# Is Science a value system?

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

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1. ### billvonValued Senior Member

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OK, let's talk about the first computer - the ENIAC.
To build an ENIAC you need logic elements. Logic elements need to exhibit two characteristics - decisionmaking and gain. Decisionmaking means you need to be able to perform logical operations - say an AND function or a NOR function. It also needs gain, so that a given signal (a bit, a clock, a number, whatever) is not lost due to losses. In ENIAC's time the only thing available to do this in any reasonable time is a vacuum tube, which can provide both.
How do you make vacuum tubes? Well, you have to figure out how to switch an electron stream on and off. How do you do this? What voltages do you need? You get those answers from the Lorentz force law. What is that based on? Maxwell's equations.

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3. ### Russ_WattersNot a Trump supporter...Valued Senior Member

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Indeed, and you improperly constrained it from a clear reference to the computer sitting on your desk/lap to the clearly irrelevant mechanical calculator that Babbage invented. You tried to cleverly twist away from a discussion point you knew you were wrong on. That's trolling.
No one made such a claim. Your attempts to troll cleverly arent helping you.

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5. ### rpennerFully WiredValued Senior Member

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Maxwell's equations (1865) generalize and expand upon Ohm's original law (1827) to cover non-DC voltages and electrical circuit elements other that merely resistors.

On page 485, equation (F) marks Maxwell's generalization of V = RI which we would write in modern notation as $\sigma \vec{E} = \vec{J}$.

Maxwell, James Clerk (1865). "A dynamical theory of the electromagnetic field" (PDF). Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London 155: 459–512.

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7. ### Magical RealistValued Senior Member

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But ofcourse. Maxwell's equations led to the invention of of vacuum tube, which in turn led to the invention of the computer. Man it's get'n deep in here! lol!

8. ### billvonValued Senior Member

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More like "Maxwell's Equations laid the groundwork for the Lorentz force law, which helped de Forest develop the vacuum tube, which in turn allowed development of the first computer."

You are living in a world full of machines that make your life easier based on centuries of work in science and technology. Research both theoretical and empirical brought us everything from electric power to radio to satellites to computers. You might decide that has no value - but there is no sane way you can get around the fact that the computer you are using to complain about science was brought to you by that science. That would be akin to declaring "I don't rely on farms! I get my food from a supermarket, not a farm."

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9. ### Magical RealistValued Senior Member

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I see.. So SCIENCE led to the invention of the computer, not Maxwell's equations then. Well, let's just say that inventive men did, not some body of facts and principles about the natural world. Many inventions came about not so much from studying science as just playing around with machines and their prototypes until something worked. Do you actually think Edison was up on the latest science? That's not my impression. This guy just had a knack for thinking up new inventions and putting them together. Henry Ford had little science education and worked in his younger days as an apprentice. The Wright Brothers never completed high school. Technology has preceded science by thousands of years. To give it full credit for it is misplaced imo.

Last edited: Jan 28, 2015
10. ### paddoboyValued Senior Member

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Maxwell was a scientist. And Science is knowledge, no matter how obtuse you like to behave.

He also had a knack for using the scientific method.
Again, science is knowledge.

11. ### Russ_WattersNot a Trump supporter...Valued Senior Member

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Intentionally obtuse.
Yes.
So does that mean this is all an inferiority complex over being a technician?

12. ### billvonValued Senior Member

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Maxwell's Equations were one of the many parts of science that led to the invention of the computer. They were a pretty necessary part.
Incorrect. Inventive men would have been able to do nothing without the body of facts and principles developed by previous men. Every inventor and scientist we have ever seen did not invent science and technology on their own - they stood on the shoulders of others to push the state of the art just a little further. And Maxwell's shoulders have done far more than most.
I can't think of a single recent invention that was developed by someone just "playing around" with what people can find in nature (sticks, rocks, leaves etc.) All the inventions I have ever heard of are people using previously developed technology in new ways, or using them to support further research.
Edison used galvanometers to play around, which are based on the Maxwell-Faraday equation. He used vacuum pumps based on Boyle's Law and the Ideal Gas Law. And he based his tinkering on what he learned from the science textbooks he read and the inventors who tutored him. Without those things he would not have been the inventor he was. So was he up on the latest science? Yes; in fact, he used it.
The two are inextricably linked. Technology is the practical expression of science, back to the days of Euclid. Claiming one existed without the other (indeed, that it even _can_ exist without the other) is foolish, and shows a lack of understanding of both.

13. ### Magical RealistValued Senior Member

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Here's what I said:

"Many inventions came about not so much from studying science as just playing around with machines and their prototypes until something worked."

Here's what you say I said:

"I can't think of a single recent invention that was developed by someone just "playing around" with what people can find in nature (sticks, rocks, leaves etc.) All the inventions I have ever heard of are people using previously developed technology in new ways, or using them to support further research."

See the diff?

Another stretch of the truth there. I guess you'll also say because he walked on sidewalks he relied on the chemistry behind cement production. lol!

Yep..and cavemen were using the scientific method when they invented fire, the wheel, pottery, and the bow and arrow. This is getting ridiculous..

Last edited: Jan 28, 2015
14. ### billvonValued Senior Member

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Yes, I do - and that's exactly what you missed.
What don't you understand there? He relied on textbooks and mentors to learn the science of the times. He relied on the technology of the time to provide support for his tinkering. His inventions were based on the science of the times.
They were using the basics of it, absolutely. Do you think you, even with your modern education, could make a pot from dirt without experimentation? (And, of course, without looking anything up on your laptop using the World Wide Web.)

15. ### Magical RealistValued Senior Member

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LOL! IOW, you're arguing with a point I never made. We call that a "strawman".

Not science so much as just practice and finding out what works. Just like most inventors.

No..they were not using the scientific method. They were using their own wits and knowledge from experience and their culture. There was no science at that time. You don't get to claim all learning about how things work as science.

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16. ### billvonValued Senior Member

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That IS science.
Let's say you wanted to make a pot. You could wave your arms and say "abracadabra! make a pot appear!" This would be an example of a non-scientific approach. It probably won't work. (but it sure would be 'magical.')

But let's say you took a more rational approach. You started with an idea - "I've heard that pots are made out of clay and are heated." Cool, you have a hypothesis. Now you have to do something with it. "So I'll find some clay and make a pot and heat it and see if that works." You have just proposed an experiment. The first one probably won't work. Maybe the pot falls apart. You might think "perhaps I didn't heat it enough" - so you build a bigger fire. You are now performing experiments to refine your hypothesis.

If you are lucky you may end up with a usable pot. You have just validated your hypothesis on how to make a usable pot - by using your wits, some knowledge from your culture and the scientific method.

17. ### billvonValued Senior Member

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Uh - have you ever invented anything?

18. ### Magical RealistValued Senior Member

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Why do you ask? Is this an ad hom attack?

19. ### Magical RealistValued Senior Member

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Or you could just discover that clay hardens in fire and so you start shaping it into vessels. See? No experimental "science" involved. Just repeating what works.

Last edited: Jan 28, 2015
20. ### rpennerFully WiredValued Senior Member

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Well there's a recipe for a crackpot.

21. ### Magical RealistValued Senior Member

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Scientific method: a method of procedure that has characterized natural science since the 17th century, consisting in systematic observation, measurement, and experiment, and the formulation, testing, and modification of hypotheses.

22. ### KristofferGiant HyraxValued Senior Member

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I know the rules say you're not allowed to insult other members, but when said member acts as the most wilfully stupid jackass imaginable, basically insulting everyone trying to discuss the topic, is there a bit of leeway?

23. ### paddoboyValued Senior Member

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I think we all agree [except of course for the thread originator] that anyone who says science does not, has not, and will not benefit mankind, is dumb...real dumb!!

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