The Limits of Science

Discussions on the philosophical foundations, assumptions, and implications of science, including the natural sciences.

Re: The Limits of Science

Postby dlorde on June 16th, 2014, 10:34 am 

Paradox » June 15th, 2014, 6:11 pm wrote:... You can mold a young mind. Older minds are harder to reprogram. The metaphor “You can’t teach old dogs new tricks” holds true here.

On the other hand, the metaphor "It's never too late to learn" also applies... Let's just say, "It's never too late to teach an old dog new tricks" ;)
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Re: The Limits of Science

Postby Paradox on June 16th, 2014, 6:36 pm 

Diorde~

My experience with old dogs is that they especially don’t want to be taught by a young buck. Its a pride thing. As stated before, when it comes to war, there cannot be any hesitation or thinking about it. Else nothing will happen. If I pegged you right, you would be willing to get into the sh-t if need be. Older men have a different bravery than the young. Old dude knows he has lived most of his life and his time is short and wants to go out in a blaze of glory. A young man still has a life to live if he survives. Therefore his sacrifice is greater than the old dog. This is why a young man trying to confront an older man should proceed with caution, because men with one foot in the grave are the bravest and most dangerous of all men. They will cap you and not think of the consequences because their life is almost over anyway.

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Last edited by Paradox on June 16th, 2014, 7:09 pm, edited 5 times in total.
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Re: The Limits of Science

Postby Paradox on June 16th, 2014, 6:41 pm 

This thread has morphed into a different topic. I suppose that happens a lot in this type of topic and forum.

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Re: The Limits of Science

Postby skakos on June 17th, 2014, 12:29 pm 

Paradox » June 17th, 2014, 12:41 am wrote:This thread has morphed into a different topic. I suppose that happens a lot in this type of topic and forum.

Paradox~


Let's get back to the Limits of Science then...
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Re: The Limits of Science

Postby Paradox on June 18th, 2014, 1:35 pm 

Skakos~

Pick up where you left off... Science is limited by....
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Re: The Limits of Science

Postby skakos on June 27th, 2014, 6:59 pm 

Paradox » June 18th, 2014, 7:35 pm wrote:Skakos~

Pick up where you left off... Science is limited by....


By its own foundations.

Science is based on experiments. Not everything can be replicated by experiments.
Science is based on measurement. Not everything can be measured.
Science is based on definitions. Definitions change at will.
Science is based on axioms. Axioms are based on.. faith.

Just a few examples to get things started...
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Re: The Limits of Science

Postby NatureGuy on June 27th, 2014, 8:25 pm 

Hmm.... I'm a bit wary of addressing the limits of science on a science forum. Not wary enough I guess.

Science exists in the medium of thought, and would thus inherit any limitations of that medium.

I would propose that thought is inherently divisive in nature. By divisive I mean "to divide", not argumentative. This divisive nature is a form of bias which, imho, has profound implications for the human experience, including science.

As example, if we observe reality through tinted sunglasses, everything we see will appear to be tinted. The tintedness we observe is obviously not a property of reality, but of the mechanism we are using to observe reality.

I think the inherently divisive nature of thought is like that, a form of built in distortion that must be accounted for as best we can. It's a difficult task, given that the bias for division is built in to the language we would use to discuss such things.

I'm not sure if this is on topic or not, so I'll be brief here. Our view of science seems rather limited, as we seem to have a simplistic "more is better" relationship with knowledge.
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Re: The Limits of Science

Postby dlorde on June 28th, 2014, 10:18 am 

NatureGuy » June 28th, 2014, 1:25 am wrote:Our view of science seems rather limited, as we seem to have a simplistic "more is better" relationship with knowledge.

So what do you feel would be a less limited view of science, or a less simplistic relationship with knowledge?
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Re: The Limits of Science

Postby NatureGuy on June 28th, 2014, 11:35 am 

So what do you feel would be a less limited view of science, or a less simplistic relationship with knowledge?


Oh dear, I've raised the same issue in two different threads. See this linked thread too if you wish:

http://www.sciencechatforum.com/viewtop ... 00&start=0

It seems a less simplistic relationship with knowledge might attempt to calculate what rate of knowledge development is useful. constructive and relatively safe, and what level raises unacceptable dangers.

Just as we would with children it seems the amount of power we give ourselves, and the rate at which we do so, has to be measured against our ability to manage those powers, and the rate of change.
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Re: The Limits of Science

Postby skakos on July 5th, 2014, 10:57 am 

NatureGuy » June 28th, 2014, 2:25 am wrote:Hmm.... I'm a bit wary of addressing the limits of science on a science forum. Not wary enough I guess.

Science exists in the medium of thought, and would thus inherit any limitations of that medium.

I would propose that thought is inherently divisive in nature. By divisive I mean "to divide", not argumentative. This divisive nature is a form of bias which, imho, has profound implications for the human experience, including science.

As example, if we observe reality through tinted sunglasses, everything we see will appear to be tinted. The tintedness we observe is obviously not a property of reality, but of the mechanism we are using to observe reality.

I think the inherently divisive nature of thought is like that, a form of built in distortion that must be accounted for as best we can. It's a difficult task, given that the bias for division is built in to the language we would use to discuss such things.

I'm not sure if this is on topic or not, so I'll be brief here. Our view of science seems rather limited, as we seem to have a simplistic "more is better" relationship with knowledge.


It is highly simplistic to equalize science and "thought" so much.
Science is a specific way of modeling things we observe and has specific tools to do that.
Thought on the other hand is too chaotic to be put into boxes.
There is the illogical thought. The irrational thought. Is that "science"?

Science is based on rules.
And it is highly appropriate to address their limitations in a Science forum.
True scientists should state clearly which are the axioms their research is based upon and have the courage to question/ change them.

I am afraid modern science does not do that at all...
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Re: The Limits of Science

Postby NatureGuy on July 5th, 2014, 6:42 pm 

It is highly simplistic to equalize science and "thought" so much.


Thought is the medium science is made of, and thus the nature of thought would seem to be a highly relevant topic.

It is of course true that a great many other things humans do are also made of thought.

An example might be life. All life is made of water to a significant degree. Thus, though the forms of life vary widely, all those forms are heavily influenced by the properties of water.
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Re: The Limits of Science

Postby skakos on July 17th, 2014, 7:37 am 

NatureGuy » July 6th, 2014, 12:42 am wrote:
It is highly simplistic to equalize science and "thought" so much.


Thought is the medium science is made of, and thus the nature of thought would seem to be a highly relevant topic.

It is of course true that a great many other things humans do are also made of thought.

An example might be life. All life is made of water to a significant degree. Thus, though the forms of life vary widely, all those forms are heavily influenced by the properties of water.


Thought is the medium of philosophy and religion as well...
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Re: The Limits of Science

Postby skakos on September 13th, 2014, 10:48 am 

dlorde » June 28th, 2014, 4:18 pm wrote:
NatureGuy » June 28th, 2014, 1:25 am wrote:Our view of science seems rather limited, as we seem to have a simplistic "more is better" relationship with knowledge.

So what do you feel would be a less limited view of science, or a less simplistic relationship with knowledge?


Knowledge for all things lies within us. When we analyze things on the outside, looking at the universe as "something different" which lies outside of us as if we are some kind of spectators, we lose the true meaning of everything. Science is a tool. Not philosophy or theology.
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Re: The Limits of Science

Postby Marshall on September 13th, 2014, 1:43 pm 

skakos » Sat Sep 13, 2014 7:48 am wrote:...
Knowledge for all things lies within us. When we analyze things on the outside, looking at the universe as "something different" which lies outside of us as if we are some kind of spectators, we lose the true meaning of everything.


This is mysticism. I'm not criticizing this, many of us have a streak of mysticism in our natures. It becomes a problem when it gets dogmatic.
Science is a tool. Not philosophy or theology.

It seems to me that you are criticizing some imaginary people for what are YOUR MAIN FAULTS, namely bias prejudice dogmatism. It is sometimes called "projection"

When you make arguments the conclusions are so often clearly influenced by your bias and preconceptions.

I enjoy your HUMOROUS side, which you don't bring to this forum so much. We see too much only your dogmatic side, criticizing the imaginary dogmatic people whoever they are (scientists?, people who believe in science like a religion? people blinded by preconceptions?).

How about lightening up and showing more your open-minded humorous side?

I like very much your STAR WARS PARODY where you put on a Darth Vader mask and do a Julia Childs act in the kitchen, with a pomegranate. this is a very beautiful idea. Darth Vader shows how to take the seeds out of a pomegranate by slicing it in half (with one swift stroke) and then hitting it many times with a hammer!
http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCol6nJ3 ... qZw/videos

This shows you as a soft gentle 30-some year old person (before you put on the Star Wars mask) who would not hurt a mouse. But then the March of the Jedi music begins to play and you chop the pomegranate in two and begin pounding it.

I also enjoyed seeing the video of you playing the Beethoven Moonlight Sonata.

It was also interesting to see the YouTubes about how Muslim Clerics have been converting to Christianity. I didn't hear before of any Imam turning Christian!

http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL ... N2uCDGaC7U
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Re: The Limits of Science

Postby Paradox on September 13th, 2014, 7:45 pm 

No disrespect, Skakos, but between the pic you present as yourself and the things you say, I get images of the anti slavery John Brown in the civil war preaching fire and brimstone while clearing the land of sin, with fiery hair,* riding on a white horse.

*Sorry. I didn’t get the hair right.

Paradox~
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Re: The Limits of Science

Postby skakos on September 26th, 2014, 4:12 pm 

I listen to what you have to say and take your comments into account.
But in order to do that, I must first understand what the problem with my arguments are.
And you have to understand also what my arguments are.

I am not against science.
I am against scientism.

I am not dogmatic, since I already accept science as a very useful tool to reach the truth.
At least I try not to be. If I have said anything that sounds dogmatic, then please tell me what was that.

Looking at thing only from a specific point of view is almost never correct.
This is why I really do not like the tagging of opinions as "scientific", "mystical", etc...
Science - as a set of tools and methods it really is - does not hold any special place in the quest for the truth.
Believing that is being dogmatic.
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Re: The Limits of Science

Postby Paradox on September 26th, 2014, 5:42 pm 

Greetings Skakos,

That was quite candid. I will respond later.

Regards

Paradox~
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Re: The Limits of Science

Postby dlorde on September 27th, 2014, 9:48 am 

skakos » September 26th, 2014, 9:12 pm wrote:Science - as a set of tools and methods it really is - does not hold any special place in the quest for the truth.
Believing that is being dogmatic.

Science is a tool kit for acquiring knowledge and understanding of the world. Truth is a moveable feast.
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Re: The Limits of Science

Postby neuro on September 27th, 2014, 5:41 pm 

skakos » September 26th, 2014, 9:12 pm wrote:Science - as a set of tools and methods it really is - does not hold any special place in the quest for the truth.

Special place with respect to what?
Philosophy? (I'd say they are looking for different kinds of "truths")
Religion? (I'd say this - as a set of unquestionable answers - has nothing to do with the quest for truth)
Personal opinions?
Chatting?
Anything else?
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Re: The Limits of Science

Postby skakos on September 27th, 2014, 8:11 pm 

neuro » September 27th, 2014, 11:41 pm wrote:
skakos » September 26th, 2014, 9:12 pm wrote:Science - as a set of tools and methods it really is - does not hold any special place in the quest for the truth.

Special place with respect to what?
Philosophy? (I'd say they are looking for different kinds of "truths")
Religion? (I'd say this - as a set of unquestionable answers - has nothing to do with the quest for truth)
Personal opinions?
Chatting?
Anything else?


Against philosophy and religion to begin with.

Science is based on axioms which are always based on some philosophical ideas. So science is always based on philsophy.

As far as religion is concerned, it is based on intuition and our experience of the world which are tools science also uses. I can even say that religion is based on empirical data (religious experience) even more than science! Science can easily imagine parallel universes of which we have no experience whatsoever. On the other hand even the weirdest religious teachings (take resurrection for example) are based on empirical data. In general both have "truth" as their goal. But religion starts from the "human level" in order to reach God, while science starts from God in order to reach the explanation of physical phenomena as Planck said.

Do you believe science is better than religion or philosophy in any way?
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Re: The Limits of Science

Postby dlorde on September 27th, 2014, 8:15 pm 

skakos » September 28th, 2014, 1:11 am wrote:In general both have "truth" as their goal.

No. Truth is not a goal of science. Building knowledge and understanding and solving problems are the goals of science. You may feel that truth is involved in those goals, but that's just your interpretation.

... science starts from God in order to reach the explanation of physical phenomena...

No. Science starts from observation.

Do you believe science is better than religion or philosophy in any way?

Depends on your goal(s).

R. Feynman: What is Science?
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Re: The Limits of Science

Postby neuro on September 28th, 2014, 5:14 am 

skakos » September 28th, 2014, 1:11 am wrote:Do you believe science is better than religion or philosophy in any way?


As I tried to say (uselessly, for the nth time), science has a specific aim, that is different from that of religion or philosophy.

To that aim, it is the best we have at hand.

To other aims, such as finding the purpose of life, knowing whether a god is there, and knowing what is real, what is right and what is really "true", we have other tools (not particularly effcient, I'd say, if one looks at them as answer-finding strategies rather than questioning strategies).

Scence was born from philosophy.
Actually it can be looked at as a branch of philosophy.
As any other branch, it has a range of questions it is suitable to face.
However, once more, not necessarily to answer them: philosophy and science are not answering disciplines, but question posing disciplines, and methodologies for the search of possible, possibly sound, answers.

You keep attacking other people's dogmatism.
I get the impression that here there is someone here who appears to have "the answers" (because you find them inside you or some god revealed them) and who looks for something more general and universal than science as a "dogma" against which other disciplines can be evaluated.
Pretty dogmatic attitude, I'd say.
(And that one is not me.)
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Re: The Limits of Science

Postby mtbturtle on September 28th, 2014, 7:54 am 

Is it dogmatic to deny that science searches for truth, it is among the goals, or that philosophy provides no answers? hmmmm
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Re: The Limits of Science

Postby owleye on September 28th, 2014, 10:17 am 

skakos » Sat Sep 27, 2014 6:11 pm wrote:
neuro » September 27th, 2014, 11:41 pm wrote:
skakos » September 26th, 2014, 9:12 pm wrote:Science - as a set of tools and methods it really is - does not hold any special place in the quest for the truth.

Special place with respect to what?
Philosophy? (I'd say they are looking for different kinds of "truths")
Religion? (I'd say this - as a set of unquestionable answers - has nothing to do with the quest for truth)
Personal opinions?
Chatting?
Anything else?


Against philosophy and religion to begin with.

Science is based on axioms which are always based on some philosophical ideas. So science is always based on philsophy.

As far as religion is concerned, it is based on intuition and our experience of the world which are tools science also uses. I can even say that religion is based on empirical data (religious experience) even more than science! Science can easily imagine parallel universes of which we have no experience whatsoever. On the other hand even the weirdest religious teachings (take resurrection for example) are based on empirical data. In general both have "truth" as their goal. But religion starts from the "human level" in order to reach God, while science starts from God in order to reach the explanation of physical phenomena as Planck said.

Do you believe science is better than religion or philosophy in any way?


Do you think science has had successes in its quest for knowledge? Has it been an utter failure, because it has not arrived at truth in any way that satisfies you? Do you think religion provides you with knowledge? truth? Do you think truth is in any way achievable at all? In what sense can one even get at the truth, if we don't even know what we are seeking? What makes it possible for truth to be a goal? Can truth be approximated?

These are among the questions that I'd be asking myself in my dealings with truth. And in attempting to respond to them I would not wish to end up with something that depends on me being the sole bearer of truth just because I'm uniquely endowed with special truth bearing qualities. I'd expect that truth lies beyond me and not within me for that reason. Even if truth is something revealed, its source is not within, but without, and it's something available to all who have the same faculties of objective judgment. Relative truths are to be shunned as these are nothing but comforting analgesics. Only universal and absolute truths are of value.
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Re: The Limits of Science

Postby skakos on September 30th, 2014, 4:54 pm 

dlorde » September 28th, 2014, 2:15 am wrote:
skakos » September 28th, 2014, 1:11 am wrote:In general both have "truth" as their goal.

No. Truth is not a goal of science. Building knowledge and understanding and solving problems are the goals of science. You may feel that truth is involved in those goals, but that's just your interpretation.

... science starts from God in order to reach the explanation of physical phenomena...

No. Science starts from observation.

Do you believe science is better than religion or philosophy in any way?

Depends on your goal(s).

R. Feynman: What is Science?


Science starts from the very basic assumption that we can understand the world.
Can you imagine where that idea came from...?

;)
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Re: The Limits of Science

Postby Paradox on September 30th, 2014, 5:50 pm 

Let me see... uh...God?
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Re: The Limits of Science

Postby Watson on September 30th, 2014, 5:58 pm 

I think the basic assumption is we should try and understand the world. Some understanding comes slowly, and we know some knowledge is beyond our understanding.
At least that what God told me.
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Re: The Limits of Science

Postby dlorde on September 30th, 2014, 7:44 pm 

skakos » September 30th, 2014, 9:54 pm wrote:Science starts from the very basic assumption that we can understand the world.
Can you imagine where that idea came from...?

Indeed I can.
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Re: The Limits of Science

Postby neuro on October 1st, 2014, 5:28 am 

skakos » September 30th, 2014, 9:54 pm wrote:Science starts from the very basic assumption that we can understand the world.


I have the unpleasant sensation that somebody here is a little obsessed by the idea that everybody is dogmatic and lives based on "assumptions".

Why don't you try to see things in a slightly different way, with some optimism in your fellow humans?

I'd rather say "science starts from the very basic NEED / DESIRE / PLEASURE of understanding".
It might be true that the implicit assumption - that one be able to understand - lies below any attempt to >satisfy< such desire.
But are you proposing we should simply try and extinguish such desire of knowing (since we cannot)?
Some kind of exasperated stoicism? total ataxia / ataraxia? just wonder and don't ask?
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Re: The Limits of Science

Postby Philosophytalks on October 2nd, 2014, 2:50 pm 

Hey guys,

I have been looking throughout the post but I dont think I have seen anyone say what I am about to say as of now.
I believe that science is magnificent, dont get me wrong it has made so many discoveries, but my problem with those who believe in scientism have got it wrong.

As with everything (in general terms, for I dont actually know everything about the universe) there are limits. There are definitely limits to science as well:

1) Science relies on the presupposition of the laws of physics and the laws of nature (e.g. the entirety of science is governed by the law of the conservation of energy). However, science itself cannot explain why certain fundamental laws of nature do exist (IMO, I havent seen anyone account for certain laws anyway, I have only seen people say that they do occur, not why they occur).

2) The methodological approach means that there are certain things it cannot find as well. In theory, the methodology means that it could never account for things that aren't quantitative and things that leave no evidence as to why they occur (Now im not going to argue that these things do exist in this post, but im just saying if these things to exist then science could not find them).

3) Finally, it would seem that science cannot account for moral truths. There is nothing that can be scientifically proven about goodness or evil. Science could only test our reaction to certain responses which we believe to be good or bad, but it couldnt provide an account for things that are good or things that are bad as such.

If someone tried to assert that science was the be all and end all of knowledge, then I would thoroughly argue against it for it is too restricted in terms of encompassing all fields of our knowledge (like ethics and aesthetics).
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