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Revisited question, can we trust science?

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posted on Sep, 30 2011 @ 07:25 AM
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Originally posted by OwenGP185
Any scientific fact of today could potentially be false a few years down the line so am I correct to conclude science does not determine facts but rather logical beliefs?
You are not correct.

Facts do not change.

The scientific theories to explain those facts can change.

Scientific theories are falsifiable, for example, a single verified case of human footprints and dinosaur footprints found in the same sediment would destroy the current theory of evolution. However you are being extremely naive if you think this means that the mountain of evidence supporting evolution is not overwhelming.

Yes evolution could be falsified. Will that happen? It sure seems unlikely.

Some of the shakier scientific theories are much more subject to falsification. So you really need to look at how much evidence supports a theory, to determine how likely or unlikely it is that it might later be falsified.
edit on 30-9-2011 by Arbitrageur because: clarification




posted on Sep, 30 2011 @ 08:06 AM
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Originally posted by Arbitrageur

Originally posted by OwenGP185
Any scientific fact of today could potentially be false a few years down the line so am I correct to conclude science does not determine facts but rather logical beliefs?
You are not correct.

Facts do not change.

The scientific theories to explain those facts can change.

Scientific theories are falsifiable, for example, a single verified case of human footprints and dinosaur footprints found in the same sediment would destroy the current theory of evolution. However you are being extremely naive if you think this means that the mountain of evidence supporting evolution is not overwhelming.

Yes evolution could be falsified. Will that happen? It sure seems unlikely.

Some of the shakier scientific theories are much more subject to falsification. So you really need to look at how much evidence supports a theory, to determine how likely or unlikely it is that it might later be falsified.
edit on 30-9-2011 by Arbitrageur because: clarification


Im not questioning whether theries should be consider fact or not. It is the belief that we know a fact(anything) because it is always possibly wrong, even though supported by science. I appreciate we can all argue of the termingology and what the word fact means however what Im questioning is do we know, or do we believe our understandings of the universe.



posted on Sep, 30 2011 @ 08:24 AM
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Originally posted by Byrd

Originally posted by OwenGP185
Do you see where I'm coming from, science relies on belief as does religion, even with evidence to something happening there should never be a 100% certainty.


The mechanics that create the belief are different.

In a religion:
* you can't question the central tenant (the Christian deity is the supreme deity, for example)
* it has a rigid set of rules (ten commandments, for example)
* the method of proving the religion is right is channeled/given prophecies
* there are no fixed rules for testing the beliefs.
* does not build up new beliefs out of old ones.
* new technology does not affect it.

In science:
* relies on constant new information. It's not stagnant. It's all about learning new things.
* the "scientific method" is a process but not a rigid rule
* the method of proving it right is by reproduction of the results by independent sources
* has rigid rules for determining truth ("truth tables")
* builds up new hypotheses from old ones
* new technology creates new opportunities to find out more about the universe


I do however belief scientists are wrong to criticise or ridicule others if scientific fact can become fiction. Any scientific fact of today could potentially be false a few years down the line so am I correct to conclude science does not determine facts but rather logical beliefs?

No.


No doubt science is a far more logical way of understanding however it still seems to need belief. All the rules and tests etc can never put into consideration every interrupting force as we do not know everything that is in our universe that could make the results void. It is like 200years ago when a doctor is testing for causes of diseases, he might come up with a cause that later becomes void with the discovery of bacteria.

My point is with science, we use logic to form an informed belief. We can say well fact means the same result 10000000times however we are not trying to prove the term, we are trying to prove what is around us and that for me requires more than what science has to offer. Facts certainly never change, they are what they always will be however our methods of locating fact I feel will always be missing that 0.00000000001% making unquestionable absolute knowledge impossible in our current system.

edit on 30-9-2011 by OwenGP185 because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 30 2011 @ 08:43 AM
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Originally posted by OwenGP185
No doubt science is a far more logical way of understanding however it still seems to need belief. All the rules and tests etc can never put into consideration every interrupting force as we do not know everything that is in our universe that could make the results void. It is like 200years ago when a doctor is testing for causes of diseases, he might come up with a cause that later becomes void with the discovery of bacteria.

We need to agree on terminology because it's creating ambiguity. 'Belief' has many definitions:


An acceptance that a statement is true or that something exists
- his belief in the value of hard work
- a belief that solitude nourishes creativity

Something one accepts as true or real; a firmly held opinion or conviction
- contrary to popular belief, Aramaic is a living language
- we're prepared to fight for our beliefs

A religious conviction
- Christian beliefs
- I'm afraid to say belief has gone
- local beliefs and customs

Trust, faith, or confidence in someone or something
- a belief in democratic politics
- I've still got belief in myself

Those are pretty conflicting definitions. You see how ambiguity can arise? A religious person has a belief in their God. I would call that faith rather than en evidence-based belief. On the flipside, do I believe in my postman? Well, it's not a religious conviction but obviously I do not doubt his existence. I would not call that the same belief as said religious person's belief in God.

I think I understand what you are getting at, though. How can we be sure of science when in all likelihood it's going to be turned on it's head in 10/50/100/500/1000 years from now? Well, I don't think the doctor example was really fair. Medicine didn't really become what we would call a proper science until the couple of hundred years or so.

However, let's take this neutrino discovery as an example. Let's say that it does indeed transpire that neutrinos can travel faster than the speed of light. Does that invalidate all of our previous observations? Does it stop GPS systems from working? Will planes fall out of the sky? No, because the observations (facts) were valid and still are valid, rather the theory explaining those observations has to change to accommodate the new observations that conflict with the existing theory. The explanation changes, the observations do not. We can never say any explanation is certain, but we can be comfortable with it so long as it explains all the observations and makes useful predictions. GR made useful predictions that led to real-world technology that we still use today. Newtonian physics made useful predictions that led to real-world technology that we still use today, even though we know that it is an incomplete explanation.


My point is with science, we use logic to form an informed belief. We can say well fact means the same result 10000000times however we are not trying to prove the term, we are trying to prove what is around us and that for me requires more than what science has to offer. Facts certainly never change, they are what they always will be however our methods of locating fact I feel will always be missing that 0.00000000001% making unquestionable absolute knowledge possible in our current system.

We can never be 100% certain of anything in science. However, if the sun has risen everyday for the last 50,000-odd years of human civilization, we can make the reasonable assumption that the sun will rise again tomorrow. We can formulate an explanation of why the sun rises on a daily basis and that explanation need only accommodate the known facts. If the sun did indeed not rise tomorrow (ignoring the imminent death of life as we know it), then we would need to expand our understanding and come up with a new explanation that fits the known facts.



posted on Sep, 30 2011 @ 08:47 AM
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Originally posted by OwenGP185
our methods of locating fact I feel will always be missing that 0.00000000001% making unquestionable absolute knowledge impossible in our current system.
That may be true, but you're being slightly silly.

Being 99.99999999999% sure of something is close enough for most of us.

For example, I'm that sure that the science behind your computer is right, because, your computer works.

If it didn't, you wouldn't be posting on this forum.

In fact, if the science is wrong, which there's a 0.00000000001% chance of according to you, I'm not sure how you're able to post here. Maybe you can explain that to me?
edit on 30-9-2011 by Arbitrageur because: clarification



posted on Sep, 30 2011 @ 08:58 AM
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Today science is bought and sold for profit. Advanced science like that which discovered the neutrinos speed can go faster than light is not the average science which is in our lives. The science on GMO foods; the science to get a drug approval from the FDA; or even the science that brings us food additives like aspartame is suspect.

I have to approach science with caution and doubt after science has been corrupted for profit and not the pursuit of the unknown.

edit on 30-9-2011 by fnpmitchreturns because: spelling



posted on Sep, 30 2011 @ 09:29 AM
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Originally posted by Arbitrageur

Originally posted by OwenGP185
our methods of locating fact I feel will always be missing that 0.00000000001% making unquestionable absolute knowledge impossible in our current system.
That may be true, but you're being slightly silly.

Being 99.99999999999% sure of something is close enough for most of us.

For example, I'm that sure that the science behind your computer is right, because, your computer works.

If it didn't, you wouldn't be posting on this forum.

In fact, if the science is wrong, which there's a 0.00000000001% chance of according to you, I'm not sure how you're able to post here. Maybe you can explain that to me?
edit on 30-9-2011 by Arbitrageur because: clarification


You are missing my point totally and my figures are hypothetical to put across the concept, anyone in their right mind would take that percent as logical and go with it for sure and that is perfectly sensible. This is not what I’m debating though, this is not about going with incredibly logical high percentage but rather the absolute (100% unchangeable truth) which there is a difference. The difference means very little in terms of the real world but when it comes to truth or false there is a world of difference.

I’m talking about knowledge that can never be changed because it is absolute and every other possibility has been considered and falsified. Once there is nothing left to discover(which might be impossible) than that is when we have found a system than deals with absolute and irrefutable which science is not, at least not at this moment in time. But like I said, we still require a tiny bit of belief, sure I would be stupid to say gravity is not holding me down to this earth. However I believe it is holding me down, for all we know there is a force similar to gravity holding us to the surface.

Feel free to provide one thing we know that is true and could not possibly be the product of something we don’t yet comprehend, something that is beyond the infinity that is possibility? The problem is science only deals with what we comprehend, and "know" at the time. There for we can call things fact but not all all these facts will be true and we have no way at this point of time to have absolute knowledge, therefore we go with logic, common sense and all the probability we can, the rest no matter how minuscule requires belief.
edit on 30-9-2011 by OwenGP185 because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 30 2011 @ 09:36 AM
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reply to post by OwenGP185
 


Nothing in the universe is 100% certain. However, if experiments yield the same result time and time again with independent testing, we can make safe assumptions. This isn't a limitation of science rather a limitation of living in the real world.



posted on Sep, 30 2011 @ 09:52 AM
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Originally posted by OwenGP185
Feel free to provide one thing we know that is true and could not possibly be the product of something we don’t yet comprehend, something that is beyond the infinity that is possibility?
I already gave you the example of the science behind the computer you're using to post here.

And I see you failed to address it in your reply.



posted on Sep, 30 2011 @ 10:27 AM
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Originally posted by Arbitrageur

Originally posted by OwenGP185
Feel free to provide one thing we know that is true and could not possibly be the product of something we don’t yet comprehend, something that is beyond the infinity that is possibility?
I already gave you the example of the science behind the computer you're using to post here.

And I see you failed to address it in your reply.

I was addressing it when I said I think you missed my point. A computer is not very specific considering all the components are individual with their own elements of science to consider but I will try. Science tells us that electricity passes through the power supply, sends electricity into the various components of the computer etc. Yes it switches on, everything functions as expected and logic tells us that passing through the current is the reason the computer switched on.

Now consider when you press the switch it is not actually the electricity that is providing the power. Instead an energy neither science nor human kind has yet discovered, and this unknown energy was the actual reason the computer turned on. Yes it is very highly unlikely, but there is always a possibility the computer turned on from an unknown energy rather than the electric current that might one day be considered false. The simple fact that another possibility we have not yet discovered could be the actual reason makes electricity a logical belief but it holds no absolute certainty.



posted on Sep, 30 2011 @ 10:38 AM
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reply to post by john_bmth
 


You seem to think taht whatever you observe today is the crown acheivement of human history, both past and future. It is not. Todays "scientific fact" becomes tomorrows punchline, talking about how stupid we "used to be".

To not recognize this is hubris.



posted on Sep, 30 2011 @ 10:55 AM
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Originally posted by bigfatfurrytexan
reply to post by john_bmth
 


You seem to think taht whatever you observe today is the crown acheivement of human history, both past and future. It is not.

Can you point out where I said that what is observed today is the crowning achievement of human history? I don't remember saying that. In fact, I'm pretty certain I wouldn't say that because that's a pretty stupid thing to say. Care to dig out that quote I allegedly made for me? I would hate to think you were putting words in my mouth, that would be intellectually dishonest of you. Don't bother to address the comments I actually made, it's far easier to construct a straw man and attack that instead.


Todays "scientific fact" becomes tomorrows punchline, talking about how stupid we "used to be".

Really? Can you post examples of scientific facts that have become punchlines? You were originally confusing scientific facts with scientific theories so forgive me if I have doubts about your scientific literacy.


To not recognize this is hubris.

Ironic. You speak as if you are the arbitrator of absolute truth and knowledge, even when you have been shown to be making factually inaccurate statements. Now that I would call hubris.
edit on 30-9-2011 by john_bmth because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 30 2011 @ 10:58 AM
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Revisited question, can we trust science?

If it's about how to separate Water from Oil YES!

If it's about Aliens, UFO, Religion, Dinosaurs, Antimatter, Free Energy?

edit on 30-9-2011 by Human4life because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 30 2011 @ 11:13 AM
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Originally posted by kalunom
But no matter how one tries to disguise it, as with the faster-than-light being impossible...science requires belief.


I am of the opinion that science does not necessarily require belief. I mean, it is not a requirement that I believe that gasoline will start my car engine; even if I believed it wouldn't, it still would. Honestly, the only part of science that requires belief is in the development of a hypothesis. If I have a scientific belief, then I create a hypothesis around it. Then I apply the scientific method to test the hypothesis. If the results yield positive results again and again, then it becomes theory. Once it becomes theory, then it is no longer a "belief" that said experiment will work, it is now a fact.

Of course, theories can often be refined to become more accurate; but some are simply universal and require no further refinement.

My 2-cents



posted on Sep, 30 2011 @ 01:27 PM
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Originally posted by Aggie Man

Originally posted by kalunom
But no matter how one tries to disguise it, as with the faster-than-light being impossible...science requires belief.


I am of the opinion that science does not necessarily require belief. I mean, it is not a requirement that I believe that gasoline will start my car engine; even if I believed it wouldn't, it still would. Honestly, the only part of science that requires belief is in the development of a hypothesis. If I have a scientific belief, then I create a hypothesis around it. Then I apply the scientific method to test the hypothesis. If the results yield positive results again and again, then it becomes theory. Once it becomes theory, then it is no longer a "belief" that said experiment will work, it is now a fact.

Of course, theories can often be refined to become more accurate; but some are simply universal and require no further refinement.

My 2-cents


Perhaps one day we will discover that it is not the gas itself that starts the engine (not getting into the specifics of starting an engine here), but the results of your brains 'intention' of starting the engine and it's resulting quantum impact on the gasoline.

I don't expect that to make scientific sense, I'm just saying, we know what we know, as we know it now and not otherwise. Belief is just a bad word to some.



posted on Sep, 30 2011 @ 10:59 PM
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reply to post by john_bmth
 


Of course I am The Arbitrator of what is fact and what is fiction. So are you. That is what we, as humans, do. My viewpoint is wholly mine. If you, or anyone else, likes it you are free to share in it. To quote a shirt my son has, "Get behind me and we will make a parade."

I am very willing to admit I am wrong.


However, the majority of what is at debate between you and I (and the OP) is what is considered "fact" and what is not, and how the lines between the two are blurred. For example, lets talk physics Quantum and GR are both considered as "fact". Yet, and as you well know, they are both merely theories.

But, how many actual considered facts are based on these two theories?

In reality, there was no such thing as "scientific fact" before Francis Bacon. He is the initiator of the scientific method. However, you could not tell the "scientists" before Bacon that what they were doing was wrong, and that their approach had led them down all too many dead ends.

One really good such dead end is the failed theory of Spontaneous Generation. Yeah, that one is certainly a punchline. But during "its day" it was as good as gold.

I would be willing to bet, btw, that if you could change the way things were taught in school (and made teachers present many theories, instead of the one approved by the school board), that people would not blur the line between "fact" and "theory".

Also, i am not putting words in your mouth. Perhaps we were speaking different languages, having different understandings. And perhaps you understand better what I am saying now, to see that what most considered "fact" has almost always been overturned by new information shedding new light. I mean, imagine how many "facts" were thrown away just with the invention of lense technology.
edit on 30-9-2011 by bigfatfurrytexan because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 30 2011 @ 11:03 PM
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Originally posted by Aggie Man

Originally posted by kalunom
But no matter how one tries to disguise it, as with the faster-than-light being impossible...science requires belief.


I am of the opinion that science does not necessarily require belief. I mean, it is not a requirement that I believe that gasoline will start my car engine; even if I believed it wouldn't, it still would. Honestly, the only part of science that requires belief is in the development of a hypothesis. If I have a scientific belief, then I create a hypothesis around it. Then I apply the scientific method to test the hypothesis. If the results yield positive results again and again, then it becomes theory. Once it becomes theory, then it is no longer a "belief" that said experiment will work, it is now a fact.

Of course, theories can often be refined to become more accurate; but some are simply universal and require no further refinement.

My 2-cents


THis is a good example of what i was saying. The line between "theory" and "fact" is so blurred that few, even the well reasoned and intelligent ATSers (even if they are TAMU Aggies, bailing to the SEC
). find trouble distinguishing them separately conceptually.



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