good theory. You may like the aesthetic of it and want to keep it, but nature doesn't have to follow your way. Quite the opposite.

Personally, I find today's theories less nihilist and cold than previous ones.
- Gravitation from Newton point of view is fully deterministic: if you know the state of the system at one time, you can calculate it at any time in the future. There is no escape. You'll become what you were meant to become. No free will.
- Quantum mechanics has introduced a part of indetermination, of probability. With it, free will becomes possible (wether or not it actually exists is another matter).

Light theories are strange, wether corpuscules or waves, what has followed is that we finally use both depending wether it suits or not, as far as I know.

Quantum mechanics is very strange indeed. But, if you consider nature to be homogeneous, then it only makes sense that corpuscles, waves and energy are different sides of the same coin. And can be interchanged. A bit like height, width and length of an object can be interchanged, depending how you look at it. Wouldn't it be strange afterall if corpuscles and waves obeyed two separate physics? Like two parallel universes that interact closely and yet are different.

Now I feel less bound to study theory, moreover not believing people, now, I believe they are always out of truth and that they could wait datas for long time ! Thank you renge ishyo and all others for your answers :)

Yet, you need to study scientific theories if you want to know what are their strengths and weaknesses, to have a clearer view of the world you're leaving in and to have a better understanding of current debates such as climate change, nanotechnology safety,... Just remember that nothing in science is set into stone, everything has to be proved again and again...

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Re: It works so it is true ?!
« Reply #18 on: December 17, 2009, 05:53:31 PM »
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Quantum mechanics is very strange indeed. But, if you consider nature to be homogeneous, then it only makes sense that corpuscles, waves and energy are different sides of the same coin. And can be interchanged. A bit like height, width and length of an object can be interchanged, depending how you look at it. Wouldn't it be strange afterall if corpuscles and waves obeyed two separate physics? Like two parallel universes that interact closely and yet are different.

And to predict what would happen, you toss the coin ?! You're an illuminate blind by the aesthetic of the light theory and of the interchangeability of thought, the two work because they are two half-wrong theories.
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Yet, you need to study scientific theories if you want to know what are their strengths and weaknesses, to have a clearer view of the world you're leaving in and to have a better understanding of current debates such as climate change, nanotechnology safety,... Just remember that nothing in science is set into stone, everything has to be proved again and again...

Climate, cristallization of snow flake, currents, despite all that really interest me, I gotta choose. I could ever get some words about in a review. I know all sciences overlapped but I need to be involved in what I learn. Experiments interests me much more than predict things only from "stolen" knowledge, I prefer staring at cells under microscope and think for myself. I can't be involved in all anyway. Otherwise from link to link I end on a chemistry forum been talking to you :).

Offline cth

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Re: It works so it is true ?!
« Reply #19 on: December 18, 2009, 04:55:17 PM »
And to predict what would happen, you toss the coin ?! You're an illuminate blind by the aesthetic of the light theory and of the interchangeability of thought, the two work because they are two half-wrong theories.
I disagree with what you wrote, waves and particles are not two wrong parts that happen to cancel out their respective problems.
Quantum theory is uniform and should not be seen as two different parts brought together with some glue. And it is a very strong piece of work that has faced so many experimental trials and always succeeded to predict their results with outstanding precision. You can rely on it when you do theoretical chemistry calculations.

You don't like it because, for some reason, you are unsettled by its results. And, instead of working out why you have such prejudice, you prefer rejecting it outright. This is very unscientific.
I am illuminate? Maybe, but at least I have the light of reason and logic to illuminate my path. As you are in the dark with only your prejudices to guide you.

Climate, cristallization of snow flake, currents, despite all that really interest me, I gotta choose. I could ever get some words about in a review. I know all sciences overlapped but I need to be involved in what I learn. Experiments interests me much more than predict things only from "stolen" knowledge, I prefer staring at cells under microscope and think for myself. I can't be involved in all anyway. Otherwise from link to link I end on a chemistry forum been talking to you :).
You're using a computer regularly. Yet, have you experienced yourself with how a transistor work? Have you studied in detail in the lab how radio waves work? Yet, you're listening to the radio sometimes... Do you intend to redemonstrate to yourself everything about everything? If true, you'll die of old age before you're done with it.

Personally, I haven't tried to redemonstrate in the lab the examples I mentioned above. I am happy to use this knowledge, brought by smart people who knew their subject better than I do.

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Re: It works so it is true ?!
« Reply #20 on: December 19, 2009, 11:17:11 AM »
I don't reject theories because they settle me, but because I'm bound to trust others about what I could never verify. That's not unscientific that's just asocial. Yes I'm trying to cope with making fire in the dark to prove to myself I would be able to find it out as well while you go on your marked out path.
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You're using a computer regularly. Yet, have you experienced yourself with how a transistor work?
I started learning informatic when I was 13, I've skipped classes for it, I've programed for several years gradually I become interested by hardware functioning, and I feel bound to learn it, then by electronic afterward physics and chemistry feeling how much I was depending on others and that all my world could fall down if industry decided to stop working on and which could make all my knowledge worthless and as a waste of time. Now I don't care anymore because somehow I hate computers, industrial and demographic rise and globalization which is jeopardizing our world (some hope for copenhague :-X). it's possible you set another milestone some day but I need to get my own way.

Offline cth

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Re: It works so it is true ?!
« Reply #21 on: December 19, 2009, 10:28:06 PM »
I don't reject theories because they settle me, but because I'm bound to trust others about what I could never verify. That's not unscientific that's just asocial.

OK, I see I had misinterpreted your words. Sorry.
Good luck if you need to spend much time to redemonstrate everything. This is good practice for learning, but it saves time to accept someone else results: I can't see myself reproducing the results of every scientific publication I read daily... I would have no time to do anything new. One has to trust that authors and paper referees have done an honest job. It's the only way.

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Re: It works so it is true ?!
« Reply #22 on: December 20, 2009, 07:17:07 AM »
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It's the only way.
Yes I'm realizing I must get rid of that, which is a great step forward into mankind ! Thank you, anyway.

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