Is Science a value system?

Discussion in 'The Cesspool' started by Magical Realist, Jan 15, 2015.

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  1. dumbest man on earth Real Eyes Realize Real Lies Valued Senior Member


    paddoboy claimed "eliminating"...not "helped reduce"?!?!?!

    Incidentally, paddoboy's intent is quite clear in most of his Posts!

    BTW, I worked in the development and deployment of the GPS system and it was driven by military need, not any Goodwill or Humanitarian justifications.
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  3. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    What does past experience have to do with future probabilities? That looks like an inductive argument to me, and inductive arguments are philosophical arguments. So are all of your attempts to conflate science and ethics.

    And once again, what's to guarantee that science will only be put to good use? Your optimism is a view that was often expressed in the late 19th century. The Eiffel tower in Paris is a symbolic expression of it, a structure whose bridge-like engineering is exposed and visible for all to see, thrusting towards the heavens. European intellectuals' naive optimism that science guarantees that the future will necessarily be better than the past was put down by World War I with its trench-warfare, machine guns and poison gas that chewed up an entire generation of young men.

    What about nuclear weapons? What about everpresent surveillance and the loss of privacy? What about the spectre of bio-hacking, where the code that hackers subvert is the human genetic code?

    I'm not arguing that science is a bad thing. It isn't. I'm just arguing that there aren't any guarantees. There isn't any wonderful "scientific method" that ensures that if the crank is turned, then everything will turn out right.

    Science provides means. It doesn't provide ends. It isn't self-steering.

    I don't disagree with that. What I do disagree with with misconstruing science as something that it's not, treating it a an ethics and a philosophy of history and progress.

    "The anti science brigade"? 'Anti-science' is synonymous with 'evil' in your mind, isn't it? You write like you are battling evil, the damnable heathens who don't share your highly scientistic philosophy of science.

    What in the world is that all about? What are "God Botherers"? You imagine that anyone who doesn't share your own personal philosophy of science must be motivated in their evil heresy by weird fanatic religious beliefs?

    Right. That's why it's valuable that its participants have a realistic understanding of what science is and what role science actually plays in human life. Sciforums shouldn't be turned into a church, a solemn and devout place where Science is worshipped.
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  5. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    How have satellites helped reduce poverty and hunger? If you're going to use your Mod Hat to take sides in this debate, at least support your claim.
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  7. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

    Stop putting words in my mouth.
    The anti science brigade consist of many types, all with an obvious agenda.
    I just refute their general nonsensical stance and will continue to do so, in relation to this forum.
    Of course with relation to the the world of science in general, science will continue as is, unaffected by such trivial deeds of those that have no other outlet.

    I don't Imagine anything. It is an undeniable fact that God Botherers have infested science threads from time to time and continue to do so.
    Perhaps you have forgotten our friend chinglu, and his maniacal efforts to invalidate SR/GR.

    I reiterate....Anyone that claims science has not benefited human kind over the ages obviously has an agenda. The claim is nonsensical and dumb!
  8. billvon Valued Senior Member

    Simplest way is that they have allowed accurate forecasts, which farmers use to reduce water use, plan for harvests and decide when to plant.
  9. paddoboy Valued Senior Member


    Thanks Kitt.....
    Perhaps I could have worded it better, but I'm equally sure since in this very thread earlier in the piece, I did say that "Satellites have helped reduce poverty and hunger" did make my intent quite clear.
    And to deny that claim is being obtuse.
    Irrespective here is one link illustrating the great benefits Satellites [our first venture into space] have had for mankind.
    U.S. Uses Landsat Satellite Data To Fight Hunger, Poverty
    Remote sensing is a critical tool for agriculture, land use worldwide
    Source: Cheryl Pellerin,, U.S. Department of State

    Over the 35 years that U.S. Landsat Earth-observation satellites have collected images of the planet from space, scientists around the world have put the data to work in a range of applications, from agriculture and land-use planning to ecological forecasting and disaster management. The program – a shared responsibility of NASA and the Department of the Interior’s U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) – also has played a role in helping those in the poorest and most resource-challenged nations harness the power of technology, including remote sensing, to make the best, most sustainable use of their natural environment.

    Since the 1980s, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has provided core funding to the International Program at the USGS Center for Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) in South Dakota for projects that use remotely sensed data to address resource management, land-cover change, monitoring and early warning systems in countries around the world. (See related article.)

    Help with Famine and Floods

    USAID established the famine early warning system (FEWS) in 1986 to help prevent famine in sub-Saharan Africa by giving decision makers specific information based on remote sensing about potential famine conditions.

    In 2000, the FEWS Network was formed to establish more effective, sustainable, African-led food security and response planning networks to reduce the vulnerability of at-risk groups to famine and floods. The USGS EROS Center, NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are among the contributing partners.

    In 2003, USAID began funding NASA to establish SERVIR, a Web-based visualization and monitoring system for Central America and Mexico that makes satellite images and geospatial information available to decision makers, students, business communities and the public. (See related article.)

    The system has been used for forecasting weather, monitoring fires, determining populations at risk for flooding and landslides, monitoring red tides for fisheries, analyzing climate change and mapping land cover.

    “From disaster response to long-term development planning, these Earth observation technologies improve our ability to understand the integrated nature of the work we do around the world, and thus be more effective,” said Carrie Stokes, a geospatial information technology adviser at USAID.

    “We can see more holistically how projects in different sectors such as economic growth, agriculture, natural resource management, health and governance can be linked to reinforce each other,” she added. “Building the capacity of people to use geospatial technologies for addressing a host of issues ranging from food security, urban development, biodiversity conservation and climate change is therefore a priority for us.”

    The system uses many kinds of remotely sensed data, but Landsat imagery forms the basis for each country’s national map.

    USAID also funds the West Africa Land Use and Land Cover Trends Program, an effort by USGS EROS Center scientists to work with partners in 14 countries in that region to map and quantify changes in the landscapes over the past 40 years.

    Mapping Changes Over Time

    Gray Tappan is a geographer with Science Applications International Corp., a contractor for the USGS EROS Center, who works on the land-cover trends program. The effort is a challenge, he said in an April 11 USINFO interview, because of the vast land area involved and the difficulty of piecing together images from different sources.

    “We’re looking at four points in time – 1965, 1975, 1985 and 2000,” he said. “It’s like making four separate maps, then we compare them and from that we derive changes. It gives us a visual graphic of the land resources and the way they were 40 years ago, or 20 years ago, and gives us statistics about the areas of forest, wetlands, urban areas and agriculture.”

    In West Africa, EROS scientists have been working since 1988 with African partners at the AGRHYMET (for agriculture, hydrology and meteorology) Regional Center in Niamey, Niger, to help them build remote-sensing capacity.

    In the maps, Tappan said, “we’re seeing the slow but sure expansion of agricultural lands into forested lands and savannahs, so natural vegetation is losing ground to agriculture. It is a concern – we’re seeing a fairly rapidly changing environment, driven mainly by human activity.”

    The next step, he said, “is to provide this very graphic evidence to high-level policymakers in each country and begin a dialogue. We can also use computers to show what those landscapes might look like in 2020 or 2050. That kind of gets their attention.”

    In another land-cover-change project in Niger, farmers improved land-clearing and farming practices and adopted better soil and water conservation and agroforestry practices. This led to a regrowth of trees and shrubs that surpasses the number that existed 30 years ago and has a positive impact on tens of thousands of rural households.

    This outcome was so amazing that even the Nigerians were skeptical, Tappan said, until remote sensing imagery “had a huge role in convincing first the Nigerians and high-level government officials, then the world beyond, that such resources can be restored.”

    This is the sort of success story that new technologies like remote sensing can help duplicate in Africa and elsewhere, according to Tappan.

    “More than any other satellite out there,” he said, “it’s Landsat that allows us to do this, because Landsat was the first satellite designed to help us study Earth land resources.”

    More information about the USGS EROS Center International Program is available at the USGS Web site. More information about FEWS NET and SERVIR are available on those organizations’ Web site.

    ( is produced by the International Information Programs Bureau, U.S. Department of State. Web site:

    This entry is filed under Human Health, News
  10. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    Maybe a slight hunger connection, if we assume more crops translates into more disadvantaged people getting more food. But what's the poverty connection? How iow does better crops translate into less people being poor?
  11. paddoboy Valued Senior Member


    When people in remote situations are helped out by Satellites by relevant information about where, and when to plant, plus information on meteorological conditions, to facilitate improvements in crop quality, and the associated ability to sell at higher levels.....
    Quite obvious I would have thought.
  12. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

  13. paddoboy Valued Senior Member


    In battle against hunger and rural poverty, UN uses satellites and Internet

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    Satellite imagery

    21 July 2004 – Using satellite imagery and spatial databases on the frontline of the battle against hunger and rural poverty, United Nations agencies have developed a new Internet-based system to provide vital agricultural information to decision-makers in developing countries.

    GeoNetwork’s InterMap viewer, developed jointly by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP), allows users to overlay maps from multiple servers housed at development institutions worldwide to create a customized thematic composite map on their own computer covering such variables as soil quality, vegetation and population density and marketing access.

    “Geographic information is crucial in identifying problems and suggesting possible solutions,” the Rome-based FAO said in a news release today.

    “FAO has taken a lead role in the area of spatial information management, not just in the UN system but generally. Other organizations value our experience in this area and seek our expertise in enhancing their own,” added John Monyo, Assistant Director-General of the agency’s Sustainable Development Department.

    GeoNetwork is unique in that it is designed specifically to help developing countries improve their ability to manage spatial information, harmonizing and improving access to FAO’s spatial databases in agriculture, forestry, fisheries and food security. It promotes multidisciplinary approaches to sustainable development by allowing FAO, other UN agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and research institutions worldwide to share and distribute geographically referenced data more easily.

    By overlaying various map layers, InterMap can illustrate the spatial relationship between a series of variables. It can suggest, for example, the extent to which a poor transport infrastructure is keeping a region with a rich agricultural endowment in poverty. Its use of free, open-source software minimizes costs to users – a particular plus for those in developing countries, who can use, modify and redistribute the system source code and do not need to rely on foreign suppliers or costly proprietary software.

    GeoNetwork has proved its effectiveness in the field. In Mozambique, 12 government and international agencies working on agriculture, food security and humanitarian issues have been using it since September 2003 to share information and avoid duplication. WFP has implemented the system in its regional bureaux in Senegal, South Africa and Uganda.
  14. billvon Valued Senior Member

    Poor farmers make more money when they can grow more crops and have them succeed more often. Poor fishermen can catch more fish by knowing when to go out - and when not to. They can also catch more fish by being able to find the same shoal over and over, accurately.
  15. Kittamaru Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Adieu, Sciforums. Valued Senior Member

    And originally ARPNET wasn't made as a publicly available creation either... yet look at it now.

    What it was "driven by/made for" and what it has done can, and are, two very different things...

    One very simple way is farming - the accuracy afforded farmers via GPS guidance has enabled farming yields to increase thanks to easy correlation of production techniques and crop yields, better understanding of land variability, and ability to accurately and precisely control where soil enhancers, pesticides, and other chemicals are used. Not to mention GPS guided drones to monitor large scale farmlands.

    Simply put - Precision Agriculture.

    As for how GPS has reduced poverty - simple. Manufacture, maintenance, R&D, et al of satellites, launch systems, ground control systems; the factories that produce the materials used; training and education... these all take people, filling those jobs.

    Then there's the use of Satellite Recon/Imagery to locate areas of unrest/disaster, the whole idea of increased understanding and awareness of the weather (tsunami watch anyone?), etc...
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2015
  16. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    Not really astronomy though. More like machines used for agriculture, fishing, weather forecasting, etc. I can learn all there is to know about astronomy and still not know how to build a satellite.
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2015
  17. paddoboy Valued Senior Member


    Astronomy/Cosmology/Astrophysics are all related and depend on one another for data etc.
    Science is knowledge, and knowledge benefits mankind.
  18. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    So because astronomy uses computers, anyone using a computer is benefiting from astronomy? Uh no...
  19. paddoboy Valued Senior Member


    Uh, yes, most possibly. And of course Astronomy has benefited mankind in many other ways, as I have expressed many times.
    But you are unable to hear that.
    So what is your agenda?
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  20. Kittamaru Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Adieu, Sciforums. Valued Senior Member

    Which has what, exactly, to do with how GPS/Satellites have assisted with reducing poverty/hunger around the world, hm?

    This is a non sequitur at best, but seems more likely to be a case of ignoratio elenchi...
  21. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    Why don't you actually get caught up on the discussion and find out WHY satellites helping alleviate hunger was brought up in the first place?
  22. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

    In my opinion, though the benefits are many, the greatest contribution and benefit to mankind in general from astronomy, is the fact that we do obviously now realise that the Earth is not the center of the solar system, and that it is neither the center of the galaxy and the galaxy is neither the center of the universe. Couple that with the so far discovered 2000 extra solar planets, and the stuff of life being everywhere we look, it has shown us we are nothing special.
    This was excellently highlighted in Carl's "Pale Blue Dot" comment.
    It has also shown us that although the Earth/solar system Aand Universe is full of wonders, that those same wonders have not needed any mythical fairy tale deity to explain them.
    This fact now is evidenced and observed, that even the Catholic Church has relented and recognised the legitimacy and validity of the BB model of Universal evolution, and the theory of the Evolution of Life.

    Many many other benefits of course, but the ones I mention reign supreme.
  23. paddoboy Valued Senior Member


    It was brought up because it is fact, and despite your many posts of philosophical rantings trying to invalidate it.
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