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The inherent problem with science or knowledge in general

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posted on Feb, 3 2008 @ 11:19 PM
I think there is an inherent problem with science or even more to the point our concept of knowledge.
Reality is a big complex painting in motion as I see it and we have a hard time taking the whole thing in really.
And what science is in essence trying to understand that painting.
Like in a painting, reality is made up of many many many factors.
Of course reality is far more complex than a painting and even if we could make a moving one far more complex than that.
Our reality, it seems to me at least, is variables playing off variables that play off variables playing off still other variables, anyway, you get the idea. I could keep typing that thought out completely but I would be typing a long damn time. Its all together possible that it goes on into infinity. Another concept we can't really truly grasp.
And those each of those variables in and of themselves run the gambit of spectrums: Complex to simple, what variable(s) reacts with another variable and how many. Otherwords a veritable tangle of variables.
And us being very much compartmental creatures, compartmentalise it in trying to understand it all.
Thusly losing sight of the whole picture more and more the farther we go into our quest for understanding.

Of course. We have to compartmentalise it, our minds simply cannot take in the whole picture.
But in that compartmentalising we lose sight of the whole picture as I said and so doing in someways miss a lot.
And then you add in psychological, sociological and political, you know our various limitation.
And and you get a tangled mess.

So. What are your thoughts on this?
But please lets keep this constructive. Otherwords no your just stupid/crazy or whatever. But feel free to disagree.

[edit on 3-2-2008 by WraothAscendant]

posted on Feb, 4 2008 @ 12:41 AM
So no thoughts huh? Or just no non-attackish ones?
*goes back to listening to the crickets in this thread*

[edit on 4-2-2008 by WraothAscendant]

posted on Feb, 4 2008 @ 12:56 AM
reply to post by WraothAscendant

I like your topic. But I see also knowledge advancing by increasing levels of abstraction, as well as compartmentalization ( like the theory that all nouns were originally proper names, and we called the new animal that showed up by the old dog's name, abstracting the common characteristics and de-emphasizing the differences). What you say reminds me of the question ( I haven't heard of anyone claiming philosophically to have settled it) does the accuracy/predictive approximation efficacy of a scientific theory improve to the extent that the shape of the theory (by which i mean the decision tree, the bifurcations, which case applies in which situation) is the same as the shape of the thing being studied?
My bias is that it does, that your theory of chemistry works better if you have different expectations for the same number of elements as those that you will actually encounter (this is crude, but you see what I mean about the shape?).
So then instead of like endless compartmentalization and piling up of raw dead dumb facts, through careful attention you can get a small thing, of the correct shape. that correctly (within the margin of error of your method of observation) predicts the distribution of all those facts and so kinda takes the place of them. Which seems to me like a good result, for some things, of endless stupid study.
( It's like how if God is so smart and he's going to talk to me I expect him to make it short and to the point, yup yup).

posted on Feb, 7 2008 @ 06:24 PM
reply to post by nine-eyed-eel

Sorry it has taken me so long to answer but I was distracted by my efforts to (not literally) nail jell-o to a tree and have since realized it was a pointless pursuit. Hey what can I say? I'm hard headed and admit it.
Especially when I am almost 100% sure I am right.

Any rate.

I am not sure that the increasing level of abstraction is a good thing. And the compartmentalizing we have to do is as I have said I believe is a bad thing. The father we hurtle away from what we can physically see with the best optics we have there is a ground for even mathematical error. After all how do we know for sure the equation we set up isn't flawed at a very fundamental level?

I mean, look at our knowledge of the atom. We know they exist. We have a pretty good idea about them. But we cannot see them. Even our so-called electron microscopes can't see atoms. Yes they can be detected and yes they seem to have very definable characteristics. And yes we can a little deeper.
But how do we know FOR SURE we have it right? It seems like we are way off any truly observable things and off into the real of speculating what the Himalayas look like exactly without any pictures of them.

And well, I have never liked Occam's little old razor. Not all things are equal.
And I would like to note I am not saying down with anything. Just thoughts I have because I am ever the questioning little bugger. I seem to enjoy questioning my questions question.

And here is something I am not sure how it fits in but here goes, we supposedly harnessed the atom right? Right.
What do we use it for? To make steam to turn a turbine. Like we do with fossil fuels. That to me doesn't sound like we harnessed anything. Just made a nifty new fuel.

[edit on 7-2-2008 by WraothAscendant]

posted on Feb, 7 2008 @ 06:34 PM

Originally posted by WraothAscendant
But how do we know FOR SURE we have it right?

Who said we have it absolutely right? The way I understand it, our scientific knowledge is completely provisional -- even the most obvious, basic stuff -- and is always up for revision or abandonment if somebody comes up with something better. All they have to do is present the theory logically, then clearly demonstrate how it accounts for past data as well as other unknown, testable data. Simple!

At the moment, though, we have some pretty good conventions in place that seem to work well for most things. But if somebody comes up with new data (like the acceleration of the expansion of the universe, for instance), then it's all up for debate again.

I don't think this is a bad thing. I think it's a good, reasonable way to systematically try to figure things out.

posted on Feb, 7 2008 @ 06:38 PM
[edit on 8-2-2008 by WraothAscendant]

posted on Feb, 7 2008 @ 06:51 PM

Originally posted by WraothAscendant
reply to post by Nohup

Who said we have it absolutely right?

Oh. Those that enjoy throwing around scientific absolutes like a frat boy with a fist full of Mardi Gras beads and a room full of hot drunk co-eds.

Like who, for instance? Give me some examples.

You do have to understand, also, that every time a scientific paper is published, there's no requirement for them to always lead with a disclaimer. "The results of this study are provisional." That's understood. It's a given in the working science world. Of course, there are some things, like the speed of light, for instance, that are agreed upon and recognized as pretty standard. But if somebody has a beef about it, all they have to do is prove it wrong.

What, specifically, do you think has been purported to be an absolute fact that you have a problem with?

posted on Feb, 7 2008 @ 06:57 PM
[edit on 8-2-2008 by WraothAscendant]

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